What is Orgeat and How is it Used in Cocktails?

June 27, 2023 by

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If you love tropical drinks, you’ve likely encountered a few orgeat cocktails. The allure of this intriguing ingredient has been strong since at least the 1700s, and even before then when a similar version gained popularity in the discerning Middle East.  

But what exactly is orgeat, and how does it elevate mixology to new heights? Join us as we unravel the secrets of this tantalizing ingredient, explore its rich history, learn how to make it at home, and uncover some captivating cocktail creations that will leave you craving more.   

What is orgeat?

Homemade orgeat syrup made with almond on a grey cloth

Orgeat is a versatile syrup often used as an ingredient in various cocktails and beverages. It is traditionally made from almonds, sugar, and orange flower water, creating a sweet, nutty, and slightly floral flavor profile. Orgeat syrup adds depth, complexity, and a touch of elegance to many popular mixed drinks. 

The rich history of orgeat can be traced back to the Middle East, where it was originally made from barley and used as a popular beverage ingredient. Over time, the recipe evolved, and almonds became the primary ingredient, giving it the distinct flavor it is known for today. The name “orgeat” itself is derived from the French word “orge“, meaning barley. 

What orgeat is used for in cocktails & mixology

Tasty Falernum cocktails for Tiki drink lovers

Orgeat plays a significant role in mixology, particularly in the realm of classic and tropical cocktails. Its unique flavor and versatility make it a staple ingredient in many renowned drinks.  

Its nutty and floral notes complement the tropical flavors of rum, fruit juices, and other ingredients commonly found in these exotic libations. Additionally, orgeat can be a delightful addition to non-alcoholic beverages, mocktails, and even desserts, showcasing its versatility beyond the realm of mixology. 

How to make orgeat syrup at home

Simple syrup poured into a drink

Not sure where to find orgeat syrup? No problem. Making your own cocktail syrup at home is quite simple and allows you to customize the flavor to your liking while ensuring a fresh, high-quality product.  

Here’s our simple recipe and some nifty tips and tricks: 


  • 1 cup Almonds (blanched or raw) 
  • 2 cups Water 
  • 2 cups Granulated sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon Orange flower water 


  1. Start by blanching the almonds, if they are not already blanched. To do this, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the almonds. Boil them for about a minute, then drain and rinse them with cold water. Pat dry and remove the skins by gently pressing on each almond. 
  2. Once the almonds are blanched, place them in a blender or food processor and pulse until finely ground. You want a coarse powder, but be careful not to over-process, as this can release oils and turn the mixture into almond butter. 
  3. In a saucepan, combine the almond powder and water. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Allow it to simmer for about 15 minutes, infusing the liquid with almond flavor. 
  4. Next, remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool to room temperature. Strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth into a clean container, extracting as much liquid as possible. 
  5. Return the strained liquid to the saucepan and add the sugar. Place the saucepan back on the stove over low heat, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.  
  6. Once the sugar has dissolved, remove the saucepan from the heat and let it cool. Then, stir in the orange flower water to add a delicate floral aroma to your orgeat syrup. 
  7. Once cooled, pour the orgeat syrup into a clean, airtight bottle or container. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. 

Tips & tricks for making orgeat syrup

  • For enhanced flavor, you can toast the almonds lightly before grinding them. Toasting adds a subtle nuttiness to the syrup. 
  • If you prefer a smoother texture, you can strain the mixture a second time through a fine cheesecloth or coffee filter. 
  • Orange flower water can be found in specialty food stores or online. You can substitute a few drops of orange extract if unavailable, although the flavor may differ slightly. 

More syrups to try: Brown Sugar Syrup Recipe | Honey Syrup Recipe  

Our favorite orgeat cocktails

Now that you’re ready to embark on your homemade orgeat syrup adventure, you can enjoy experimenting with this delightful ingredient in various cocktails. Here are a few of our favorites to try:  

1. Mai Tai

Refreshing boozy Mai Tai cocktail on the rocks with cherry and pineapple garnish

One of the most famous cocktails featuring orgeat is the cheeky Mai Tai, a time-honored tropical Tiki drink that blends Appleton Estate Rum, lime juice, Grand Marnier, and orgeat syrup. This combination creates a complex and refreshing beverage that has become a timeless favorite. 

2. Saturn

Barman garnishing tiki cocktail

The intensely layered Saturn cocktail combines Bulldog Gin, lemon juice, passion fruit syrup, orgeat, falernum, and crushed ice. Cocktails with falernum and orgeat really bring other fruity flavors in these drinks to life, so we highly recommend you try at least one. 

Learn more: Caribbean Inspiration: 10 Falernum Cocktails to Try 

3. Trinidad Sour

Close up of a red-hued Trininad Sour Cocktail againt a dark grey backdrop

The Trinidad Sour cocktail is a unique and bold cocktail known for its intense and complex flavor profile, underpinned by strong bitterness and herbal and spicy notes, all rounded off with a sweet kiss of orgeat. To make it, combine 1.5 oz bitters, 0.5 oz Wild Turkey Rye, 1 oz orgeat syrup, and 0.75 oz fresh lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake it well, and fine strain it into a chilled glass. 

Read next: 22 Sour Cocktail Recipes to Add to Your DIY Drinks Repertoire


Orgeat syrup is typically made from a combination of almonds, sugar, and orange flower water. The almonds provide a nutty flavor, while the sugar adds sweetness, and the orange flower water contributes a subtle floral aroma. These ingredients are blended to create a delightful and versatile syrup that enhances the flavor of cocktails and beverages.

Orgeat syrup boasts a unique flavor profile that combines elements of sweetness, nuttiness, and a hint of floral notes. The almonds provide a distinct nutty taste, while the sugar adds sweetness to balance the flavors. The orange flower water contributes a delicate floral essence, which complements the overall flavor profile. The combination of these flavors creates a harmonious and enticing taste that adds depth and complexity to cocktails and other beverages.

If you don't have orgeat syrup on hand, there are a few alternatives you can consider. A suitable substitute for orgeat syrup can be almond syrup or almond extract mixed with simple syrup. Almond syrup will provide a similar nutty flavor, while almond extract mixed with simple syrup can mimic the sweet and nutty profile of orgeat. However, it's important to note that these substitutes may not replicate the exact flavor profile of orgeat syrup, so adjustments may be needed to achieve the desired taste.

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