Orgeat – Recipe from david Embury’s ‘The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks’

There are three types of cocktail by this name. The first is a Whisky Sour with a dash of Angostura and a teaspoonful of orgeat to each drink. The second is a variation of the first, but with cognac in place of whisky. The third is a Gin Sour with orgeat substituted for the sugar syrup. Some recipes also substitute orange juice for the lime juice.

We had a Curacao (13-03) and now an Orgeat, I find it a little strange for a cocktail named after an ingredient, but I guess if the ingredient was in vogue at a certain time then it stands to reason that at some stage it ‘owns’ a drink or three. Its not a case of Orgeat being invented and launched, its been around as a floral almond syrup for centuries, I’m guessing in this instance maybe a brand successfully launched a new range including this?

I tried the whisky version as the cognac seemed a little close to a japanese cocktail, and its not as good as a Japanese cocktail. The Orgeat gets overpowered a little by the citrus from the sour recipe base. It works well, just not spectacularly well.

It did remind me to have a look through the earlier edition of Jerry Thomas’ guide, the 1862 version is split into two sections, the first for drink recipes, the second is all recipes for syrups, bitters, shrubs etc, and lodged in there I found the below recipe for Orgeat.

10 Ibs. of sweet almonds. 

4 Ibs. of bitter almonds. 

Cover them with boiling-hot water; let them stand till near cold, and peel them by pressing through your fingers

Beat them. in a stone or brass mortar to a very fine paste with some sugar, adding water slowly; press through a linen cloth, so as so get 5 gallons of liquid resembling rich milk; dissolve in this liquid 80 Ibs. of sugar, boil up once, and add 1 pint of orange-flower water, then strain.

There is an annoyingly complex argument for making your own syrups instead of buying these in, we do a little of both at Goat. The plus side for making them is that the flavour is usually a little better, and you have greater control over exactly how this flavour presents, the down sides are keeping them stable after creation, developing a way to keep costs sensible and the labour factor for making these, then all this balanced against how well the flavour then shows in the drink you use it for, versus the cost…….

the bottom line is never sexy.