Orgeat Fizz

Orgeat Fizz
The Juice of 1/2 Lemon. (Juice 1/2 Meyer Lemon, Juice 1/2 Lime)
1 Liqueur Glass Orgeat. (1 1/2 oz Small Hand Foods Orgeat)
Shake well strain into medium size glass and fill with soda water.

Now, I normally say a “plain fizz” is composed of Spirits, Lemon or lime, Sweetener, and Soda water.

The Orgeat Fizz gives lie to that formula by leaving out the spirits altogether!

To be honest, prior to getting to this section of the book, I made this non-alcoholic drink all the time, maybe with a dash of Bitters or Absinthe for variety, on “alcohol free days”. It is very tasty!

However, one word of warning, I have had some problems occasionally. Some manufacturers include thickeners, (like Xanthan Gum, aka Cabbage Slime,) in their orgeat. These manufacturers do this to discourage the almond oils and solids from falling out of suspension. With these products, especially when just building an Orgeat Fizz, instead of shaking it, the thickened Orgeat sometimes forms capsules instead of mixing nicely with the soda water. Something about the citrus, almond fats, Xanthan Gum, and soda. Ends up being kind of gross, with little globules of Orgeat floating in your drink instead of the syrup being evenly distributed. Not good eats.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the drinks in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, the, uh, Sauterne Cup.

Small-ish Orgeat Recipe

The last time I wrote down a successful Orgeat recipe, it was for the batch I made for Tales of the Cocktail in 2008. It was rather large.

Orgeat–Tales Version

I recently made a much smaller version for Savoy Night at Alembic Bar, and it turned out well.

Mostly writing this down so I don’t forget.

Orgeat On a Small Scale

16 ounces Water
16 ounces (by weight) sugar
4 ounces (by weight) Whole Almonds, Pulsed to coarse grind in food processor

1 Tablespoon Brandy
1/2 tsp Natural Almond Extract
A couple drops Orange Flower Water

Method:
Dissolve sugar in water over low flame. Add almonds and bring up to 140 degrees. Hold it at 140 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cool and refrigerate over night. Filter almonds out of syrup, squeezing to remove as much liquid as possible. Add Brandy, Almond Extract, and Orange Flower Water. Bottle in a clean sanitized bottle and refrigerate. Makes a bit less than 750ml.

Notes: I did not blanch and remove the skins from the almonds this time. Some “friends” had suggested blanching was an unnecessary step, as they detected no tannic or bitter character from. the skins. Well, this is true, there is no detectable tannic or bitter character from the skins, however there is a lot of pigment. Unless it is cool with you that your orgeat is the color of porter and the drinks made with it look like dishwater, I would recommend blanching.

A lot of people these days recommend roasting the almonds before using them to make your orgeat. I’m on the fence about that. It does give it a more intense flavor, but I think it covers up some of the floral and cherry notes of the pure almond flavor. However, I have yet to give it a try myself, maybe with the next batch.

Pantomime Cocktail

Pantomime Cocktail

Pantomime Cocktail.

1 Dash Orgeat Syrup. (1/3 tsp. Homemade)
1 Dash Grenadine. (1/3 tsp. Homemade)
The White of 1 Egg.
1 Liqueur Glass French Vermouth. (1 1/2 oz Noilly Original Dry)

Shake (without ice for 10 seconds.  Add ice, shake) well and strain into medium size glass.  (Garnish with drops of angostura bitters and grated nutmeg.)

Kind of odd to have egg white in a cocktail without lemon, but there you go.

I found the Pantomime an interesting and fairly enjoyable light cocktail.  Heck, you could even make this at a bar without a full liquor license!  Of course it is an awful lot of work to go for very little “bang”, if you know what I mean.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Inca Cocktail

Inca Cocktail

Inca Cocktail

1 Dash Orgeat Syrup. (1/3 tsp homemade)
1 Dash Orange Bitters. (dash Fee’s, Dash Regan’s Orange Bitters)
1/4 Gin. (3/4 oz Junipero Gin)
1/4 Sherry. (3/4 oz Bodega Dios Baco Fino Sherry)
1/4 French Vermouth. (3/4 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth)
1/4 Italian Vermouth. (3/4 oz Carpano Antica Vermouth)

Shake (stir, please) well and strain into cocktail glass. (Orange Peel.)

