Corn ‘n’ Oil

Corn 'n' Oil.

A traditional drink that Barbadian planters said drinking was like going to heaven without dying. For that reason alone, everyone should try it, especially Murray Stenson’s modern variation.

Murray Stenson’s version:

60 ml Cruzan Black Strap Rum
25 ml The Amber Falernum
5 ml lime juice
3 dash Angostura bitters.

Preparation: Pour all ingredients into a highball glass filled with ice cubes and stir well.

Alternatively, a more traditional variation:

60 ml The Amber Falernum
25 ml Doorly’s XO rum
5 ml lime juice
1 dash Angostura bitters.

Preparation: Stirred.


Corn 'n' Oil.
Corn ‘n’ Oil.

The origin of this drink is obscure, and there are also numerous variations on the proportions. However, it is known that the Corn ‘n’ Oil originates from Barbados. It is part of Barbadian culture and uses falernum, a typical Barbadian ingredient. [1] It is also said to be obvious to use a Barbadian rum. We agree with this in principle. As a comparison has shown, the flavours are simply more consistent.

Murray Stenson, a bartender from the Zig Zig Café in Seattle, has modified the drink and given it a new direction by using Cruzan Black Strap from the Virgin Islands instead of a Barbadian rum. This rum, made from blackstrap molasses, which is a molasses with a low sugar content, is characterised by its rich molasses flavours, which seriously change the drink. Its version is now considered the modern standard version of Corn ‘n’ Oil, even if it differs from the traditional Barbadian recipe. [1]

Brad Thomas Parsons writes that at the Zig Zag Café in Seattle, where Murray Stenson popularised the Corn ‘n’ Oil, they add a small shot of Coca-Cola. [6-123] However, Coca-Cola is apparently not used by Murray Stenson himself, because Paul Clarke, a resident of Seattle, writes in 2005 about the Corn ‘n’ Oil: “This one comes from Murray Stenson, the aforementioned bartender extraordinaire from Zig Zag Cafe. In response to my falernum experiment, Murray suggested mixing a drink using Cruzan Blackstrap Rum, falernum, and the juice from a couple of lime wedges, over ice.” [7]

Where the name comes from and who invented the drink is not known. Literally translated, it means “corn and oil”. [2] However, we do know that the Corn ‘n’ Oil is an old drink. It has been around for at least more than 100 years. In 1911, Mrs. H. Graham Yearwood published her book “West Indian and Other Recipes”. She gives a recipe for falernum and the hint: „Rum and falernum constitute the drink known as Corn ‘n Oil or ‘Corning Oil’“. [4]

The drink seems to have been popular with the local population. Sir David Seale, the grandson of the founder of R.L. Seale & Co. Ltd. in Barbados, the maker of Velvet Falernum, recalls that in his childhood the planters said of their favourite drink, the Corn ‘n’ Oil, that it was like “going to heaven without dying“. They would have made it with equal parts rum and falernum. [3] This is an important clue, because we learn from it that the planters prepared the drink with somewhat less alcohol than some recipes suggest. There are recipes that use two parts rum to one part falernum. That’s how we tried it at first, but the result was somehow not yet round for us, which is why we chose an almost inverse ratio. The Amber Falernum is not overly sweet, so it is easy to drink. The falernum is in the foreground and is well supported by the additional rum. At the same time, this is not something we came up with. Traditionally, the drink was made with a lot of falernum, the recipe on the bottle of the Velvet Falernum even suggests 3 parts falernum to one part rum. [1] [5]

Corn 'n' Oil.
Corn ‘n’ Oil.
Corn 'n' Oil.
Corn ‘n’ Oil.
  1. http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2013/08/09/your-guide-to-drinking-this-weekend-the-corn-n-oil: Your Guide to Drinking This Weekend: The Corn ‘N Oil. A Bajan cocktail of mysterious origin. By Bill Norris, 9. August 2013.
  2. http://mixology.eu/klassik/corn-n-oil-cocktail/: Corn N‘ Oil. Ölige Einfachheit aus Barbados. By Helmut Adam. 17. July 2012.
  3. http://thecocktailcircuit.blogspot.de/2006/06/barbados-in-bottle.html: Barbados in a Bottle. By Joseph Mailander, 12. June 2006.
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falernum: Falernum.
  5. http://voices.washingtonpost.com/all-we-can-eat/spirits/cocktails-that-complete-me-1.html: Cocktails That Complete Me: Corn ‘n’ Oil. By Jason Wilson, 25. February 2011.
  6. Brad Parsons: Amaro. The spirited world of bittersweet, herbal liqueurs. ISBN 978-1-60774-748-2. Berkeley, Ten Speed Press, 2016.
  7. http://www.cocktailchronicles.com/2005/08/12/oh-that-oil/: Oh, That Oil. By Paul Clarke, 12. August 2005.

