Next in our How-To/DIY project series, Thor Bergquist, Co-Owner of PS40 Bar in Sydney steers us towards a recipe by Giuseppe Gonzalez of PKNY on how to make orgeat. He also shares his pro tips for making the perfect orgeat and recommendations of using orgeat in cocktails.
What is Orgeat
Orgeat is a syrup made from almonds, sugar and a touch of orange blossom water, often with a little brandy added to preserve it. It’s a quintessential ingredient in Tiki drinks (refer to the Essential Guide to Tiki) and can be bought or prepared at home or in the bar using a few common ingredients. Making orgeat is a simple process but requires a little patience.
Here is the step by step guide to making orgeat.
How to Make Orgeat
Recipe by Giuseppe Gonzalez of PKNY
- 3 cups of blanched almonds
- 2 cups of filtered water
- 500g white sugar
- 3 drops of orange blossom water
- 2 drops of almond essence
- 40 ml cognac
small pan, large glass bowl, blender, chinois or strainer lined with muslin cloth, glass bottle
- Toast almonds in a pan at around 80oC for even toasting and slight browning but take care not to let it burn.
- Soak the almonds in the water overnight for a minimum of 6 hours, preferably 12 hours.
- Blend the almond and water mixture then strain through a chinois or strainer lined with muslin cloth.
- You will get approximately 500ml of liquid.
- In a glass bottle, add sugar in a 1:1 ratio, i.e. 500g white sugar for 500 ml of liquid and stir it in without heating.
- Add the cognac or other spirit which helps to preserve it.
- It will yield 750 ml. Pour into a glass bottle with a tight lid and store in the fridge. As it is unpasteurised, it lasts for a maximum of one week.
Pro Tips When Making Orgeat
- Soak the almonds in water preferably for 12 hours.
- Don’t cook the almonds then blend them as heat will destroy the fresh, nutty flavours.
- You can use rum or vodka in place of cognac to preserve the orgeat but cognac gives it richness and adds depth of flavour.
- After straining the liquid, you can dehydrate the solids and use as garnish. Adding a little Maltodextrin helps to bind it together.
- Orgeat must be stored in the fridge.
- Keep an eye on the shelf life. Orgeat is not pasteurised and therefore lasts for a maximum of one week.
You can make orgeat using a variety of nuts such as cashews, pine nuts and sunflower seeds. Pistachio is another option but may be a little difficult to work with as it produces a muddy, dark brown liquid which looks unappetising. For another variation, use coconut water or champagne to soak the almonds instead of water.
How to Use Orgeat in Cocktails
Orgeat is an essential ingredient in the Mai Tai and several Tiki cocktails. It’s also a key ingredient in the Trinidad Sour. As it adds viscosity and richness without an overpowering sweetness, it can be used instead of egg white to add body to cocktails. For a nuttier variation, try it in a Ramos Gin Fizz in place of cream.
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