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Oct4

The Perfect Orgeat Syrup Recipe

Cthulhu Punch

Since I last wrote about how to make orgeat syrup my coffers have been oozing with the stuff. It was a good product, completely functional, and better than anything you could buy. But it had two faults:

  1. It was annoying as hell to make.
  2. The almond flavor just wasn’t punchy enough.

The old recipe had a Thomas Kellerian complexity and a Sandra Lee taste. Ok, perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch, but when you compare it to the new recipe, it seems to harken from the dark ages. The new recipe, however, is so streamlined even Chris Kimball would cock an eyebrow. And it tastes as if Joël Robuchon just cast the equivalent of Nailed to the Sky on my orgeat syrup.

Old Wive’s Tales About Orgeat

  • Almond Skins make it bitter. FALSE. In comparison to what? Girl Scout Cookies? Almond skins add delicious almond flavor, especially when toasted.
  • You must carefully cut your almonds. FALSE. This is often suggested to keep the mixture from getting cloudy. Just bash the hell out of them and make sure you strain properly.
  • Add a 2nd batch of sugar and reheat the next day. What? Who came up with this time-waster of an idea, and why did I think it necessary the first time?

How to Make Orgeat Syrup

I’ve increased the amount of almonds, decreased the amount of sugar, and omitted a whole batch of annoying from the recipe. (12oz of almonds and 5lb of sugar? The penguin was obviously confused.)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2lb whole, raw almonds
  • 4c sugar
  • 2c water
  • 3 dashes orange flower water
  • 3 dashes rose water

Directions

  1. Toast almonds. (oven at 400F for 10-15 minutes, tossing once or twice)
  2. Add to a double-ply ziplock and bash the living hell out of them with a rolling pin. (you’ll have a few whole pieces left, some crumbs and everything in-between)
  3. Add almonds with sugar and water to a pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for two minutes. Remove from the heat, cover, and let sit for at least 12 hours.
  4. Strain through two layers of cheese cloth. Add the rose and orange flower waters. Bottle.

Orgeat Giveaway

Like last time, I’ll be giving away a bottle of the new formula to a random commenter on this post – all you need to do is answer the KP Questions below!

I couldn’t leave you without a potion! Blood orange are in season again and there was a new rum at the liquor store, whose label was apparently designed by a Cthulhu disciple.

Cthulhu Punch

  • 1oz Appleton V/X
  • 1oz El Dorado 3-year
  • 1oz Kraken rum
  • 1oz Kummel
  • 1oz blood orange juice
  • 1/2oz lime juice
  • 1oz orgeat syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • blood orange slice, for garnish

Shake with ice and a touch of fear. Sacrifice to a glass filled with Antarctic crushed ice.

Rick from Kaiser Penguin

KP Questions

  1. Have a different orgeat recipe? Post it in the comments!
  2. What’s your favorite cocktail that uses orgeat?

45 Responses to “The Perfect Orgeat Syrup Recipe”

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45 Comments to “ The Perfect Orgeat Syrup Recipe”
  1. Chris W.No Gravatar says:

    1. Um, I’m somewhat shamed to say that while I’ve made my own ginger liqueur, falernum, pimento dram, and about 5 different tinctures, my current orgeat recipe is whatever the Collins Brothers saw fit to mix into their mass-produced version. Looking at the ingredients label, that recipe is terrifying. Your no-drama guide above should help me remedy that situation before too long.

    2. Hands down, a proper Mai Tai is my favorite orgeat application. No contest.

  2. BrennanNo Gravatar says:

    1: I’ve never done the toasting myself, I use a food processor on the almonds, and add a shot or two of brandy at the end.
    2: Hard to beat a Mai Tai. But it’s a very versatile sweetener.

    *crosses fingers*

  3. TiareNo Gravatar says:

    When i saw that photo on the cocktail it made me smile – its so beautiful and fun. So you already have blood oranges? Lucky you! I`ll have to wait until between nov-jan. I made a new orgeat a couple of weeks ago, its similar to yours but I added a vanilla bean to it. Its time for me to make a new batch of orgeat soon and i`m gonna try your recipe.

    Lovely post!

