Unnamed Holiday Cocktail

Still working out the kinks on this one. I riffed on a recipe shared online but this was missing something. Going to keep trying with unsweetened cranberry juice next.

Holiday Cocktail
2 oz Cranberry cocktail
1 oz Orgeat
½ oz Vanilla Syrup
¼ oz Ginger Syrup
½ oz Pimento Dram
2 oz Wild Turkey 101 Bourbon
Spash Soda

Holiday Cocktail

Liber & Co. Orgeat

Orgeat month is ending with our last review, the craft brand Liber & Co.

This one came recommended by many Mai Tai fans. I’ve previously had and liked their Passion Fruit Syrup and Blood Orange Cordial, so I was really looking forward to this one. The milky Orgeat stays settled better than some craft Orgeat brands, and imparts a rich mouthfeel to the cocktail.

I made several cocktails with Liber’s Orgeat, including a Saturn and a standard recipe Mai Tai. I also made the Mai Tai according to the recipe on the label.

Liber Mai Tai
1 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
¾ oz Liber & Co. Orgeat
½ oz Orange Curacao
2 oz Rum
I used Ferrand Dry Curacao and Denizen Merchant’s Reserve.

I was surprised and still not sure why, but I liked the ¾ oz Orgeat Mai Tai better than in the standard 1944 Mai Tai recipe. While Liber leans a tad more into the marzipan direction than is my preference, I do think that Liber is a good Orgeat that I can recommend. The silky liquid does a good job standing up to the other ingredients and enhancing the cocktail.

Liber & Co Orgeat Tasting

Greg Brady and a big idol (signed by some guy named Barry Williams) helping me evaluate Liber & Co. Orgeat. Both were a gift from Mrs Mai Tai. Don’t steal it – that’s taboo!

No full review has come out of the Ultimate Mai Tai labs yet, where technicians are working feverishly on applying rigorous tests to another craft Orgeat. Stay tuned.

L’Orgeat

An interesting entrant to our Orgeat tastings this month is L’Orgeat, a shelf-stable almond liqueur. While Amaretto is often substituted for Orgeat syrup in Mai Tais and other cocktails, it isn’t a satisfactory substitute due to its high-ish ABV and a flavor profile that I think overpowers the orange, lime, and rum.

Enter L’Orgeat, an almond liqueur at 20% ABV that is designed to replace Orgeat syrup in cocktails. Their website recommends using ¾ oz of L’Orgeat along with 1 oz of Lime, 2 oz Jamaican Rum, and ¼ oz Curacao. I found this recipe to have an overpowering burnt chocolate taste, and it also wasn’t as sweet as I like it.

Much better was using L’Orgeat at ½ oz alongside the rest of the standard 1944 Mai Tai recipe ingredients. In this case, that nuttiness does add a hint of almonds and richness that can be missing when you use artificial Orgeat syrups like Torani. For those who like an Almond Milk lean in their Orgeat, however, this is pretty far afield from that. Still, I think many will enjoy the flavor profile of L’Orgeat.

Thanks to Sean Buckley for the L’Orgeat sample to try.

Trader Vic’s Orgeat

Orgeat month continues with an orgeat that’s been widely available for some time: Trader Vic’s Orgeat

The Trader Vic’s syrups have had sort of a bad reputation in the past few years amongst cocktail aficionados due to their use of Corn Syrup and preservatives, but this is widely available so I decided to give it a try at home. I purchased my 1 liter bottle for $9 at BevMo and the Trader Vic’s products are also available online.

In a Mai Tai made with Denizen Merchant’s Reserve Rum and Ferrand Dry Curacao, the Trader Vic’s Orgeat adds a hint of almond and little bit of silkiness to the mouthfeel. I am not sure it adds a lot of the cocktail but at least it doesn’t introduce any objectionable flavors to the cocktail or have any unpleasant aftertaste.

So, it budget is an issue I think the Trader Vic’s is a better option than comparable mainstream orgeat brands like Torani.

Orgeat Shootout

I’m always ready to give a new Orgeat a try. I’ve been on the record recommending the Latitude 29 Orgeat for some time, and in the past I’ve also liked BG Reynolds. This time I’m comparing Latitude 29 to the craft brand Liquid Alchemist and the mainstream brand Torani. The Mai Tais were made according to the 1944 recipe with Denizen Merchants Reserve rum.

Liquid Alchemist
I really liked their Coconut Syrup, so was eager to try the Orgeat. This has a very strong Almond Milk flavor, since that’s the primary ingredient. The Orgeat also contains Sugar, Sea Salt, Santham Gum, and Sunflower Leeithin. I used this in several cocktails and it seemed fine in some cocktails, but for me I don’t love the Almond Milk-forward flavor in the Mai Tai. So this was actually my least favorite of these three, though if you love Almond Milk your milage may vary.

Torani
This is a very mainstream syrup brand, often used for a sweetening coffee. Torani’s Almond/Orgeat Syrup contains Pure Cane Sugar, Water, Natural Flavors, Citric Acid, Acacia Gum, Ester Gum, and preservatives. It has a sweet almond flavor, and while it’s nice to not see Corn Syrup there’s also no real almond either. The Mai Tai had a nice sweet flavor but definitely a with an artificial aftertaste. I’ve had worse Orgeat before, and Torani is very inexpensive. But we think that spending more on a higher quality Orgeat is worth it.

Latitude 29 Formula Orgeat
Still the reigning champion. Contains Water, Pure Cane Sugar, Almonds, Orange Blossom Water, Rose Water, and Organic Almond Essence. It’s got a wonderful Almond-forward flavor that’s just the right level of sweetness, and my Mai Tai was perfect. You can order this from www.orgeatworks.com.

Congrats to Latitude 29 for their 6th year anniversary of doing business in New Orleans. Loved my visit there a couple years ago. I had a trip to NOLA scrapped this year, but I hope to return soon.

Don’t buy this

New Site Feature: Orgeat

Orgeat is one of the cornerstone ingredients in a Mai Tai, so we’ve added a page that talks about what it is, how it’s used in a Mai Tai, how to make your own, or the best brands to purchase.

View the page: Orgeat

BG Reynolds Orgeat and Latitude 29 Formula Orgeat