Orgeat, fashionably French soda sweetener, or one of the best ingredients ever set behind the bar?
Here is a classic recipe from 1835. It’s quite a bit simplified, and I’ve got a bit more detailed modern method below it, with plenty of pictures.
Orgeat has been around since somewhere around the dawn of time. Originally a barley based syrup flavored with almonds, eventually the barley was ditched for the far more flavorful, but still oily and wonderful almonds. Most of the commercial product is made as almond flavored syrup, and can be purchased from Fees, Torani, and Monin. They all just have a bit of something missing though, and the effort to make real orgeat is well rewarded with some of the best flavors possible. Real Orgeat, as made below, is a thing of beauty. It is an aromatic enhancer with rose and orange flower water, and acts not to purely sweeten the drink, but really changes the profile to something entirely different, neutralizing a lot of the bitter and sour flavors. It’s what made the Mai Tai, so there’s gotta be something to it!
I’m not going to push too heavily that you should blanch and chop your own almonds, but it seems to give it just a little bit more flavor and texture. There’s something about that fresh oil just under the skin of the almond that works wonders.
The following recipe yields around 1/2 gallon
You will need:
- 1/2 lb. blanched whole almonds
- (approximately) 3 Quarts Sugar
- 1 Quarts Water
- Bitter Almond Extract
- Rose Water
- Orange Flower Water
|To blanch the almonds, set the almonds in a large bowl. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil, then cover the almonds with the boiling water. After 2 minutes, strain the almonds from the water, return the almonds to the bowl, then cover the almonds with cold water. The almonds should now slide easily from their skins.||[singlepic=276,320,240,,center]|
|[singlepic=275,320,240,,left]||Roughly chop the whole almonds. A food processor at a low speed is highly recommended.
Add the roughly chopped almonds, and pour an equal amount of sugar to almonds (by volume) into a large pot.
|Add 1 quarts water to the pot and bring to a boil.
One it has hit boiling, take the pot off of heat, and leave to rest for 12 hours or overnight.
After 12 hours, strain the liquid through a cheesecloth. Repeat a few times if greater clarity is desired. Me, I strain it once as I like to preserve a bit of the almond powder for each bottle, but to each their own.
Measure the strained liquid by volume. Add sugar in a 3:2 ratio the strained liquid (for example, 16 oz of strained liquid would require 24 oz of sugar). Put the pot on a low heat to carefully dissolve the sugar.
|DO NOT let the mixture BOIL. You’ll ruin the batch and give yourself one helluva cleaning job for the pot. Like I recommend for any syrup, a combination of agitation, low heat, and an alert cook in the kitchen should do just fine.
Once the sugar is dissolved, and no more granules are present, remove the pot from heat.
Leave to cool before adding the extra flavorings. Just a few drops, 3-6 each, of bitter almond extract, rose water and orange water seem to add plenty of aromatics and flavor. If you add them while the syrup is hot, their flavor might evaporate.
This makes a big batch of Orgeat, somewhere around 1/2 gallon. Hit up your local brewing supply (mine is F. H. Steinbart) for a case of 375 mLs with twist on caps. A case of one dozen usually costs you just under a dollar per bottle, and it makes a great hand out once your friends are hooked on Mai Tais and Japanese made with the real deal.
Real orgeat syrup will split after a few days in a thick, solid white layer of almond powder on top and syrup below. This is normal and happens with real orgeat syrup, all you need is insert a skewer in the bottle to break the top layer a bit, close and shake.
If you’ve made the above recipe one too many times, you can try varying it here and there. For example, try using natural cane sugar, such as Zulka, for a bit of a richer flavor. Just be sure to give it a turn in the food processor so it dissolves easier. I recently took some Cane Sugar I had mixed some Vanilla Beans in and made a rich Vanilla Cane Orgeat, which is getting a good reputation as Liquid Heaven.
Alrighty, the first Mixology Monday for Trader Tiki! Hooray!
This MxMo theme, hosted by The Intoxicated Zodiac, is ORANGE! Dear lordy, what am I in for?
Well, I figured I’d put my bout into the foray with a listing and review of all Orange items in my bar, including two types of orange fruits!
I am not the biggest orange fan. I can’t say I don’t like it, but well, perhaps the 5+oz. of various CuraÃ§ao and other liqueurs floating through my system has deranged my senses. There was a flavor in there, citric acid, that I thought I remembered well but, the flavor of everything left me a bit unsatisfied. Luckily, I procured some Citric Acid recently, so I may have to start mixing with a pinch… a tiny, tiny pinch. As well as the list below, I’m going to be attempting a drink featuring orange as the featured flavor, but so far the results have been… unsatisfying. I’m going to have to return to Grog Log and Intoxica for further study. Anyhoo, onto the booze!