    I`ll post my orgeat recipe later i`m at work now.

    My fav cocktail with orgeat is of course the Mai Tai.

    Cheers,

    T

  4. RobertNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve never heard of Ogreat before, but it sounds worth trying. Thanks!

  5. PadodNo Gravatar says:

    I just get bleached almonds, 350g of’em, soak them in water to get them soft and run them in a blender. Soak in water for 24 hours, toss in a pot with 750 ml water,600g sugar, over heat until the sugar dissolves, then add brandy, about 100ml. Think I got this recipe from one of Darcy Oneil posts. Some tiki-expert customers who’ve tasted this were highly impressed so Im sticking to it for the customers.

    And I agree with Brennan, only reason for me to ever go to the hustle of making this is a Mai Tai but once its made it’d find its way into anything I make.

  6. The only question I have is, Why the hickety hell was I ever thinking of buying orgeat?!

  7. I don’t have my own recipe and haven’t tried making orgeat myself before, but this new simplified recipe looks like something I’d give a chance.

    To add to the pile on, my favorite drink with orgeat is a Mai Tai. But I feel like this is a bit of a trick question. After all, ask me what my favorite cocktail with French Vermouth is and I’ll say a Martini. My favorite cocktail with maraschino and I’ll say a Martinez. My favorite cocktail with Italian Vermouth and I’ll say a Manhattan. Peychaud’s Bitters and I”ll say a Sazerac…etc. Classics are classic because of their balance, complexity, and appeal to broad audiences. They sustain over time. So it’s hard to imagine thinking too long about the cocktail that to many of us best defines a classic use of orgeat like the Mai Tai. My $0.02.

  8. Nick HNo Gravatar says:

    1. I’ve never seen a recipe for orgeat before. The Fee’s orgeat in the store did look kind of questionable, so nice to know you can make your own. Of course, I don’t have orange flower water or rose water yet either. And the homemade grenadine I made didn’t work out so great. But I would definitely try this if I get the time.

    2. I’ve been wanting to try making my own Mai Tai, but sadly haven’t sampled a drink with orgeat in it yet.

  9. The only time I’ve ever made Orgeat it was with Erik Ellestad’s recipe, which is utterly delicious but an incredible pain in the rear to make. This is why, despite my deep love for orgeat, I’ve made it only once. This recipe looks like I’ll have to come out of Orgeat Retirement though…in November when I can tipple again.

    Favorite orgeat drink? I’d love to break away and not say the Mai Tai, but I’d be lying. My SECOND-favorite orgeat drink though is the Japanese Cocktail from Jerry Thomas:

    2 oz Brandy
    .25 oz Orgeat
    .25 oz Lime Juice
    1 dash Angostura Bitters

    Shake with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lime twist.

  10. YSENo Gravatar says:

    1. Nope, used the bottled stuff all my life.
    2. Just a simple orgeat italian soda – carbonated water + splash of syrup. mmm tastes like my childhood.

  11. RyanNo Gravatar says:

    I also like to add a few dashes of brandy, or if I’m particularly lazy just go down and buy a bottle of Small Hand Foods orgeat. It’s pricey but great. I’d say the Japanese is the perfect cocktail for really highlighting the flavor profile of orgeat. No lime for me, and a couple dashes of Boker’s if you have ‘em.

  12. Ian McCarthyNo Gravatar says:

    Thanks for the updated recipe. Your previous rendition was rather tedious, (though rewarding). I have been looking hard for a recipe that actually uses barley, but with no luck. If you have one, I would love to hear it. I think using malted barley in place of granulated sugar might contribute more in the way of flavour and mouth-feel. Anyhow, my favorite orgeat recipe:

    Hotel Georgia
    2 parts gin
    1/2 part orgeat
    ½ part lemon juice
    10 drops orange blossom water
    1 egg white

    The original calls for one whole part orgeat. Which ends up a bit cloying. Like Boudreau suggests, cutting it back, (to a half part by my tastes), is just the trick.

  13. jenNo Gravatar says:

    Totally ashamed, but I’ve never made any orgeat syrup….and as I’ve never had any on-hand haven’t made any cocktails using it.

