Almond orgeat is a very popular mixer used with a number of well-known drinks, such as the Mai Tai and Italian soda. While you can buy it ready-made in many supermarkets or specialty shops, it is easy to create it from scratch, too. This allows you to enjoy the freshest drink you can and adapt the recipe to suit your individual needs. Let’s explore the history of orgeat and how you can make your own.
History of the Almond Orgeat
The word orgeat comes from France and means ‘barley water’. Originally, barley oil and water were used, but almond oil was later added to create a richer, less bland taste and because this kind of oil lasts for a long time, which was crucial before the days of refrigeration. Over time, people started adding other flavors to the mixture, such as rose water, cinnamon, and sugar and then began to mix the orgeat with alcohol to create delicious and refreshing cocktails.
It is not difficult to make your own orgeat, and you will need six ingredients, two of which are optional. The most important components are the raw almonds, which you will roast in the oven. It’s usually better to roast than blanch them because this creates the desired darker color and adds a bit of bitterness. Make sure to use distilled water, but don’t add it when it is too hot as this can damage the almond oil.
The other two essential ingredients are granulated sugar and orange flower water. While you don’t need to add citric acid and brandy or vodka, this can help your orgeat to last for up to two months. Without those ingredients, you should consume it within a week. In any case, your syrup should be refrigerated and shaken before use because it naturally separates a bit as it sets.
- 1 Cup Raw Almonds
- 1 ½ Cups Distilled Water
- 1 Cup Granulated Sugar
- ½ tsp Orange Flower Water
- 1 Ounce Brandy or Vodka Optional
- ¼ tsp Citric Acid Optional
- There are a few steps involved in making your orgeat, but they are easy to complete and don't require any hard-to-find ingredients. Before you begin, find a large cheesecloth or nut milk bag which can contain all of the almonds.
- Preheat your oven to 400 F
- Spread out all of your almonds on your baking sheet and roast them in the oven for 4 minutes, then let them cool for 5 minutes
- Chop the almonds until they are fine, but not as sand-like as almond flour
- Put the chopped almonds in a bowl and add the warm water
- With a fine-mesh strainer and two layers of cheesecloth, squeeze the water from the almonds (you should end up with about one cup of liquid)
- Warm the liquid at medium heat in a saucepan
- Whisk in the sugar until it dissolves
- Strain the liquid through two layers of cheesecloth and stir in the remaining ingredient(s)
- Let it cool, then transfer the syrup to a bottle and refrigerate
Making your own orgeat with almonds is a great way of giving your cocktails a unique and fresh taste. The recipe is simple and easy to make, allowing you to wow your guests with your very own syrup.