Are you looking for orgeat syrup or liqueur to make your favorite cocktails? Unfortunately, they can be a little challenging to find. But don't worry, we've got you covered!
In this blog post, we'll discuss some easy orgeat substitutes you can make yourself or brands to replace orgeat syrup altogether.
So, whether you're just looking for a quick fix or want to make your own orgeat liqueur, we have a solution for you. Let’s dive in!
What Is Orgeat?
Orgeat is a syrup or liqueur that comes from the French word "orge," which means barley. It was initially made from grains, but now it’s typically derived from almonds (sometimes other nuts) and orange flower water. There are two common ways to make it:
- Steep finely chopped nuts in simple syrup.
- Make a syrup by adding sugar to a premade nut milk.
Both homemade ways to make orgeat require cooking it low and slow until the flavors combine and reduce. Orgeat’s consistency is slightly dense, and it has a beige color. However, the color can vary depending on the nut and spice blend used.
Brands and bartenders who make their orgeat may add spices like cinnamon, clove, or vanilla. Others may swap out the orange blossom water for rose water. And while it is commonly made from an almond base, creative orgeat makers may utilize other nuts such as hazelnuts or macadamia nuts. Orgeat is highly versatile and a great addition to your bar cart essentials list.
What Can I Substitute For Orgeat?
Orgeat syrup is typically made from almonds, which is great to keep in mind when searching for a substitute. You can try making your own orgeat or almond syrup, or you can use ready-made substitutes such as Amaretto liqueur or creme d’amade. While some substitutes may alter the intended initially flavor of whatever cocktail you’re using it for, you can simply chalk it up as your take on a classic. Or, in mixology speak, you’ve created a “riff” on a classic.
Whether you opt for a premade orgeat substitute or make your own at home, there are several options more accessible than you may realize.
Orgeat Substitutes: Brands & DIY Recipes To Try
If you’re having trouble tracking down orgeat or need some inspiration for where to start, you’ve come to the right place. The best orgeat substitutes can save you time and money while boosting the flavors of cocktails you and your friends are sure to love.
Let’s look at a few of the top suggestions when searching for the best orgeat substitutes.
DIY Orgeat Recipe
If you’ve been searching for a premade orgeat syrup or liqueur but can’t seem to track one down, it may be time to consider making your own. While it may sound daunting, the process can be straightforward if you want it to be, even if it takes a bit of time to make. The plus side? You probably already have most of the ingredients at home, and making it yourself will be cost-effective.
- 2 cups blanched almonds
- 5 cups sugar
- 25 cups water
- 1oz brandy
- 5tsp orange flower water
Pulse the almonds in a food processor and set them aside. Then, combine the sugar and water in a pot over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves completely. Let the syrup boil for approximately three minutes. Next, add in your finely ground almonds.
Turn the heat low and simmer the mixture for another three minutes. After three minutes, increase the temperature. As soon as it reaches a boil, remove it from heat and tightly cover it with a lid.
Next, let the mix sit for 3-8 hours to infuse. After time has passed, strain it through two layers of cheesecloth. Discard the remaining pieces of ground almonds. Once you’ve fully strained the mixture, stir in brandy and orange flower water until thoroughly combined. Transfer the syrup into a bottle or jar, seal it, and store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Best Premade Orgeat Substitute Brands
With orgeat seeing another rise in popularity, many brands create ready-made syrups and liqueurs. Some may be difficult to find at your local liquor store, but most can be ordered online if you don’t need it in a pinch. Check out a few of the most popular brands below.
Giffard Orgeat Syrup
Giffard’s Orgeat Syrup comes from France. It has a strong almond aroma, is milky grey in color, and rich in sweetness. According to Difford’s Guide, it is one of the best pre-made orgeat syrups available today.
Fabbri Orzata Orgeat Mixybar Syrup
The Fabbri Orzata Orgeat Syrup comes from Italy. Like Giffard’s version, it is milky grey with aromas of marzipan and toasted almond. It is quite sweet with a much more concentrated flavor than other available orgeat substitutes.
Monin Orgeat Syrup
Another product of France, Monin’s Orgeat Syrup, has a strong biscotti and almond cake aroma. The brand does not use artificial ingredients when making this orgeat substitute, and the overall flavor is well-balanced when it comes to the sweetness level.
Other Orgeat Substitute Ideas
If you don’t have time to make your orgeat and don’t want to buy a pre-made version, there are other substitutes to consider. However, these are the options that won’t produce the same flavors found in orgeat but will give the nod to its general nuttiness:
- Amaretto liqueurs: it is an Italian liqueur with a bitter almond flavor but made from apricots.
- Creme de Noyaux: an almond-flavored creme liqueur.
- Falernum: a Caribbean mixer with a slight nuttiness amongst its lime and spice flavors.
- Almond extract is an acceptable orgeat substitute if added to simple syrup to make a quick-fix almond syrup.
