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Home brew orgeat
Scottes
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 18, 2007
Posts: 490
From: A Little North Of Boston
Posted: 2007-10-03 6:43 pm   Permalink

JOE! Dump The Fee's!

The first time I made Orgeat I compared it against the Fee's. The Fee's sucked. My Orgeat is nowhere near as good as my next batch will be now that I know about several more mistakes I've made, and still the Fee's sucked. Dude, it burned the back of my throat! Ack! I dumped it, all 735ml that I had left out of the original 750.

Obviously, now I know that I *will* be bringing a bottle of the home-made to your house. And I think there's a good chance that you will dump your Fee's.


As to the dedication and precision... Well, I know that The Gnomon and I agree that our intention here is to make your life better, along with anyone else who reads this drivel.


And that reminds me about one thing I should have explained earlier. I have *never* had good orgeat. All I have ever had was the Fee's. So my pursuit of "perfect" orgeat is a quest to understand what it's supposed to taste like. So far I have made 3 or 4 batches, and have screwed up every one, primarily because I cooked it by boiling it in an attempt to reduce every batch in order to get the strongest almond taste.


OCD... I don't think Tiki is supposed to be compulsive or obsessive. I have always thought of it as being extremely laid back and comfortable.

However, when it comes to tiki cocktails that's thrown out the window for some of us. A perfect Mai Tai is relaxing. An imperfect Mai Tai makes me want a perfect Mai Tai so I can relax...


Almond Mash... Yes, I definitely think you can go too fine. Ideally I think that every single almond particle would be slightly too big to fit through a fine filter. Yeah, perfect.


Drying and milking... Given that the almond oil doesn't evaporate I think that washing and drying them as quickly as possible is key. Save all the oil in the almond. For instance I think that "soaking them for no more than 30 minutes" (para-phrasing somebody in this thread) is not ideal. Rinse them quickly, dry them quickly, keep all the oil in the almond. If the rinse starts the milking process then stop it as soon as possible to allow maximum control and oil extraction. That's my theory.

Dang. Now I have to test that theory one of these days. I'm going to go make a near-pefect Mai Tai...



PS: Joe!! Dump the Fee's!!!
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Scottes
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 18, 2007
Posts: 490
From: A Little North Of Boston
Posted: 2007-10-03 6:45 pm   Permalink

Spelling... Firefox 2.0 or later has a built-in spell-checker. It will highlight words you mispell - like that one. Misspell - that one's OK.
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The Gnomon
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 01, 2007
Posts: 1289
From: MD-DC-VA
Posted: 2007-10-04 07:35 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-10-03 18:43, Scottes wrote:
OCD... I don't think Tiki is supposed to be compulsive or obsessive. I have always thought of it as being extremely laid back and comfortable.



Think of obsession and compulsion like a human body plumetting through the air toward the ground. If the action is one of having jumped off the roof of a ten story building, that's a disorder. If it is having exited an aircraft at 14,000 feet with a few buddies to enjoy an exhillerating free fall, that's not a disorder (OK, maybe it is ).

In both cases the body accelerates toward terminal velocity. In the first case, the ground terminates the velocity. In the other, in about 12 seconds you all settle in at an Earthbound 120 mph and for a minute seem to float suspended in air, chillin' with just about the best panoramic vista you can get without an oxygen mask. Then you get to pop your canopy and enjoy the glide on down to terra firma.

Hmmmm. I might be reaching a bit to defend my position. But you have to admit, I do go out of my way to have a nice view.

Quote:
Almond Mash... Yes, I definitely think you can go too fine. Ideally I think that every single almond particle would be slightly too big to fit through a fine filter. Yeah, perfect.



I guess that means you're not going to try the almond butter experiment with your food processor.

Quote:
Drying and milking... Given that the almond oil doesn't evaporate I think that washing and drying them as quickly as possible is key. Save all the oil in the almond. For instance I think that "soaking them for no more than 30 minutes" (para-phrasing somebody in this thread) is not ideal. Rinse them quickly, dry them quickly, keep all the oil in the almond. If the rinse starts the milking process then stop it as soon as possible to allow maximum control and oil extraction. That's my theory.



Yeah. The 30 minutes thing is from traditional recipes. If you exceed it, you'll see that you're wasting milk. The pre-milk bath is also supposed to get the milking process to start working up its head of steam. If you stop that, my experience is that you cause the almond surfaces to kinda "heal" up and not deliver as well. But as my economy surgeon always says to me when he's finished playing around with my insides, "suture yourself."


PS: Joe!! Dump the Fee's!!!