  14. Yummy! Loves me some Orgeat! And since I am out I will be trying this recipe on the weekend.

    My favorite two recipes for Orgeat…. Mai Tai, of course, is my number one use.

    For my number two go-to Orgeat recipe…. two ounces of Orgeat over crushed ice in a chimney glass topped with soda is very refreshing on a hot afternoon. Then, when evening sets in add two ounces of the liquor of choice for a more adult kind of soda.

  15. Tony HarionNo Gravatar says:

    I have to admit that I never made my own orgeat.

    I ordered a life stock of it a long time ago since I can buy it here in Brazil and it just won´t finish.

    I´ve already bought the almonds and will give this recipe a try pretty soon, but instead of bashing them I might try to flash blend them with water.

    I can already imagine that over blending will result in a lot of straining to be done, so just a few seconds might do it.

    Favorite drink: The Mai Tai and a few variations of it are my favorites but i´ve been putting my Orgeat thru some pretty funky testing lately.

  16. Talbot RidgwayNo Gravatar says:

    Love the simplicity of your (updated) recipe! I’ve made an almond flavored simple syrup before that was just about the same as your, only I didn’t have the rose/orange water. It was 2xSugar to 1xWater and 1xAlmonds. Boil, filter, bottle. And I use my orgeat syrup to make my own sweet and sour mix, to make an extra almondy Amaretto Sour.

    Here’s an almond recipe I’ve been meaning to try is for an ‘Almond Shrub’… from a recipe I got from an older English gentleman.

    1 Qt Rum or Brandy
    1 cup Orange Juice
    1 Rind of 1 Lemon
    1 Lb Sugar
    1 cup Milk
    5-10 drops bitter almond extract.

    Add spirits, lemon peel, orange juice and sugar to a 1/2 gal mason jar. Add bitter almond extract to milk, mix thoroughly and pour into the jar. Cover, put in a warm (~70F) place for about 3 hours to curdle the milk. Filter and bottle. Rest for two weeks before drinking. Served room temp, or chilled. Sounds wonderfully strange!

    BEST~

  17. MajaNo Gravatar says:

    I have never heard of orgeat, so i have no recipe, and i have never tried Mai Tai … i obviously _need_ that bottle to educate myself and correct those mistakes! :D

  18. DougPNo Gravatar says:

    My favorite recipe is whatever Small Hand Foods puts in their (her) bottles. Although I’ve made plenty of fruit syrups, I’ve never made Orgeat, but the new Kaiser Penguin recipe looks simple enough that I will have to give it a try. It will certainly be better than the poor substitute I use when I’m out of Small Hand (rich simple syrup with about 1/8 tsp almond extract and a couple drops of orange flower water).

    And the Mai Tai might be even more than one of the top-10 Orgeat cocktails on my list …

  19. Hey Rick – I think you were a bit closer to the mark with the previous recipe (other than the mountain of sugar I agree)

    I made a couple of half-batches of your prior recipe, using 2lbs sugar instead of 5 (basically equal cups sugar and water) and I thought it was fantastic (still do!). BTW, I used 1lb when mixing and 1lb when re-heating the next day.

    I made a batch of the new stuff last night and was able to compare this with the remaining portion of the old recipe. Nicole and I think the skins do impart some bitterness (and darkness), and there is less almond flavor overall because there is no extract in the new recipe.

    Actually, I was making the orgeat because we are having a party tomorrow at the Rhum Rhum Room (anyone who knows the RRR please come along if you want). Since we have both orgeats, I anticipate there will be much blind comparison and discussion of the old and new orgeats! Results to come!

    On the cocktail front – I agree with those who think you can’t top a well made mai tai, but I have been on an anise kick lately and have used orgeat to make Brennan’s Absinthe Suisse for brunch lately (2 oz Absinthe, .5 oz orgeat, 1.5 oz heavy cream, 8 drops orange flower water, 1 egg white – shake like hell and strain).

  20. RickNo Gravatar says:

    I am surprised at your tasting, as I did the exact same thing and noticed a huge improvement in almond flavor in the new recipe. I couldn’t actually remember if I added extract, so give that a try. Did you toast your almonds long enough? Bitterness?! You must be super tasters :)

    Thanks for the comments – I look forward to the results of your tasting, and I hope to meet up when I’m in NYC early November!