What Cocktails Use Orgeat?
Orgeat has been used for many years to make cocktails such as mai tais and hurricanes. The nutty flavors of orgeat are synonymous with tiki cocktails. Still, it is also an essential ingredient in several classic cocktails you may not know about, such as the Army & Navy, the Japanese Cocktail, and the Cameron’s Kick.
Nowadays, orgeat often takes center stage in many mixology drinks crafted across the globe. But for now, let’s take a quick look at a few timeless libations inspiring the need for orgeat substitutes today.
The mai tai is a classic cocktail that uses orgeat as one of its main ingredients. This drink was created in the early 20th century and comes from the Tahitian word "maita'i," which means good. The original recipe for this cocktail includes rum, lime juice, orgeat syrup, and curaçao liqueur. One could argue that the Mai Tai is the drink that skyrocketed orgeat into popularity. And while it can certainly be enjoyed any time of year, it’s a go-to favorite for many people looking for a refreshing summer tipple.
Mai Tai Cocktail Recipe
- 5oz white rum
- 5oz dark rum
- 75oz orange curacao
- 75oz lime juice
- 5oz orgeat
- Lime and mint sprig garnish
Add all ingredients (except dark rum and garnishes) into a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake—strain into a hurricane or tiki glass. Float the dark rum on top of the cocktail and garnish it with a sprig of mint and a lime wheel.
The hurricane cocktail is a staple cocktail that packs in refreshing flavors of fruit and sweeteners. While it’s an excellent option for a potent rum punch, it also makes for a perfect summer mocktail sans rum. It was invented in the 1940s at a New Orleans establishment called Pat O’Brien’s as an experimental cocktail to use up a surplus of rum.
The original recipe calls for two styles of rum, lime juice, orange juice, passion fruit puree, simple syrup, and grenadine. Nowadays, many are adding in orgeat for an exciting twist of flavor. Use the following recipe to jazz up your hurricane cocktail using orgeat syrup.
Hurricane Cocktail Recipe
- 1oz white rum
- 1oz dark rum
- 1oz orange juice
- 75oz pineapple juice
- 5oz orgeat syrup
- 5oz grenadine
- Orange slice and cherry garnish
Combine all the ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake. Strain into a glass over fresh ice and garnish with a slice of orange and a cherry.
Army & Navy
The Army & Navy cocktail is a classic you may not know about, but if you’re looking for an easy gin drink to make at home, you must give it a try. It first appeared in David Embury’s The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks in 1948. The light, citrus, refreshing flavors make it a fantastic option for all gin lovers to enjoy. Check out the recipe below!
Army & Navy Cocktail Recipe
- 2oz gin
- 75oz lemon juice
- 75oz orgeat syrup
- 2 dashes of Angostura bitters
- Lemon twist garnish
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, add ice, and shake. Strain into a glass without ice. Garnish with a twist of lemon.
The “Professor” of cocktails, Jerry Thomas, created the Japanese Cocktail and published it in his famous 1862 guide titled “How to Mix Drinks or The Bon-Vivant’s Companion.” It uniquely combines cognac, orgeat, and angostura for a stirred libation that is easy to make.
- 5oz cognac
- 5oz orgeat
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- Lemon twist garnish
Add all ingredients into a mixing glass, add ice, and stir for 20-30 seconds—strain into a chilled martini or coupe glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon.
Now that you know the Japanese Cocktail and the Mai Tai meet the interesting halfway point of the two found in the Cameron’s Kick cocktail.
The drink originated in Harry MacElhone’s cocktail guide, ABC of Mixing Cocktails, and later in Harry Craddock’s famous 1930 publication, The Savoy Cocktail Book. Thanks to cocktail historian David Wondrich, who published the recipe in his 2005 book, Killer Cocktails, the libation appeared on cocktail menus across New York City. Another forgotten classic brought back to life thanks to the modern-day Cocktail Renaissance. This particular drink’s rise to popularity is unique as it is a rare mixology favorite highlighting Irish whiskey.
If you’re searching for an easy whiskey drink to make at home, Cameron’s Kick is one you must try.
Cameron’s Kick Cocktail Recipe
- 1oz scotch
- 1oz Irish whiskey
- 75 lemon juice
- 75 orgeat
- Lemon twist garnish
Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake. Strain into a martini or coupe glass and garnish with a twist of lemon.
Orgeat Substitutes For Cocktail-Making
Now that you know where to find or create your own orgeat syrup, you can start whipping up delicious libations for yourself and those around you. Grab your spirits, cocktail bitters, fresh juices, and bar tools to start impressing with orgeat cocktails today!
If you’re looking for a more straightforward way to impress your guests with the freshest ingredients, check out Mixly’s mixers today. Grab your orgeat substitute and sub in a Mixly mixer to start crafting unique, easy-to-make variations on the orgeat cocktails above. Cheers to happy mixing!