 
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leisure master
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2007
Posts: 435
From: The exotic village, NYC
Posted: 2007-10-04 08:32 am   Permalink


OK OK...I want to dump the Fee's, but I just don't have the time (and probably the ability to be honest) to make my own orgeat. I can barely make toast. Plus the fact that the kitchen in my apartment is smaller than your average closet makes it tough to get it together.

Maybe once I taste this stuff I will have to keep it coming...thanks for bringing some if you can Scott.

Out of curiosity, how long does the fresh stuff last? Your answer is probably "one day" because it is consumed that quickly. But seriously, does this stuff have any kind of shelf (or fridge) life?

I am glad you both took my message the way I intended. I am truly impressed with your quest for excellence!

PS - magnetic north, 7pm, left eye.
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The Gnomon
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 01, 2007
Posts: 1289
From: MD-DC-VA
Posted: 2007-10-04 09:58 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-10-04 08:32, leisure master wrote:

OK OK...I want to dump the Fee's, but I just don't have the time (and probably the ability to be honest) to make my own orgeat. I can barely make toast. Plus the fact that the kitchen in my apartment is smaller than your average closet makes it tough to get it together.

Maybe once I taste this stuff I will have to keep it coming...thanks for bringing some if you can Scott.



I suggest you try the Emergency Orgeat route. I use that a lot myself. I'm out of the real stuff and I prefer to wait until I have the time to do it right before making any batch that involves chopping up blanched almonds.

Quote:
Out of curiosity, how long does the fresh stuff last? Your answer is probably "one day" because it is consumed that quickly. But seriously, does this stuff have any kind of shelf (or fridge) life?



The Emergency stuff lasts longer onnacounta the almond milk in the carton has ingredients with chemical names (aka preservatives). That combined with the rum gives it considerable room temperature longevity.

The fresh stuff, OTOH, has no preservatives other than the rum, so it can do alright at room temperature for a while, especially, out of the sun in a cabinet. I have not tested how long it lasts, but such a test could be made with a horribly botched batch that won't otherwise be used.

Over Thanksgiving I made a botched batch which resulted in excessive layering. I bottled it but was too lazy to extract the orgeat out from between the thick sediment at the bottom and the thick froth at the top. So I left it alone and just kept making Emergency for a while. I think it was February or March when I finally did anything with them. They looked like they had curdled or something. When I popped the stoppers it was obvious that they had turned. I didn't check to see if that was a good thing (delicacy of some sort) but just poured them down the drain. To get your answer I'd have to wait until I ruined another batch (which good be quite a wait) and then use the batch to divide into lots of test samples.

Refrigeration will extend its longevity, but I prefer mine at room temperature. Fortunately, as you mentioned, I use it up long before it can spoil.

Quote:
I am glad you both took my message the way I intended. I am truly impressed with your quest for excellence!



Thanks for sayin' so, but I'm just lookin' for a hot piece of ass.

Quote:
PS - magnetic north, 7pm, left eye.



Oh, dude! Didn't anyone tell you. She died in a car crash in Honduras.


Lisa "Left Eye" Lopes

Good choice though. She was definitely questworthy.




!@#$%^&* spelling.


[ This Message was edited by: The Gnomon 2007-10-04 10:00 ]


 
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leisure master
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2007
Posts: 435
From: The exotic village, NYC
Posted: 2007-10-05 08:45 am   Permalink

Alright. You guys have sucked me into this madness now.

I have declared a state of emergency for tonight and will try to make the requisite emergency orgeat.

However, I wanted to see if you could provide some more details to make your recipe more fool-proof (and I will be the fool to prove it).

OK, now here is where I start sounding like you two:

In the "First Minute" of the recipe, the ratio of almond milk to sugar is not clear to me - you seem to be using a small blender with a container that is not wider at the top or bottom, while I only have a traditional blender that is much wider at the top than the bottom, so I think it will take a lot more sugar than I need to fill it so the liquid is close to the top.

Do you have a sense of the ratio I should use (like 1 cup sugar for every X ounces of almond milk)? Even a guess would be good because your guess would be MUCH better than my guess.

and remember, this is an emergency.
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The Gnomon
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 01, 2007
Posts: 1289
From: MD-DC-VA
Posted: 2007-10-05 11:13 am   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-10-05 08:45, leisure master wrote:
In the "First Minute" of the recipe, the ratio of almond milk to sugar is not clear to me - you seem to be using a small blender with a container that is not wider at the top or bottom, while I only have a traditional blender that is much wider at the top than the bottom, so I think it will take a lot more sugar than I need to fill it so the liquid is close to the top.

Do you have a sense of the ratio I should use (like 1 cup sugar for every X ounces of almond milk)? Even a guess would be good because your guess would be MUCH better than my guess.



