Orgeat, an almond-based syrup, has long been heralded one of the most important ingredients in tiki cocktails. At Bootlegger, a tiki joint in Palm Springs, California, it’s central to many of the Polynesian drinks on their menu – and, true to their roots, only the housemade stuff will do. Although creating the syrup does take time, orgeat’s subtle sweetness, floral notes and earthiness are well worth the effort. We asked Bootlegger’s Chad Austin to share the recipe they use behind the bar.
Almonds are the fundamental flavor of orgeat. To make the syrup, the almonds must first be pulverized.
To strike a balance between earthy, nutty flavors and just the right sweetness, Bootlegger adds almonds to a simple syrup that has slightly less sugar than a typical 1:1 ratio.
Combine almonds and simple syrup.
Add barspoon of rosewater.
Although some recipes call for either rose water or orange flower water, Bootlegger uses both to add complexity to the syrup’s floral notes.
Bootlegger doesn’t add alcohol to their orgeat, because they use it too quickly to need liquor as a preservative. Plus, they like to offer it in non-alcoholic beverages.
- 12 ounces almonds
- 12 ounces water
- 10 ounces sugar
- 1 barspoon rose water
- 1 barspoon orange flower water
Pulverize almonds. Make a simple syrup using a 1:1 ratio in a pot on a stovetop (although, at Bootlegger, bartenders use slightly less sugar). Incorporate the almonds into your simple syrup, stirring constantly for the first few minutes, then dropping the heat down to a simmer. After about 30 minutes, it’s time to add rose and orange flower waters; a barspoon of each. After letting the syrup sit for 3-8 hours, strain through a cheesecloth and a fine strainer and let it rest. Many people will add an ounce or two of liquor to their orgeat because it helps preserve, but Bootlegger goes through it so fast that there’s no need (they also like to incorporate orgeat into non-alcoholic drinks).
Ready to put your orgeat to work? Try it in Bootlegger’s Oh My Gato, a complex tiki build that includes two rums, sherry, coffee liqueur and a few more of our favorite things.
- 1 ounce Caña Brava Rum
- 1 ounce Scarlet Ibis Rum
- 1 ounce lemon juice
- 3/4 ounce passionfruit juice
- 3/4 ounce St. George NOLA Coffee Liqueur
- 1/2 ounce orgeat
- 1/2 ounce cane sugar
- 1/2 ounce Amontillado sherry
Combine, shake, and strain into glass. Garnish with an orchid.
Elevate your tiki drinks with housemade orgeat, as Bootlegger does with their Oh My Gatos cocktail.
Orgeat is the centerpiece of many classic tiki drinks, and making it in-house is a guaranteed means of elevating your cocktail service.