    Cheers!

  21. SeanMikeNo Gravatar says:

    I was thinking about making an orgeat with cinnamon and nutmeg in it, but otherwise using your recipe, to try out for the holidays.

    As for cocktails – I have an idea for a bourbon-based one, but man, I do like a good tequila drink with orgeat. I’ll dig one up…

  22. Gonna have to say that there’s a much easier way to do Orgeat, plus the yield is far more consistent… It’s actually a modification of your old recipe (at least the simmer/boiling part and the amount of water)

    Ingredients:
    1lb Blanched Almonds
    4 cups Filtered Water
    rose and Orange Flower Water
    Granulated Sugar (at least 8 cups, I suppose…)
    Neutral Spirit (adds shelf life)

    Preparation:
    (1) Bring blanched almonds and water to boil in a medium size sauce pan, then (2) strain water from almonds and keep water aside. (3) Using a food processor, grind almonds. (4) Slowly add boiled “almond” water to food processor until all water is added and almonds are a paste-like consistency. (5) Let the almond paste cool, then pour as much of the mix as possible into a cheese clothe covered fine strainer & squeeze out the water from the almonds (creating almond milk). *Depending on the size of the clothe/strainer combo, there should be a couple repetitions of the straining step. (6) Next, measure the amount of extracted milk and add it to the medium sauce pan. (7) Add twice as much sugar (to milk) to the sauce pan (in other words, 2:1, sugar:milk). (8) On low heat, stir occasionally until the sugar is incorporated into the milk, creating a thick syrup. (9) Remove the pot from the heat. (10) When the syrup begins to cool add two teaspoons of both orange and rose flower water (you can use the cap of their bottles), and the neutral spirit. (11) After stirring several times, the syrup is ready to be served and stored. Keep the syrup away from the fridge – the cold will separate the oils from the water and the sugar will crystalize making pouring very difficult. Use two 500 ml glass bottles for storage (typically, used at salad bars for oil and vinegar – tall, square, and skinny make for convenient storage… at least behind my bar). This recipe will yield two bottles (1 liter). Be sure to cork the bottles when storing (prevents fermentation) and do not use a pour spout! The sugar builds up and clogs.

    Whatcha think?

  23. [...] pointed me in the direction of the first recipe I used, should come back with what he claims is an even better version. Enjoy and remember, the darker the sugar you use, the better it will turn [...]

  24. My favorite cocktail with orgeat is Any Cocktail That Contains Orgeat. If it wasn’t like drinking maple syrup, I’d have it straight. <3 it.

    That Ziploc bag strategy never works with me. Tried it with cinnamon sticks and allspice for cinnamon syrup and wound up with a bag full of holes and many unbroken cinnamon sticks. The food processor is my friend. Pulse, baby, pulse!

  25. DaveNo Gravatar says:

    I have only made orgeat one time, and used this recipe, which I grabbed from the Art of Drink:
    http://www.artofdrink.com/2006/02/orgeat-syrup.php
    500 grams blanched almonds
    800 ml water
    700 grams table sugar
    100 ml Vodka or Brandy
    2 Tbls Orange or Rose Flower Water

    Mine didn’t seem to be too almondy, but I am guessing that is more my fault than the recipe’s…as I am not the most adept person in the ol’ kitchen. :)

    I would have to go with a Mai Tai as my favorite, with Planters Punch being a close second. In the “haven’t tried yet but am looking forward to” category, I’ll offer up a Thunder Road.

    Thunder Road
    1.5 oz Applejack
    .75 oz Light Rum
    .25 oz Orgeat Syrup
    .25 oz Lime Juice

    Pour all ingredients into shaker. Fill a Highball glass almost full of
    ice cubes, and dump ice into shaker. Shake well and pour drink
    into Highball glass. Garnish with a Lime Slice and serve.

    Fun contest! Thank you for putting it on.