Eyeballing it is good enough, but I wouldn't do that in the odd shaped blender.

In the pic below, you can see the sugar that has settled to the bottom. I poured it through the milk, so it's wet and has turned to its natural color. That is about one-third of the combined volumes of the milk and the sugar.



Keep in mind that the mixture shown also contains the rose and orange flower water and the rum. The ratio shown is a bit sweeter than I like, especially, since I have powerful rock candy syrup on hand. My orgeat doesn't need to be that sweet. The batch shown would have been better had I used a little less sugar.

I think that if you use a 3:1 volume ratio you'll be fine. The ratio used in the photo was more like 2:1. You could, for example, dump one cup of sugar in the blender followed by three cups of almond milk. Total of four cups so far, which is about right for a five cup blender.

Then add several drops of rose water and orange flower water; then about 2 jiggers (3 oz) of rum. Blend for a few seconds, then taste it. There's room in the blender to adjust the sweetness by adding either more sugar or more milk. If you add anything, blend again for a few seconds, then let it sit. Once the froth has all floated to the top, suck it off with a drinking straw.

About the froth. It is slightly chalky but tastes just like the finished orgeat you're trying to remove it from. It is just as sweet, has the same flavors, it's just chalky and cloudy. I mainly send it into the kitchen sink and down the drain, but it's actually OK for drinks, especially, drinks that are not intended to be transparent. So, sometimes I spoon most of the froth off the top and put that into a small container and then vacuum off the rest to tidy up the finished orgeat.

Before you start, have a container to put it in. It will be less than 5 cups (40 oz), so you could re-use two 20 oz plastic water bottles if worse comes to worse. If you don't have one, pick up a cheap funnel in the grocery store cooking equipment section.


 
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leisure master
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 24, 2007
Posts: 435
From: The exotic village, NYC
Posted: 2007-10-05 11:35 am   Permalink

Whew - thanks for the quick reply G. You work well in an emergency.

Nothing to do now but get to it. I will start with the 3:1 ratio and see where it goes from there.

Can't wait to see the look on Nicole's face when she sees me setting up to make something in the kitchen. funny stuff.

Hopefully next report with drink in hand, appropriate savage jungle music on the stereo and ballgame on the tube (hey, every person's tiki paradise is their own).

Yes sir, fresh orgeat for the mai tais, long weekend...good times, good times.

Thanks again.
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The Gnomon
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 01, 2007
Posts: 1289
From: MD-DC-VA
Posted: 2007-10-05 12:50 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2007-10-05 11:35, leisure master wrote:
Can't wait to see the look on Nicole's face when she sees me setting up to make something in the kitchen. funny stuff.



It's just a blender, Dude! Party on!


 
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Scottes
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 18, 2007
Posts: 490
From: A Little North Of Boston
Posted: 2007-10-05 12:57 pm   Permalink

Joe, if it helps, Darcy O'Neill's (The Art Of Drink) recipe calls for 800ml of water and 500g of sugar. So TG's 3:1 is pretty damned close to that, so I'd say it's a go.
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KuKuAhu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 23, 2002
Posts: 567
From: Kahiki, Ohio
Posted: 2007-10-08 08:32 am   Permalink

Well.. I am certainly excited to see where this thread has gone. Lots of great work being done on this subject. Hopefully folks will see that commercial orgeat is truly terrible stuff by comparison to homemade.

One note I'd like to make here:

I don't agree that extracts are a mere attempt at a fix. We must remember that we are trying to create a useful recipe for the home bartender, and the palate that exists within the populace for orgeat is one that has been trained by commercial brands.

So at least for myself, I am looking for a suitable substitute for the store bought junk that uses better ingredients, and approximates the flavor of the popular versions, but without the plastic tones and the corn syrup mouth feel.

If you use an organic extract, coupled with a hint of store bought almond milk, I think you will have the best possible compromise. To milk the ground almonds is a tedious task that most simply will never bother with. And of those who do try it once, most will never bother again.

I question whether the orgeat that Vic used for the Mai Tai was made without almond extract. I would remind everyone that it is possible to go too far back when it comes to cocktails from the tiki era. (see the falernum argument)

So if we are seeking an orgeat that would be true to the kitchen of a circa 1800s french country estate, then our recipe would likely differ from what we seek to recreate from Vic's 1940s bar.

And I found that orgeat was often made from barley as well. It might have been the original version.

It pays to make the pure form from the ground up (pun intended) with almonds.. this gives you the palate and perspective of extremes, but to me it pays to seek the useful balance in between.

