One of my favorite spots in the city is this restaurant called Nellcóte. They have an ever evolving, seasonal menu that is always delicious. Try it sometime. You won’t be disappointed. Delicious food and unbelievable drinks. In fact, they have one of the best cocktails I’ve ever tasted. Aptly named “The Vodka,” it is super light and refreshing but unlike anything I’ve ever had. Needless to say, I had to find the recipe for myself.
After I discovered the recipe I found out that the main ingredient was something called Orgeat (pronounced “or-zsa” like Zsa Zsa Gabor). Orgeat was originally used in Mai Tai’s, and is now used as an almond syrup in coffee drinks and cocktails.
I called around and was unable to find it anywhere in the city. So I decided to just make it. It is actually really simple as long as you can find Orange Blossom Water (or orange flower water). I found mine at Whole Foods by the extracts and spices.
It turned out great. I altered the recipe I found a bit by adding a little less of the orange water and vodka, you can add more to taste if you would like!
I think this is a great summertime cocktail. We typically drink Moscow Mule’s a lot in the summer so this will be a fun way to mix things up a bit!
Recipe: Orgeat Syrup
2 Cups Raw Almonds, Sliced or Chopped
1 1/2 Cups Sugar
1 1/4 Cups Water
1/2 Teaspoon Orange Flower Water (orange blossom water)
1 Tablespoon Vodka
Toast almonds in a 400 degree oven for about 4 minutes, shaking or stirring almonds after 2 minutes.
Remove from oven and pulverize in a food processor until finely chopped.
In a medium saucepan, cook sugar and water on medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the edges begin to boil, about 3 minutes stirring constantly.
Add almonds after 3 minutes and simmer on low heat, until the mixture is about to boil again. Remove from the heat at this point, cover and let sit for at least 3 hours, but no longer than 12. (I left mine for 4 and was happy with the result).
After you have let the almonds steep, strain mixture through 3 layers of cheese cloth into a bowl, squeezing the cloth as you go.
Add orange flower water and vodka to strained syrup, stir and funnel into a glass jar.
Recipe: Orgeat Cocktail
1 Shot/1-2 Ounces Vodka
1-2 Tablespoons Orgeat (do 1 to start and add more to taste)
Squeeze of 1-2 lime wedges
2 mint leaves, finely diced
4-5 ounces Soda Water (more or less to taste)
Fill a shaker (optional) with vodka, orgeat, lime mint and half of soda water and shake vigorously with plenty of ice.
Pour out into glass filled with ice and fill remainder with soda water. Garnish with a lime wedge and more mint and serve with a straw!
Add to your favorite cocktail (gin, vodka, whiskey, etc), water or tea with a bit of lemon, lime or mint for a refreshing summer drink. You can also drizzle over ice cream, add to your favorite pie and dessert recipes as well as coffee.
Should keep for up to a month in the refrigerator.
NOTES: You can use either blanched OR leave the skins on the almonds. I used the skins and had a darker color to my Orgeat. If you use blanched you will end up with a lighter pink/orange color.