Tasting was done with an initial sniff from the open bottle, poured into a shot glass, allowed to open up, tilted for a few seconds, sniffed again, and two tastes. One taste staying in the mouth, one taste straight down the gullet. Palate cleansing done by bread and water.
A liqueur made from the peels of the bitter Larahas orange, grown on the island of CuraÃ§ao. I’ve got three different brands, so here’s the review!
Hiram Walker Orange CuraÃ§ao: A smell of light orange oil, with a vodka like alcohol tinge. The taste was instantly sweet orange, very smooth, with the flavors strongest down the throat. A bit syrupy, very sweet.
Dekuyper Blue CuraÃ§ao: A strong liqueur alcohol smell, some orange after opening up. The taste a bit of orange mixed with rubbing alcohol. Not recommended. Also, stains the hell out of everything it touches. Smurfy fingers! Ack!
Bols CuraÃ§ao: A nice, light orange smell with an alcohol frame. The taste was very lightly sweet orange, not sickly or syrupy, with very little aftertaste. Probably my favored CuraÃ§ao for Mai Tais and other drinks. Incidentally, BOLS was the manufacturer noted for the CuraÃ§ao in the original Mai Tai! Not that I’m so easily persuaded, except that I totally am.
Monarch Triple Sec: The smell is a nice orangey scent, with a bit of neutral-grain spirit burn in the nose. The taste is sweet, like an orange popsicle. Truly reminiscent of an otter pop, but with a mild burn in the throat.
Cointreau: The smell is lightly orange, with a strong, cordial alcohol kick. The taste is a well-refined alcohol and orange blend, delicately blended in, with a slight fresh orange aftertaste.
Grand Marnier: The smell is entirely alcohol, but a hint of orange mixes in after being allowed to open up. The taste is strongly alcoholic, but with a very nice orange oil flavor. The aftertaste burns a bit, but very pleasantly.
Well, not that they all aren’t, but these don’t fit into the Triple Sec or CuraÃ§ao category, as far as I can tell
Sublime: smells of orange hard-candy, with a light brandy-like perfume. The taste is very sweet on the tongue, a bit harsh down. Tastes like a really good CuraÃ§ao, with a bit of alcohol burn. An orange and bubble-gum kind of aftertaste.
Marie Brizzard Parfait Amour: What a strange one this is. The smell is sweet, grapey, and has a candy flavor I have smelled before, but cannot place it. There is some alcohol to the scent after opening up, as well as some nice orange oil. It hits the tongue with a very nice, medium sweetness, and continues on for quite awhile into the aftertaste. It’s a very nice, light, slightly candy-like orange.
Oh boy, orange bitters! It’s the bitterness in oranges I tend to blend towards in cocktails. I was very excited to try these, particularly after getting some Regan’s Orange Bitters #6, and Fee Bros. Orange, and.. well, see below!
Regan’s Orange Bitters #6: The smell is a bit of orange, and cherry, with a smoky-sweet fragrance. The liquid evaporates in the mout immediately, leaving a strong smokiness and orange pith, with a smokey aftertaste. Nice stuff, and I’m anxious to try in other cocktails.
Fee Bros. Orange Bitters: A Bitter orange pith smell, the taste is spicy, and has that consistent Fee Bros. clove spice to it. A very bitter, Campari-like aftertaste.
Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters: Sweet, Tokay-like qualities of fig and cherry. Very much blood orange juice, but with a candy-sweet pomegranate sort of personality, but without the sting of pom. Definitely something you can use a 1/4 oz. of in a drink.
Campari: Tasting this stuff just makes me want a Negroni time and time again. I’m still working towards Campari and Cola, but me and Italian Bitters have a lot to work on, particularly after trying Cynar. There is a bit of an almond, cherry and smokiness to the smell. The taste, well, bitter, with a bit of cherry, blood orange, and smokey bitterness.
Orange Flower Water: Smells like perfume, tastes like perfume. Pretty much enough said. Great for bring out the florals in a drink!
Yes, actual oranges! Crazy!
Sunkist Valencia: Bittersweet, more emphasis on the sweet, with a light citric acid sting. A bit watery.
Australian Navel Orange: Sweet, full-bodied orange flavor.
So there you have it, according to my palate. Anyone interested is of course welcome to have a swig at my home bar.
Time for Miehanas!