Orgeat Syrup is basically a type of almond syrup. The recipe commonly used does include rose water or orange water if you make it at home. You can buy it in the store, but it is expensive and is nothing like the real thing. The real thing however, is a long tedious process which will probably make you reach for the stuff in the supermarket, or as some recipes suggest “a drop of pure almond extract”. There is an easy out I would suggest you just use an almond liqueur like Amaretto.
After I spent hours making some, I took a taste of a few drops and it immediately reminded me of some Italian cookies my aunt would make around the holidays. It is good, but Italian Amaretto might just be your secret ingredient in place of this.
As usual, you will find a dozen different recipes for this syrup, I prefer this one I adjusted to my tastes since I will be using it almost exclusively in Polynesian style tiki drinks.
When you go to the supermarket you should be able to find raw almonds, nothing else, not roasted, no salt, no sweeteners. Once in the food processor, it should be ground so fine it looks like dust.
The next part is just as easy. You want to add your spring water and sugar into a stainless steel pot and heat until all the sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, add in the almonds.
Slowly bring it back up to a boil and once it starts to bubble reduce to the lowest setting on your stove and allow to cook a few minutes more. Remove from the heat and let it sit for at least 3 hours. The longer the better, some say as much as 7 or 8 hours but I let it rest for 3.5 hours.
Now comes the messy part. You want to strain the syrup to remove all the almond pieces through a very fine mesh metal strainer or cheese cloth. Let it drip into a cup with a spout so its easier to pour into the bottle you will store it in. You will need to press out all of the syrup to get all those drops of sweet almond sugar. Again, it is going to be a messy task. Do it in the sink unless you want the whole kitchen sticky. It is about this time when the phone is going to ring from a telemarketer you that appears to be from a local number, or that important text you were waiting for.
I managed to find the orange water in an ethnic supermarket where a lot of Arabic, Lebanese and Persians shop. I preferred to use Apple Brandy (not apple flavored brandy but brandy actually made from apples). You can just as easily use any brandy or even rum, the amount is so small I doubt you or anyone else would detect the flavor once mixed in a tiki cocktail with all that lime juice, sugar and various rums.
The bottom line is, the almonds are $5, the sugar is about $3, the orange water is going to be another $2, and even if you have all the time in the world, 4 hours making something like this did not have much of a “wow” factor for me. I just assume buy that bottle of Amaretto for $22 and it doubles and even triples as a secret tiki ingredient, an after dinner cordial, a nice addition to my bar, and the ingredient in many other fine cocktails.
ORGEAT SYRUP RECIPE
- 5 Ounces sugar (I used demerara)
- 5 Ounces of spring water
- 5 Ounces of raw almonds (I bought them slivered, easier to make in the food processor)
- 1/2 Ounce Brandy or Rum
- 1/4 Ounce Orange Blossom water (if you can’t find it, I don’t see why Orange and/or Grapefruit bitters could not work, not the exact same taste, but it works)
METHOD: Bring water & sugar to a boil, reduce heat, add almonds. Bring back to a boil, reduce to a simmer for 5 minutes, set aside for 3-5 hours. Strain into a glass you can easily pour from, add in orange water or bitters, a small shot of brandy or rum, and store in fridge for up to a month.
Now should you find this a fun and worthwhile task and are pleased with the results, experiment with other nuts like Pistachio, Walnuts, Macadamia, etc. Just be aware that they make liqueurs in all these flavors if you wish to take a shortcut.