Who does not love a good Mai Tai or Zombie cocktail? These tiki spirits are oozing with citrus, lime, and tart flavors that can make your sad day a bright one. Although tiki cocktails are known for their powerful and vibrant taste, there is one particular ingredient that balances everything - the orgeat. This quintessential component can be a bit pricey when you buy from liquor stores. But, why purchase one when you can just learn how to make orgeat syrup.
The process is easy peasy. Just combine water and sugar in a pot. When it reaches the boiling point and the sugar has been dissolved, add ground almond. Boil it for a few more minutes and turn off the heat. Pretty simple, right? Here’s everything you need to know to get started on your orgeat syrup.
What is an Orgeat Syrup?
Orgeat syrup is made from almonds, sugar, rose water, or orange flower water. The word orgeat is French and is derived from the Latin term hordeaceus which translates to “made with barley”. Known for its stability, orgeat syrup was used as a substitute for milk before refrigeration became a common thing.
Since the evolution of technology, keeping bottles of milk fresh is not a problem anymore. Because of this, orgeat syrup is now used as a staple flavor enhancer to any sort of cocktail particularly those with rum. Also known as the “secret weapon” to any spirit, this almond-flavored syrup can elevate your drinking game to a whole new level.
How to Make Orgeat Syrup
To those who are not familiar with orgeat syrup, this ingredient sounds complicated at first. But we kid you not, learning how to make orgeat syrup in the comfort of your own home is like cooking rice, it's so easy. Here are the equipment and ingredients you need to get started on the process.
- 2 cups blanched almonds
- 1 and ½ cups of sugar
- 1 and ¼ cups of water
- ½ teaspoon of orange rose water
- 1 oz. of brandy
- Pulse the blanched almonds in the food processor until finely ground. Make sure that no big chunks are left as it can affect the quality of the syrup.
- Combine sugar and water in a pot. Let it boil over medium heat. Make sure that every grain of the sugar is properly dissolved. Do not increase the heat too high or else the sugar might burn and may have a bitter taste.
- Once the sugar is dissolved, add in the ground almonds.
- Turn the heat down and cook the mixture for another three minutes.
- Slowly increase the temperature to medium-high. Right before the mixture reaches boiling point, turn off the heat.
- Cover the nut mixture and let it sit for at least 3 to 8 hours.
- Strain the ground almonds using a cheesecloth. The almonds can still be used for another batch.
- Add the orange rose water and brandy to the liquid mixture.
- Using a funnel, equally transfer the syrup to the glass jars.
- Store in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
Orgeat Syrup-Making Hacks
Technically, the process of making orgeat syrup revolves around boiling, mixing, and straining. Nothing too complicated. However, we have to take into consideration that not everyone has access to ground almonds.
Orgeat Syrup Hack #1
Behold the great hack from Jamie Boudreau, the brains behind the Canon Cocktail Book. He suggested that instead of pulsing your ground almonds until they reach the right consistency, you can just use almond milk. Knowing how to make orgeat syrup with this hack is truly the best gift.
The process is the same as the traditional recipe. Only this time, instead of dissolving the sugar in water, you will use the almond milk as your base liquid. Once the mixture reaches the boiling point, let it cool for a few minutes and stir in the orange rose water and brandy.
Orgeat Syrup Hack #2
Another hack you should take note of when learning how to make orgeat syrup is the alternative nuts you can use. Almonds or almond milk are not the only options you have. Of course, the classic recipe is still the best but why stop at almonds when you can use macadamia, walnuts, pecans, or cashews among others. The same concept applies to any type of nut, although you might need to make a few adjustments to enhance the flavors even more.
For example, hazelnuts can be slightly toasted to bring out its deep flavor, while pistachio tends to give the orgeat syrup a dark green hue. To balance out the color of the finished product, you can use brandy instead of rum.
Why is Orgeat Syrup Considered a Secret Cocktail Ingredient?
Mai Tai, for example, should have that zesty and sweet flavor with a hint of bitterness from the rum. But some people started using cheap rum and fruits that overall affected the supposed balanced taste of this cocktail. Having said that, orgeat syrup kind of fixes everything. If the rum or any liquor is too powerful, the sweet and nutty hints of orgeat syrup make the drink smoother and more refreshing.