Orgeat is a unique cocktail syrup that’s worth adding to your collection! Here’s more about orgeat syrup and how to use it in cocktails.
Making a cocktail that calls for orgeat, or wondering what it is? A few years ago after ordering a fancy cocktail with it listed in the ingredients, and we had to Google it. Turns out, it’s an almond cocktail syrup with hundreds of years of history. The nutty, citrus vanilla flavor can’t fully be replicated by anything else. After buying a bottle and working with it in our home bar, we came to agree: it’s truly something special. Here’s all about orgeat syrup, where to buy it and how to use it in cocktails!
What is orgeat?
Orgeat syrup is a non-alcoholic almond syrup used for sweetening cocktails and mocktails. It’s made from almonds, sugar, and orange flower water, and has a long history of use in cocktails and bartending. The first printed recipe for orgeat was in a cookbook from 1864, called the The English and Australian Cookery Book. It’s been used in cocktails throughout history, and is most famous for its use in the Mai Tai.
How do you pronounce orgeat? Say Or-ZHAAT in your best French accent, where the “ZH” is like the J in the name Jacque.
What does orgeat taste like?
Orgeat has a distinctive nutty flavor with a hint of citrus. Some people liken it to liquid marzipan. It adds a distinct complexity to drinks, and it’s so unique that there’s not a great substitute. Look for it at your local liquor store or online: it’s absolutely worth purchasing.
Should I make homemade orgeat?
No. At least, that’s our opinion! You can make homemade orgeat, but it takes several hours and several steps. You also need lots of almonds and a bottle of orange flower water, which ends up being more expensive than just buying a bottle.
Orgeat is a common cocktail ingredient and available at most liquor stores, so why not buy it? It’s only about $10, and there are lots of great brands out there. It’s also more shelf stable to buy storebought. So skip the homemade recipe and grab a bottle!
How much does it cost?
Orgeat is fairly inexpensive: a bottle usually costs about $10. We used a 8 ounce bottle made by Small Hand Foods and it has great flavor. Here’s a link to buy orgeat syrup online. Some reputable brands are Torani, Monin, Luxardo, and Small Hand Foods.
Most popular orgeat cocktails
Orgeat is used in both cocktails and mocktails. You can use it in one of the drinks below, or you can simply use it in place of simple syrup in any recipe for a nutty spin! Keep in mind you may have to add a little more orgeat than simple syrup, since it’s not quite as sweet.
The most famous orgeat cocktail of all? The Mai Tai! It might sound like a fruity resort drink from the 1990’s, but it’s anything but. This drink is a classic cocktail from the 1940’s that’s been (cough) ruined by saccharine sweet versions intended for tourists. A real Mai Tai is breathtakingly complex, featuring rum, orange liqueur, and almond syrup. With nutty and vanilla notes against the sharp citrus, it’s sophisticated, nuanced, and extraordinarily special.
Ingredients: Aged rum, dark rum, Cointreau (or Grand Marnier), lime, orgeat syrup
The Trinidad Sour is a surprising orgeat cocktail that stars an unprecedented amount of Angostura bitters! Created in 2009 by New York City bartender Giuseppe Gonzalez, this inventive modern classic cocktail seems like it would be unpalatable on paper. But add the almond-citrus notes of orgeat syrup, zingy fresh lemon, and spicy rye whiskey, and it’s a true revelation.
Ingredients: Angostura bitters, orgeat syrup, lemon juice, rye whiskey
It might be called the Japanese Cocktail, but this drink isn’t related to Japanese cuisine. It doesn’t even have Japanese whiskey! But this American classic from the 1860's is worth a try. Grab your favorite brandy or Cognac then sweeten it with orgeat. Add a few shakes of bitters and it comes out nutty with a hint of citrus and an herbal finish from the bitters.
Ingredients: Brandy or Cognac, orgeat syrup, lemon juice (optional), bitters
Love a good Mojito? Then let us introduce you to the very best mocktail version of it: this Virgin Mojito! Can the nuance of flavor in this special cocktail syrup mimic the flavor of rum? No surprise: the almond citrus flavor of the orgeat is just what this mocktail needed! It absolutely makes this non-alcoholic drink.
Ingredients: Fresh mint, lime, orgeat syrup, soda water or tonic water
Mai Tai with Orgeat
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 drink 1x
Here’s how to make the original Mai Tai recipe! Gather the ingredients for this tropical rum drink that’s as complex as it is fruity.
- 1 ½ ounces (3 tablespoons) aged rum
- ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) orange liqueur: Curaçao, Cointreau or Grand Marnier
- ¾ ounce (1 ½ tablespoons) lime juice
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) orgeat syrup
- ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) dark rum
- For the garnish: Fresh mint, cocktail cherry, pineapple slice, lime wedge
- Place the aged rum, orange liqueur, lime juice, and orgeat syrup in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake until cold.
- Strain the drink into an ice-filled glass. Top with the dark rum. Garnish with fresh mint, a lime wedge, cocktail cherry and pineapple slice.
- Category: Drink
- Method: Shaken
- Cuisine: Cocktails
- Diet: Vegan
Keywords: Orgeat, Orgeat syrup, Orgeat cocktails
More cocktail guides
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- Aperol Guide and Campari Guide All you need to know about these Italian liqueurs.
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- Chartreuse Guide This pale green liqueur is worth adding to your collection…here’s why.
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- Galliano Guide Is this bright yellow liqueur worth buying?
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