Apparently, I am crazy for liking this cocktail. I tried it a while ago for myself and thought it a really cool puzzle of tastes. I gave one to Mrs. eje to try. Interestingly, her first impression was that it was a whiskey cocktail, but she also liked it.

Then I sent the recipe to a few friends. Crickets. I sent the recipe to some bartenders I know. The silence was deafening.

I made it again a couple other times, including tonight, and still think it rocks.

I do have to say I over-squooshed my almonds when making this batch of orgeat, thus the kind of dottiness due to the almond oils and solids in the cold cocktail. Still tasty despite the somewhat unappealing appearance.

Robert Vermeire tells us, “This cocktail was invented by H.C. Harrison, who supervises the American Bars of the Gordon Hotels in England.”

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Diabola Cocktail

Diabola Cocktail

2/3 Dubonnet. (1 1/2 oz Dubonnet Rouge)
1/3 Gin. (3/4 oz Junipero Gin)
2 Dashes Orgeat Syrup. (Monin)

Shake (stir, please) well and strain into cocktail glass.

This is a fine and enjoyable cocktail, significantly improved by the addition of a dash of Angostura Bitters. If you choose to make it yourself, I would advise picking a more aggressively flavored Gin, given the ratio of Dubonnet to spirit.

“Diabola” may be Latin for “Evil One.” It certainly is used as part of the “Latin” binomial for various menacing looking plants and animals like the “Dracula Lily” (Dracula diabola) and “DEVIL’S RIVER BLACKHEAD SNAKE” (Tantilla rubra diabola). Diabola also appears to be a common name among certain, how shall we say, sub-cultures which frequent some of the more colorful corners of the Internet. Fair warning: in case you are drawn to Google it yourself, these pages are of the sort which you really probably shouldn’t dig in to while at work.

Again, like the Devil’s Cocktail, I can’t say I found this cocktail particularly evil, menacing, or deceptive.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.

Orgeat–Tales Version

This time I’m following Francois Xavier’s Orgeat procedure from this blog post:

Homemade Orgeat Syrup (French Barley Water)

(My favorite part of the lovely pictures which accompany the recipe is that the author appears to be making orgeat in his/her pajamas.)

550 grams blanched and roughly chopped almond & (optional) apricot kernels
150 grams blanched and finely minced almonds & (optional) apricot kernels
3 litres of water
about 9 pounds of sugar (I like Florida Crystals)
1 cup Brandy or Cognac (I used Osocalis California Brandy)
2 teaspoons Orange Flower Water
1/4 oz Natural Almond Extract per litre

This makes a bit more than 4 litres (or a gallon.)
Special equipment: scale, cheesecloth, candy thermometer

To blanch almonds (thanks Paul!): Purchase whole raw almond (and optionally apricot) kernels. Place in a saucepan and cover with water. Quickly bring to a boil over high heat. Remove from heat and rinse with cold water. Put on some good music, and rub the skins off each almond. It took me about the length of Nick Cave’s excellent new CD “Dig, Lazarus, Dig!!” to remove the skins from 856 grams of almonds.

In regards Almond and Apricot Kernels, I had a bit over 2 pounds of Almonds and 2 ounces of Apricot kernels to start with. They were mixed together to blanch, so I’m not exactly sure how much of each ended up in the final mix.

Roughly chop 550 grams almonds with a big knife. Finely chop 150 grams of almonds with a big knife.

Add almonds and 600 grams of sugar to a pot. Add 3 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, cool, and leave to rest for 12 hours. Because I am paranoid, I put it in the fridge.

Strain through cheesecloth or, even better, a coarse nylon straining bag (available from beer supply stores).

Wash and sanitize the bottles you will be using to store your syrup. I don’t have a dish washer, so I wash them, rinse them, then place them in a cold oven. Turn the temperature to 200 degrees. When it reaches 200, I leave them in for 15 minutes. Kind of like an autoclave.