    Dave

  26. galinNo Gravatar says:

    Hi guys
    have you tried to macerate your almonds in alcohol for better extraction. I have. it was utter failure. i don’t know if it was the under par almonds(have been sitting in the cupboard for a year), or the unrefined sugar i used or maybe all of that. what i did gave good initial results:
    i started with blending 1kg of whole raw almonds with 0.5litre of vodka(40%abv)
    at this point i had wonderfully coloured , bitter-almond mixture with strong whiff of alcohol to it but none the less almond aroma was much more pronounced and powerful. it tasted like crap. there came step two:
    trying to rectify the mixture by gradually adding water and simmering ,hoping the alcohol will boil off.
    don’t know exactly how much water i have added/left in the mixture because the process was rather long. i was tasting trying to achieve something acceptable to the palate and hopefully with good almond flavour.
    that is where i realised i can’t get rid of the alcohol (it was always creeping at the back)and added unrefined cane sugar…. HUGE mistake the almond flavour was all but gone leaving me with boozy syrup that i thought was hateful.
    Now i know i didn’t really conducted my experiment thoroughly as i should have but what do you think about the main concept: extracting the almond flavour with the help of alcohol and then diluting with water and perhaps leaving traces of the alcohol as preservative.

    as for adding other spices and flavour profiles i can’t say i am very keen on that. the aim in my opinion is to introduce almond profile to the cocktail therefore vanilla, cinnamon, cloves etc. should be kept out and added to the drink separately if necessary. don’t want vanilla beans in my MAI TAI( it could spoil the fine blend of rums i put in it. orange flower water is agreeable as it is original and in minute quantities
    .

  27. Tony HarionNo Gravatar says:

    I just made this recipe and it´s delicious!!
    The only part I changed was the crushing method, I flash blended the almonds with water instead.
    The taste was really nice, but the color of my Orgeat was darker than I expected. One thing that I noticed was that my blender tends to remove the peal of many almonds before cutting them in to pieces. This is probably the reason for the brownish color I got. (that´s what I get for being lazy)
    I´ll definitely try this recipe again, but will probably crush the almonds using a different method.

  28. [...] a bit mad and made my own damn orgeat syrup, using a variation of the method Rick Stutz wrote up here. I bloody-well love the stuff now. I want to mix it into everything; I want to eat it on my cereal [...]

  29. SoyaleNo Gravatar says:

    Hmm, I just made this recipe and it came out badly so I’m trying to figure out what I did wrong. First off, it’s a dark drown color and most store bought Orgeat I’ve seen is a milky color. Second, I think I may have over toasted the almonds because it has a storng nutty flavor as opposed to the light almondy / floral flavor most store bought Orgeat has. Anyone else make similar mistakes?

  30. John RosevearNo Gravatar says:

    I’ve tried a few orgeat recipes. I haven’t found any of them to be significantly better than Monin orgeat-in-the-bottle, and absolutely none of them were worth the work. Given that this one is less work than most, I’ll give it a shot. Here’s hopin’.

  31. HannahNo Gravatar says:

    about to make the orgeat syrup (as the store-bought one actually contains no almonds) for my favorite cocktail, which is the Moresque. 2 part absinthe to 1 part orgeat stirred over ice with a splash of agua.

  32. ConnorNo Gravatar says:

    Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes- this is handily the best orgeat recipe I’ve used. After a couple of efforts using various other recipes- efforts which proved completely disappointing- I’d long since given up making my own, and basically only drank orgeat drinks when I spied a bottle of the Giffard behind the bar; a shame since a nice, dry Daiquiri Deluxe with a good aged rum is a fine pleasure. Why other recipes are so damn sweet and so lacking in almond flavor I just don’t get, but it doesn’t really matter anymore- I’ll likely tweak this to make it my own, but this is the default.

    Anyone worried about the color shouldn’t- the Giffard stuff, which is by far the best commercial product I’ve tasted, is much more opaque and much less bright white in color than both any other commercial orgeat I’ve seen and most recipes I’ve tried.

  33. HannahNo Gravatar says:

    so we made the orgeat and i have two questions. the first is that as the bottle sat, it seemed that there was some separation happening at the top… not too big a deal as we just shook the bottle before using. the second it that we failed to refrigerate the orgeat and it went bad within a week.

    are there any suggestions to remedy these problems?

