Orgeat, a sweet almond syrup with floral undertones, is a fundamental ingredient in tiki cocktails. There are many commercially available orgeats on the market but most contain artificial flavors and/or high fructose corn syrup. What’s more, despite the fact that the primary ingredient in orgeat is almonds, many mass-produced orgeats contain no nuts at all. Orgeat is simple enough to make at home and well worth the effort. This recipe, adapted from Beachbum Berry Remixed, contains only 5 ingredients and comes together in just a few hours. Try it in Trader Vic’s Mai Tai or the Kona Swizzle.
- 500 grams almonds
- 800 ml water
- 700 grams white sugar
- 100 ml brandy or vodka
- 2 tbls orange flower water
Step 1: Blanch almonds in boiling water for one minute then drain in a colander. Run cold water over the almonds to cool, then slip the almonds from their peels. You can skip this step and save about 15 minutes if you purchase pre-blanched almonds.
Step 2: Soak blanched almonds in cold water for 30 minutes.
Step 3: Add almonds and 800 ml water to a powerful blender such as a Vitamix or Blendtec and whirl on high for about 10 seconds until crushed fine but not eviscerated. Pour the mixture into a bowl and let stand for 1-2 hours. If you do not have a powerful blender then you can crush the almonds in a food processor or with a rolling pin or meat mallet on a cutting board before adding them to the water in a bowl.
Step 4: Strain the puree through a nut-milk bag or several layers of cheesecloth into another large bowl, being sure to squeeze all the liquid out of the pulp (this helps release all the almond oils.) Add the pulp back into the liquid and allow to stand another hour. Strain again, this time discarding the solids.
Step 5: In a medium saucepan over low heat stir the strained liquid and the sugar until all the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool 15 minutes. Add the orange flower water and the brandy or vodka. Pour into a clean glass jar and store in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks. This recipe makes well over a liter of syrup and can easily be halved.