Weigh the strained liquid.

For every 500 grams of strained liquid, add 700 grams of sugar. My liquid weighed 2774 grams, so I added around 3500 grams of sugar.

Put the pot over low heat, and heat to dissolve sugar. Interestingly, Francois Xavier recommends not to boil it, as this may turn your orgeat into caramel. I brought it to the recommended 40 Centigrade and kept it there for about 15 minutes, stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Leave the orgeat to cool. Then add the brandy, orange flower water, and almond extract.

Pour into the clean bottles.

Also, as Francis Xavier notes, “Real orgeat syrup will split after a few days in a thick, solid white layer of almond powder on top and syrup below. This is normal and happens with quality bought orgeat syrup such as the one I used to buy from Hédiard in Paris. All you need is insert a skewer in the bottle to break the top layer a bit, close and shake. This is really part of the fun in this product and a hallmark of quality orgeat syrup.”

Interestingly, perhaps because I am using florida crystals natural cane sugar, my orgeat came out even darker than Francois’.

Orgeat

Anyway, the best part about this recipe, is that you run almost no risk of over processing your almonds. With a food processor or a blender, it is very, very easy to start making almond butter, as I did last time. Almond fudge is cool, but it doesn’t really work for cocktails. Besides, unless you’re handicapped or suffering from carpal tunnel, there’s really no compelling reason to use a food processor for this small an amount of almonds.

Forbidden Island Field Trip

One of the drinks included in “Food & Wine Cocktails 2008″ is Martin Cate’s version of the classic Trader Vic drink the Fog Cutter

Forbidden Island

Taking the opportunity of a friend’s band (The awesome Project Pimento!) playing at Forbidden Island, I stopped by to try the drink in question.

Fog Cutter

Le Fog Cutter. Tasty! I’d not tried one before. It was fruitier than I expected, with a good amount of the drink’s character coming from the Orgeat. I don’t have the book handy, but it has always struck me as an unlikely combination of ingredients, especially for a Tiki Drink. Most recipes include: Brandy, Gin, Rum, Sherry, Orgeat Syrup, and Orange Juice. Sometimes lemon. Somehow it all works!

Martin & I*

I am such a bartender stalker! Anyway, Martin went on to explain how interesting it is to track the sweetness and different character of the Fog Cutter through the seasons. They’re on late season Navel oranges right now, giving the drink a sweeter character. He said pretty soon they’d be switching to Valencias, which would be quite tart in the early part of the season and then mellow as the summer went on.

FGCUTTR*

Martin even brought in his old FGCUTTR license plate for photographic documentation.

*Humuhumu took these pictures.

Cameron’s Kick Cocktail

Cameron's Kick Cocktail

Cameron’s Kick Cocktail

1/3 Scotch Whisky (1 oz Compass Box Asyla Scotch Whisky)
1/3 Irish Whiskey (1 oz Red Breast Irish Whiskey)
1/6 Lemon Juice (1/2 oz fresh)
1/6 Orgeat Syrup (1/2 oz Monin Orgeat)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass. (Squeeze orange peel on top.)

I can’t really think of a funnier or wittier way to put this than Paul Clarke did in his Cocktail Chronicle blog a year or so ago, so I’ll just include a quote:

Cameron’s Kick

Remember the old saw about how, if you took a million monkeys and gave them each a typewriter, they’d eventually come up with the works of Shakespeare? Well edit “typewriter” to read “cocktail shaker,” and stick the monkeys in a well-stocked bar, and the banana-addled mixologists would come up with a Cameron’s Kick in about the same amount of time it’d take that set of simian scribes to work their way around to Titus Andronicus.

Like “Blood in the Sand” it’s another of those cocktails that didn’t really seem anywhere near likely enough that it would be tasty to work it’s way up the list.

Yet here it is, and I quite enjoyed it.

Sweet and tart. Puzzling and a bit exotic. Some elements of spice, and some elements of Scotch Whiskey.

It really doesn’t seem like it should work. But, it does.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.