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The earliest soft beverage mixer in human history


Known by different names around the world, this sweet almond and orangewater blend is one of the earliest soft beverage mixers in human history, with similar recipes found on almost every continent, some dating back to the early Roman Republic. Whether you know it as Orgeat or Orzata or Rozata or Soumádha, this versatile syrup can be used to flavour many non-alcoholic cocktails!

Total preparation time

Half an hour of creation
12 to 24 hours to chill in fridge

Produces

550mL of Orgeat

Ingredients

200g blanched almonds
200g refined white sugar
200mL water
1 tsp rosewater
1 tsp orange flower water
0.5 tsp almond extract

Directions

1. Toast almonds in a single layer on a shallow pan at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 mins or until golden brown. Check every 5 minutes to ensure that the nuts do not burn (note: when using slivered or powdered almond, drop cooking time by half or three-quarters).

2. Remove from oven when browned and let sit to cool. 

3. Combine 200g of sugar and 200mL water in a blender, mix until sugar is dissolved.

4. Add toasted almonds and blend on high until the mixture is thick and smooth.

5. Let mixture sit in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours, this allows the browned oils from the nuts to permeate through the the sugar/water solution.

6. Strain the almond mixture through a fine sieve or nut milk bag. Multiple passes may be necessary to remove most of the solids, but don't worry if some sediment remains.

7. Congratulations, you've made sweetened, toasted almond milk!

8. This step is what elevates this to orgeat; stir 1tsp each of rosewater and orange flower water into your almond milk. (Optionally, you can also add half a teaspoon of almond extract if you feel that the orgeat could use a nuttier flavour.) Refrigerate the orgeat in a sealed container.

When chilled, it will keep for roughly 1-2 weeks. It may slightly separate when undisturbed, but simply agitate the container to recombine. If the mixture becomes thick and difficult to pour, it has spoiled and should be disposed of. 

There are many ways to serve almond orgeat!

1. Simply combine 2oz (60mL) of orgeat with soda water in a 14oz glass with ice and stir!

2. Try it in your coffee or tea to replace sugar and milk for a wonderfully warm, nutty hug.

3. Pour a splash over ice cream for a flavour boost!

4. Experiment with adding citrus juices, teas and even dairy - orgeat is very easy and fun to work with!  

    Notes

    Almonds are typically expensive, even when buying in bulk. For the price-conscious, cutting the quantities of almond and water by half and using unsweetened almond milk from your grocery store is a viable option! Remember to add a dash of almond extract when using this method, as the store bought almond milk will lack the toasted flavour characteristic of true orgeat.

    The solids left in the sieve after pressing your almond milk can also be used! They still retain sugar and should be a fine enough texture to be combined in to cookie dough, coarse enough to be sprinkled into salads with acidic dressings, or even as a crust for roasting meats to be rolled in. Eliminate waste!