After making dozens of recipes. and taking days in some cases to make orgeat from scratch, I came up with the following recipe. I now use it in several bars I work with. Here's the small batch recipe.
8 oz. (1 cup) Silk brand Almond Milk
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 oz. Almond Extract
1/2 oz. Orange Blossom Water
Combine ingredients and shake well. Will keep several weeks refrigerated.
Depending upon the almond extract you may want to use a bit more. (Actually they are bitter almond extracts.)
Using the above recipe seems to have a fresher taste than commercial orgeat. All the bar staff I have been training liked it better than all of the other commercial ones. Some we tasted were BG Reynolds, Fee's, Torani, Teisseire, Amoretti, Small Hands, and another 1-2 that I can't remember.
Also they liked it better than several of the more traditional recipes, using both blanched and unblanched almonds.
Thanks for sharing! I made your recipe a few days ago. I used the Trader Joe's "fresh" almond milk (http://traderjoes.com/fearless-flyer/...), as I already had some in the fridge. I'm not sure how it compares with the Silk brand.
First impressions, as I was making it, was that it wasn't nearly syrupy enough, so I doubled the sugar. I was much happier after that, but it is perhaps still not enough (see below). The syrup is quite tasty, with maybe just a touch too much orange flower water in the formula. I've tried it in three drinks so far:
A) A nonalcoholic cocktail I make for my daughter, involving 1 part orgeat, 5 parts water, and a few dashes of bitters (well, nonalcoholic enough). This worked reasonably well, although she noticed right away that the flavor wasn't as concentrated as usual (usual == Routin 1883 dosed with some orange flower water).
B) Orgeat Punch, using a slightly different ratio than usual (1.5oz brandy, 1oz orgeat, 1/2oz lemon juice, soda water, float 1/2oz sweet vermouth). These were excellent drinks.
C) Mai Tai, which I make using 2oz rum, 1/2oz orgeat, 1/2oz Curacao (Ferrand), and 1oz lime, plus a dash of Angostura (I'm not a purist!). This drink was unbearably acidic until I boosted the orgeat to 1oz, and even then I felt like adding another 1/4oz just to smooth it out a bit more.
Bottom line: I think this formula produces a very nice tasting orgeat but the sugar content is way too low if you're trying to use it in place of commercial products. Is the Silk almond milk sweetened?
I definitely plan to play with this some more and hopefully stop buying the commercial stuff. This is way too easy.
I wonder whether reducing some of the almond milk on the stove would have a good effect to help increase viscosity and flavor?
I think all the commercial products are way too sweet and I made my orgeat taking this into account. Especially since in tiki drinks you may have several syrups in one recipe. I did add some gomme syrup, plain, no sugar gomme, just gum arabica and water, simmered. This brought up the viscosity and mouthfeel, but like in all cases where you use gomme, it can dumb down the drink, taming it too much.
Orange Blossom water can be changed to suit ones preferences.
If you need to boost the almond flavor add more almond extract. I use Penzeys, which is quite strong, and good. McCormick is much less potent in comparison.
With flavored syrups too much sugar is obviously an issue but on the flip side not enough sugar means that you have to add more syrup to achieve the desired effect. In the case of the Mai Tai adding a full ounce of the orgeat balanced things in terms of sugar/acid but the drink was way too floral. Of course, I could have gone back to the rock candy syrup usually called for in the drink... Lots of options.
Natural orgeat is more subtle. Most orgeats (save for BG Reynolds, Small Hands Foods, and a few others) are nothing more than water, sugar/corn syrup, artificial color, sodium benzoate as a preservative, and almond extract, but they are rather potent from that bottled extract (not sure if it is artificial or a purified derivative of something coming from almonds).
Compare yours to other orgeats made from whole almonds before you judge.