Food - Drink
What Is Orgeat Syrup And What Cocktails Can It Be Used In?
By MATTHEW SPINA
Orgeat syrup, pronounced or-jjott, isn't quite as well-known as simple syrup, but it's a flexible almond-flavored sweetener that is an essential part of a few classic cocktails. Orgeat is made by infusing a warm sugar syrup with almonds for several hours, then straining before adding flavorings and aromatics like orange blossom water.
Orgeat comes from the French word "orge," which means barley, since water left over from boiling barley was used to make the syrup in the Middle Ages. Over the years, ground almonds, sugar, and citrus were added and the barley was dropped from the formula, but the syrup wouldn't be used in mixed drinks until the 1800s.
The Alcohol Professor says that in 1862, New York bartender Jerry Thomas created the "Japanese cocktail" for a Japanese regular, the first recorded cocktail to use orgeat. Later, Victor Bergeron used orgeat in his Mai Tai, and both the drink and the almond syrup would become a huge part of a boom in popularity for "tiki drinks."
The Spruce Eats compares orgeat’s flavor to almond-based marzipan, but with more bitterness and floral notes. Bon Appétit says many brands of orgeat add spices like cinnamon, substitute floral ingredients like rose water in place of orange blossom water, and may even use other nuts like pistachios and macadamias.
Orgeat is a classic pairing with rum and an integral part of tiki drinks like the Mai Tai and Scorpion, and you can also try the original Japanese cocktail, which requires bitters, brandy, and a bit of lemon peel. Orgeat's creamy and sugary sweetness also balances out whiskey, tequila and citrus juices' harsher edges.