  34. [...] 2010 by thejeffriestonic Our adventures with almonds and sugar begin with the recipe found at The Kaiser Penguin, with a few minor [...]

  35. RickNo Gravatar says:

    Hannah, separation is fairly common with orgeat syrups, and shaking it up is a fine solution. As far as shelf life, I’d always recommend storing your syrups in the refrigerator. If you boil your syrup for at least a minute, you’ll drastically improve the shelf life as well, though this will slightly alter the flavor. Hope that helps!

  36. ArianNo Gravatar says:

    Commenting on Ian’s comment about using barley like original orgeat, seems to me you could use dry malt extract for half the called-for sugar in the recipe. Too much might make your orgeat taste like an almond malt (which actually doesn’t sound half bad). Dry malt extract is available at any beer homebrew shop and online.

  37. KookieNo Gravatar says:

    When I toast nuts for baking, I spread them on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet and toast them in a 350F oven till I can smell them, never more than 5-7 minutes or they will scorch and be bitter. I did the same for these almonds. When I bought the almonds, I tasted one, it tasted sweet, not oily, so I knew they were fresh! I proceded with the recipe, used a food processor, and pulsed till I had a lot of chopped nuts with a few whole ones. The mix is sitting on the stove to be filtered in the morning. Will let you know what happens.

  38. brandon MorganNo Gravatar says:

    i found this recipe to be very thick, almost an almond butter. Did I do something wrong? It didn’t seem like 2 cups of water was nearly enough.

  39. RickNo Gravatar says:

    Brandon,

    Did you make sure to not bash up the almonds too much and to strain it through a cheesecloth or wet paper towels?

  40. brandon MorganNo Gravatar says:

    Rick,

    There were crumbs to almost whole almonds. I toasted them, then double bagged and bashed with a rolling pen. I then added it to a sauce pan with 4 cups sugar, 2 cups water. Although the fx cuisine, when making the almond milk at this stage, used 2 liters of water. After letting it sit for 12 hrs, i then

    strained it through double cheese cloth. It was very syrupy, really almondy, and super thick. The syrup was also very brown instead of milky. I have read that this doesn’t change the flavor, but after making the fx cuisine version, i noticed a substantial boost in flavor in this recipe. But again, it was very

    thick and tasted like almond butter. I also used almond extract in my second attempt with the fx cuisine recipe. It smells like the Torani orgeat almond syrup but is not nearly as strong of flavor. Also has a bit of a corn smell. Is Torani orgeat the flavor I am looking for?

  41. MarkNo Gravatar says:

    Your Cthulu recipe left me laughing and thirsty. Lovecraft is great! Try Philip K Dick if yiu haven’t. The addition of Kummel to a rum based cocktail is a very interesting idea. Never tried it but def will.
    I have used orgeat syrup in pastries calling for almond flavoring. It is almost always better than the crappy almond extract available in the supermarkets.
    Thanks for the recipes!

  42. WadeNo Gravatar says:

    Just made batch of this for pool party this weekend. I crushed almonds in small batches using food processor. I also did not have any Orange Flower water, so used a couple of shakes of Orange Bitters. After straining, final product was 0.5 liter. Turned out great!

    I looked at the leftover crushed almonds and decided I could do something with it. I melted 1/2 stick of butter, 1/4 cup cream (1/2 & 1/2), 1 more cup of sugar, and 1 t baking soda to pan and brought to boil. I then added about 2/3 of leftover crushed almonds, brought to a slow boil for about 5 minutes. I transferred this to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet. It poured out to about 1/3″ thick. I placed this in oven at 400 degrees until top was beginning to brown – about 15 minutes. Remove and let cool. Result was not exactly peanut brittle – still a little chewy, but very tasty.

  43. NickNo Gravatar says:

    What happens if you let it soak for longer than 12? say….closer to 24?

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About

Kaiser Penguin is a cocktail blog featuring original recipes, homemade ingredients, classic cocktails, and tiki drinks.

Why on Earth did you name your blog “Kaiser Penguin?”

It is a well-known fact that penguins are members of high society and enjoy fine cocktails. Our very own kaiser penguin would like me to mention that he also enjoys various treats from the sea.

Contact: rick@kaiserpenguin.com