Cocktail: Love & Honor

Cocktail: Love & Honor

Savor the sublime sweetness of chestnut elevated by the wonderful fresh blooms of Hendricks gin, accented with a touch of traditional falernum syrup and paired with provocative red currants. Love & Honor exudes powerful emotions under a veil of understated composure…

1 serving


1 ounce of Hendricks gin (a London dry style with the unique addition of rose petals and cucumbers)
3 ounces of chestnut solution
2/3 ounce of falernum syrup

For the falernum:
Zest of 5 limes
5 cloves
1/8 teaspoon bitter almond essence
16 2/3 ounces overproof rum (at least 140 proof)
16 2/3 ounces cane sugar syrup

For the chestnut solution:
2 1/3 ounces of chestnut puree
4 1/3 ounces of spring water

Total: about 5 ounces per serving (guide for glassware)

Small bunch of Dutch red currants for garnish


Fine grater
Glass container (around 1/2 quart capacity) with cover
Pot (around 1/2 quart capacity) with cover
Stirring spoon
Jug (for filtered chestnut solution)
Glass half of 2-piece Boston shaker
Hawthorn strainer
Bar spoon
Small martini glass (5-6 ounces), for service


Chill the glassware in the fridge.

For the falernum:
Except for the sugar syrup, add all ingredients into the glass bottle and macerate for 24-48 hours. Cover and leave aside in cool dark place. After maceration, filter out the solids using a cheesecloth, then mix in sugar syrup with the rest of the liquids. Cover and leave aside until ready to use.

For the chestnut solution:
Mix the chestnut and spring water in the pot and place on low heat until simmering. Place cheesecloth over opening/mouth of jug, and pour chestnut solution into jug. Squeeze out residual liquid within the cheesecloth. Leave aside to cool for at least 30 minutes, then refrigerate until ready for use.

Prepare the cocktail:
Add the gin, chestnut solution and falernum into the glass half of the Boston shaker and fill with ice, at least 2/3 full. Stir for at least 20 seconds and strain into the glassware using the hawthorn strainer.

Serve immediately.

[Flavor Impressionist’s notes: 1 ounce is equivalent to 30 milliliter (ml), 1/3 ounce is equivalent to 10 milliliter (ml). 1/2 quart is equivalent to 470 milliliter (ml), 1/8 teaspoon is equivalent to 0.625 milliliter (ml).

Falernum is a sweet syrup used in Caribbean drinks, with both alcoholic and non-alcoholic versions.

If available, it is preferable to use organic produce for the lime and cloves. And while you are at it, use your favorite spring water to create the ice for this cocktail.]

Recipe and photo by Damian Sim

A Note from Flavor Impressionist Damian Sim

Chestnut enjoys an old tradition of being ground into flour in Europe, and is thought to represent chastity in Christianity, while in Japan it symbolizes success — and particularly during the New Year, mastery and strength. The flavor exhibits a sublime sweetness, like a bulging dewdrop, gentle with a sense of anticipation.

Hendricks gin was selected for its particular ocean-fresh floral journey on the palate, offering a burst of colors around the chestnut portrait. One may enjoy this cocktail with bamboo clams, or even pralines after dinner.

The traditional almond element in the latter inspired the use of falernum syrup in the recipe design, itself flaunting a touch of bitter almonds, relaxing among its tropical companions of over-proof rum, lime zest, cane sugar and spices such as cloves. With a great reputation for sustenance, almonds were said to be one of the first foods eaten by man. Among the Chinese it enjoys a somewhat poetic, somber image of feminine beauty and sadness.

This transient flavor memory should best be savored well chilled through the respectful ritual of the classic dry martini — stirred and strained. Along this path we place the wonderfully tart red currants, a bright vermilion garnish that just stops us in our tracks. Like the makeup on the lips of the Japanese geisha, or the white fabric being used to clean the blood off the samurai warrior’s sword, it exudes powerful emotions under a veil of understated composure. Sip the secrets of countless stories, hinted at with this potion of “Love & Honor.”