DIY Ingredients: Orgeat

Orgeat is a classic cocktail ingredient that’s much better when made at home. There are commercial brands you can buy, but many are just simple syrup with almond flavoring, which is really not the same. Proper orgeat should have a milky color because it is made with almond milk. Making it yourself is not difficult, but does require some specialized equipment and a little time. My recipe is below, or read on to the bottom for a not-quite-as-good but easier version.

150 grams blanched almonds (or other nut)
250 ml water
200 grams sugar
30 ml brandy
1-5 drops of orange flower water or rose flower water to taste (optional but recommended)

Soak solids in ample water for 30 minutes. Discard water and grind nuts in food processor to a medium-fine paste. Add water to processor towards the end. Let mixture steep 1-2 hours.

Place a thin tea towel or several layers of cheesecloth into a strainer and pour mixture through cloth, reserving liquid. You could also use a nut milk bag. Twist and squeeze solids in cloth to extract maximum liquid.

Add strained nut milk to saucepan with sugar and heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved. Cool to room temperature then add optional flower water and brandy. Store refrigerated. Note: Homemade orgeat will separate, this does not mean it has spoiled. Just shake well before using. Yield: about 12 oz, keeps at least 4-6 weeks, can be frozen.

Quick Orgeat

1/2 cup purchased unsweetened almond milk
1/2 cup sugar
2-3 drops orange flower water or rose flower water to taste (optional but recommended)
1/2 oz brandy or vodka

Heating almond milk with sugar until sugar dissolves. Let cool and add flower water and brandy or vodka. Store refrigerated and shake well before using. Yield – about 6 oz.