Orgeat is almond syrup, aromatized with a hint of orange blossom and/or roses. It is usually slightly opaque and has a thick milky texture. It appears in many old cocktail recipes, punches and tiki drinks.
We’ve made orgeat several times, and each batch represented a different process. To save the trouble of describing all of the ways this can be done, we will tell you that there is an easy method, and an annoyingly long, drawn-out method that is way more trouble than it’s worth. One of these techniques even appeared in Imbibe Magazine, but it wasn’t the easy way. You can buy orgeat, but homemade is best. You’ll need raw, unsalted almonds. If you want to blanche them and remove the skins, that’s up to you. Rubbing off almond skin is a pain, so if we can buy them that way already, great, but usually we don’t even bother. You’ll also need sugar and orange flower water (or rose water, or both).
The first time we made this, we were following the harder recipe and decided to cut some corners. The results were good, but we felt pretty bad about doing it until Rick at Kaiser Penguin posted his updated corner-cutting method. We felt a lot better about it, so here’s the basic method that you should follow:
Homemade Orgeat Syrup (KP Method)
1 1/2 lbs. whole, raw almonds
4 cups sugar
2 cups water
3 dashes orange blossom water
3 dashes rose water (or more orange)
Toast almonds in a 400F oven for about 10 minutes, tossing them as needed. You should start to smell the flavor as the oils migrate to the surface of the almonds, but you don’t want them to burn. Next, pulverize them in a plastic bag with a mallet or rolling pin, or pulse them in a food processor. You want a nice mix of chunks, chopped bits and tiny granules. Place the sugar and the water into a large sauce pan and stir over medium heat. As the sugar dissolves, add the chopped nuts. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes and then turn off the heat. Cover and let stand for 12 hours. Finally, strain through cheese cloth, add the orange blossom water and bottle your syrup. You can add a bit of neutral spirits or vodka to the bottle as a preservative.
Once you have your homemade orgeat syrup, it’s time to make a cocktail. Click here for some ideas.