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May 21, 2013 11:18 AM

Best bottled orgeat?

I know, I should just make it, but I don't have the time right now. What brand would you buy to have around as a house orgeat for Mai Tais and other tiki drinks? Not something I drink regularly, but I'd like to have the option and I'm the kind of cocktail drinker that believes that if you're going to have a cocktail, you should use the good stuff. Bonus points if it's available from Amazon.

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  1. On Amazon: Go for Monin. Pour some out and replace with a splash of orange flower water, for a bit of depth.

    Off Amazon:
    - I use Routin 1883, which I treat the same way as described for the Monin.
    - Many people like the Blair Reynolds product but I find it a bit too roasty tasting. (He includes the skins of the almonds.)
    - I've heard great things about Small Hand Foods's product but it's ridiculously expensive thanks to shipping being more than the price of the bottle on the one web site that sells it.

    Edit: Looks like Routin 1883 and B.G. Reynolds are both now available on Amazon...

    ... so the only holdout is Small Hand Foods. Oh well.

    1 Reply
    1. re: davis_sq_pro

      I only have Torani (too sugary!) as a basis, but I like Monin. I also like that I can buy it locally when whimsy strikes.

    2. Personally I don't think much of Torani. Sort of artificial tasting and way too sweet and syrupy.

      As DSP says, some folks like Blairs, others feel it doesn't have a clean almond flavor because of the skins.

      Has anyone tried Premiere Essence? Trader Vic's? Or Fee's Brothers? Teisseire? Amoretti?

      I'm working on trying to come up with a fast and easy orgeat recipe. When I do I'll post it.

      9 Replies
      1. re: JMF

        In addition to those listed I've tried Vic's, Fee's, and Tesseire, plus Ferrara:

        - Vic's and Fee's are both incredibly artificial tasting. (And are, in fact, incredibly artificial.)

        - Tesseire is a higher quality syrup but is very mild, slightly watery, and extremely pricey.

        - Ferrara has decent flavor but includes a preservative, which I'd rather avoid.

        Where do you get Premiere Essence? I'm having trouble finding a source via Google.

        1. re: davis_sq_pro

          Have no clue about the Premiere Essence. Jeff Berry recommended it. I'll ask him where he gets it. If it's even still available.

          1. re: davis_sq_pro

            Agree on Fee; I use it for kid's drinks because it's cheap. it tastes like amaretto / almond extract.

            I love the BG Reynold's product. I don't really mind the brown solids, but I can see the objection to some. Toasty is nice, IMO, but I'm not a Tiki purist.

            Check out The Boston Shaker for a nice selection:

            I noticed that BG Reynolds now has smaller bottles, which I like since it is hard for me to go through a big bottle without worrying about spoilage (even with refrigeration, there is a limit).


            1. re: EvergreenDan

              I have a bottle of the BG cinnamon syrup (which is awesome, by the way), that I've been working on for maybe 18 months now. Still perfectly fine -- I just used some a few nights ago.

              Perhaps cinnamon is antibacterial? I had a bottle of the Small Hand pineapple gomme and it grew some weird fuzzy balls after just a couple of weeks in the fridge.

              1. re: davis_sq_pro

                I have definitely had BG Reynolds syrups go bad with fuzzies/mold and now I add 1 oz of 80 proof vodka (or 1/2 oz 190 proof grain neutral) after opening to preserve it.

                Some fuzzies (often the brown ones) are just organic matter crashing out which has happened with my Small Hands Gomme (in an unopened bottle). The white fuzzies are generally mold.


              2. re: EvergreenDan

                +1 on the BG Reynolds. Every summer recently there seems to be one cocktail that the summer becomes, obviously among other things, the summer of that particular cocktail, and last summer it was Mai Tais, Without any critical context, I can only say that BG Reynolds saw me through.

            2. re: JMF

              the recipe on serious eats is pretty easy and is tasty.

              1. re: linus

                I wonder, for the ultra-lazy (read: me) whether boiling down commercial almond milk would work?

                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                  People have definitely tried the almond milk route before, although I don't think boiling is necessary. Most people don't seem to like either the idea or the result, but I did happen across one blogger/author who is big on it.

                  You can check out his recipe here:

            3. I'm fond of Da Vinci's Natural Almond Syrup.

              1. BG Reynolds and Small Hands Foods actually make it from almonds. Some people don't like that since they've gotten so used to the sugar, water, almond extract, artificial color, and preservative versions.

                Unfortunately, the natural stuff is more subtle and more easily lost in cocktails as well as more expensive.

                For the extract route, I prefer Ferrara Orzata for it is made with sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup.


                1 Reply
                1. re: yarm

                  All of the French brands mentioned on this thread are also made with cane sugar -- and none of them, IIRC, have the preservative (potassium sorbate?) present in the Ferrara.

                2. +1 for small hand foods - it is the best money can buy IMO