Historical recipes

1951 Anonymus: The Holiday Drink Book. Seite 13. Falernum Cocktail.

(Hope’s Farm Special)
1 oz. lemon juice, small dash bitters
1/3 oz. Falernum
1 oz. light rum
1 oz. dark Jamaica rum
Shake heartily with ice. The almond-
flavored Falernum adds the sweetening.

1951 Ted Saucier: Ted Saucier’s Bottoms Up. Seite 96. Emil Coleman.

By Emil Coleman, Society Orchestra Leader
1/2 oz. lime juice
1/2 oz. Falernum
1 1/4 oz. Bacardi rum
Shake. Strain into cocktail glass.

2011 Brad Thomas Parsons: Bitters. Seite 123. Corn ‘n’ Oil. 2 ounces blackstrap rum, preferably Cruzan Black Strap; 1/2 ounce John D. Taylor’s Velvet falernum; 1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice; 2 to 3 dashes Angostura bitters; garnish: lime wedge.

2011 Helmut Adam, Jens Hasenbein, Bastian Heuser: Cocktailian 2. Seite 179. Corn N’ Oil. 6 cl gereifter Barbados Rum; 3 cl Falernum; 1 Dash Angostura Bitters; nach Geschmack Limettenviertel in den Drink pressen.

http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2013/08/09/your-guide-to-drinking-this-weekend-the-corn-n-oil: Corn ‘N Oil (Modern American Version).

2 oz. Cruzan Blackstrap Rum
½ oz. John D. Taylor Velvet Falernum
2-3 Dashes Anogstura Bitters
¼ lime, cut into two wedges.
Fill a double old fashioned glass with ice. Add the Falernum and top with the rum. Dash in the bitters, and squeeze both lime wedges atop the glass. Stir to combine and chill well.

http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2013/08/09/your-guide-to-drinking-this-weekend-the-corn-n-oil: Corn ‘N Oil (Bajan Version).

1 ½ oz. John D. Taylor Velvet Falernum
½ oz. Plantation Five Year Old Barbados Rum
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
¼ lime, cut into two wedges.
Fill a double old fashioned glass with ice. Add the Falernum and top with the rum. Dash in the bitters, and squeeze both lime wedges atop the glass. Stir to combine and chill well.

2016 Klaus St. Rainer: Cocktails. Seite 100. Corn ‘n’ Oil. 1 tbsp falernum; 50 ml dark rum; 1 tbsp lime juice; 2 dashes Sexy Bitters or aromatic bitters; 1-2 squeezes lime.

2016 Martin Cate: Smuggler’s Cove. Seite 180. Corn and Oil. 1/2 ounce John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum; 2 ounces blended aged rum (Barbados); 2 to 4 dashes Angostura bitters.

2017 Dr. Adam Elmegirab: Book of Bitters. Seite 62. Corn and Oil. 60 ml Gosling’s Black Seal rum; 22,5 ml falernum; 3 dashes aromatic bitters (Angostura, The Bitter Truth Old Time or Dr. Adam Elmegirab’s Orinoco aromatic bitters); 7,5 ml lime juice; garnish: wedge of lime and grated nutmeg.

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Hi, I'm Armin and in my spare time I want to promote bar culture as a blogger, freelance journalist and Bildungstrinker (you want to know what the latter is? Then check out "About us"). My focus is on researching the history of mixed drinks. If I have ever left out a source you know of, and you think it should be considered, I look forward to hearing about it from you to learn something new. English is not my first language, but I hope that the translated texts are easy to understand. If there is any incomprehensibility, please let me know so that I can improve it.

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