I've been reading lots of posts about making one's own syrups, mostly skeptically. However, after tasting the difference between commercial bar syrup and cane sugar simple syrup at The Beverage Academy at Bourbon & Branch, I've gotten more and more interested. As it happens, I read a couple of blog posts about making Orgeat, at least one mentioned Mai Tais - which stuck in my memory.
Saturday was 'International Tiki Day' ..... when it comes to Tiki drinks I'm pretty much what Hawaiians would term a Haole (foreigner), although I aspire to be kamaaina.
Anyway, here I am thinking, "we should have a party Saturday night and serve a tiki drink, is there something I could write up for my blog", and I came up with the idea of trying homemade Orgeat. A quick blog search turned up several well written recipes:
Art of Drink Orgeat Recipe
Trader Tiki's Orgeat Recipe
Kaiser Penguin's Orgeat Recipe
They are all quite similar. And I realized I didn't start the process twelve hours in advance ....
Fortunately, we have a restaurant here called "Cafe Gratitude" which specializes in very good raw foods, even if they have a kind of off-putting "Stepford Wives" cheerfulness. And they make kick a** almond milk. Oceana sez so, and she used to make it every week, using a recipe quite similar to the ones I showed her from the above list.
So I bought an 8 oz bottle, which I warmed and mixed with 12 ounces of organic raw cane sugar (2::3 ratio) until it dissolved. Then I let it cool, and added a 1/4 teaspoon of Monteux orange flower water, 1/4 teaspoon of Carlo rose water, 1/4 teaspoon of Whole Foods almond extract (which is bitter almond in glycerin), and two tablespoons of vodka (for shelf stability).
It smelled incredible and tasted overwhelmingly sweet - if I make it again I might reduce the % of sugar.
Well, the proof is in the drinking. Last night we had Mai Tais with The Polynesian Princess and her consort at their new abode, and we used the Monin Orgeat. Tonight, we had Mai Tais in the back yard at 80 - tiki torches blazing - and both Oceana and I pronounced these better - more complex taste and more interesting bouquet - and the unmistakeable almond oil aftertaste.
So my bottle of Orgeat is back in the fridge, and our next project is to make the Japanese Cocktail!