I do not grind pommegranates for grenadine anymore either, as commericial pure pomm concentrates make real grenadine such a snap to create. Sure, the roots form does have a solid tannic kick to it that the concentrates lack, but I'll bet that tannin was not part of the equation in most drinks that utilize it.

Great work folks, I'd love to pow wow with all of you in a kitchen some time.




Ahu

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[ This Message was edited by: KuKuAhu 2007-10-08 08:33 ]

[ This Message was edited by: KuKuAhu 2007-10-08 08:34 ]


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Scottes
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 18, 2007
Posts: 490
From: A Little North Of Boston
Posted: 2007-10-08 10:00 am   Permalink

Quote:
On 2007-10-08 08:32, KuKuAhu wrote:
To milk the ground almonds is a tedious task that most simply will never bother with. And of those who do try it once, most will never bother again.


Except for knuckleheads like me. I'll be making my 4th attempt shortly, after 3 mistakes. Delicious mistakes, quite certainly, but I still don't really know what orgeat is supposed to taste like.


Along the same vein as KuKuAhu's general feeling, I have to wonder how much difference this will make in a Mai Tai. I'll have to make 3 some night: one with Fee's, with with The Gnomon's Emergency Orgeat, and one with the full-up ground almond process.

My feeling is that there will be a *very* slight difference.

But, there are 6 ingredients in a Mai Tai. If one chose 6 ingredients, each *slightly* better than an alternative, one would have a Mai Tai with a significant difference.
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The Gnomon
Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: May 01, 2007
Posts: 1289
From: MD-DC-VA
Posted: 2007-10-08 11:27 am   Permalink

Orgeat is a name that comes from horchata (I forget what the Latin is for horchata—might be horchata), the discovery of which dates back to ancient Egypt where it was made out of chufa (tiger nuts—ouch!). Anyway, horchata refers to the nut milk drink, regardless of variations in the recipes. A lot of horchata is made out of rice, for example.

Orgeat seems to be a French translation of horchata and the traditional French recipe used almonds. I don't know if French recipes used anything else besides almonds, but if they did, those recipes don't seem to have surfaced.

Assuming that the Trader used high quality French orgeat (as we'd expect), it is doubtful that the orgeat contained any essence of bitter almonds. Almond extract is made from bitter almonds, which is different from the flavor of sweet almonds.

I'm thinking that the freshest almonds make for the strongest almond flavor in the orgeat. If the almonds are not very fresh, then the flavor will be weaker. That's why I think that some of my batches have stronger almond flavor than others—the freshness of the nuts.

I would be happy if they made sweet almond extract. That way, I could make high quality flavor repairs to batches made from not so fresh almonds. Using the almond extract that we find in the store, made from bitter almonds, changes the flavor away from the sweet almond.

Because it changes the flavor to that of an almond that's not supposed to be in the orgeat, I consider using it to be an act of desperation. I've used it many times myself, which is to say I've become desperate many times. You spend $50 or more ifor the ingredients and when the batch goes wrong, anything you do to keep it out of the drain is an act of desperation. None of the remedies make it "right," but rather make it tolerable.


 
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KuKuAhu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 23, 2002
Posts: 567
From: Kahiki, Ohio
Posted: 2007-10-08 2:51 pm   Permalink

While agree to some extent, and can certainly admire the effort, I am considering a level of diminishing returns here that out weighs the process involved. To make better orgeat for less money and without chemicals is one thing... but to swear all but the 19th century from scratch version to be a total waste is innacurate and ignores 70 years of bartending.

I am willing to bet that by 1940, the French were shipping extract orgeats.

And actually, horchata and orgeat have little to do with one another outside of being similar grain emulsions.

Orge is French for barley. Orgeat was barely water before it became almond water (presumably sometime after the crusades... around the time marzipan was invented). For instance, "barley water" in Italian is "orzata". Italian for almond is "mandorla", and Spanish for almond is "almendra".


I guess for me it is like raising my own cattle to make a good steak... sure, I can concentrate on what I feed these cattle, how much exercise they get, the purity of their water..

Or I can just buy a great cut of beef and prepare it with practiced skill and care.

Which would be the more toothsome steak? I bet few could tell.

Also, for your enjoyment...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almond#Sweet_and_bitter_almonds





Ahu

[ This Message was edited by: KuKuAhu 2007-10-08 15:58 ]


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KuKuAhu
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Dec 23, 2002
Posts: 567
From: Kahiki, Ohio
Posted: 2007-10-08 3:13 pm   Permalink

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horchata

Similar roots, but orgeat is not "french horchata" anymore than black bean dip is "mexican hummus".

Both started as barley waters, and actually came from the Spanish "orxata".




Ahu



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