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Orgeat is an almond syrup that is a staple in any tiki bar. These days, you’ll probably find it in plenty of bars that don’t specialize in tiki drinks, too. You can make a very tasty version at home easily using unsweetened almond milk and we do so on a regular basis. Commercial brands lock you in to a specific flavor profile – even if it’s a good one – and making your own allows you to tweak the flavor to your exact specifications.
In this case, we did a little more than “tweak” the flavor of our DIY orgeat. We turned it from an almond syrup into a coconut one. Our Coconut Orgeat starts with unsweetened coconut milk, which is sweetened and lightly flavored with almond extract. Adding sugar to unsweetened coconut milk, rather than using pre-sweetened milk, allows you to control the sweetness of the finished syrup each and every time you make it. It also allows the natural coconut flavor of the milk to come through. If you want an extra dose of coconut, add in a small amount of coconut extract. A few drops of orange flower water will capture the floral notes of traditional orgeat, but it’s not essential in this recipe. We prefer to add it in as a variation, not as a standard ingredient.
The syrup will keep for 5-7 days in the refrigerator if it is kept in an airtight container. The recipe makes a relatively small batch, so feel free to double it if you know that you’re going to be making cocktails for a coconut-loving crowd.
Coconut Milk Orgeat
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
6 1/2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1/4 tsp coconut extract (optional, but recommended)
3-4 drops orange flower water (optional)
In a small saucepan, combine coconut milk and sugar. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in almond extract, coconut extract and orange flower water (if using).
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Makes about 1 cup.