ORGEAT COMME ÇA

On a recent trip to one of my favorite bars in Orange County, Tader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at downtown Disney I discovered a pearly white treasure. It is known that I am a bit (understatement) of a tiki enthusiast and always keeping one eye open for recipes and bric a brac for the house. Upon our travels, Tony and I make a point of seeking out and conquering tiki bars in various places and I am ALWAYS looking for innovative ways to stock up our home bar. 

On this particular visit (one of many) to Trader Sam’s I imbibed in the Krakatoa Punch. Aptly named it indeed “punched” me in the mouth with an astonishingly "eruptive" combination of tropical delights. These included the flavors of various spiced rums, a secret Sam’s Grog (...I’ve tried) and the ever-Hawaiian aroma of the Hibiscus flower. I, however, noticed an underlying taste of something creamy and warm, only mildly familiar to my usually citrusy/floral tiki palate. This mysterious flavor, the bartender indulged, was orgeat (OR-ZHA… pronounce it right or else) almond syrup. A classic flavor historically central to the tiki repertoire. I thought “Hey, this would taste great with Bourbon!” So I began my calculations that would lead to what is now my go-to home bourbon cocktail.

One of the many bonuses of living in a historic city like Sacramento is the cultural diversity. There are markets on nearly every other corner offering international provisions of all kinds. On a lazy Saturday strolling through Midtown I discovered the Italian Importing Company. Aside from the beautiful prosciutto and large cans of San Marzano tomatoes which I most certainly could not pass up, I found a two-dollar bottle of Torani orgeat! The wheels started turning again…

As a home-cook, there is usually several items of curiosity in my cupboard which I like to utilize every once in a while to the surprise of my audience. Lately my favorites include a small bottle of orange blossom water and Hawaiian Lehua flower honey (imported straight from the Big Island itself). So on that Saturday I thought I might incorporate these things into a sippable (is that a word?) form. With a recently purchased bottle of Larceny Bourbon on sale at Total Wine I set to mixing an alternative take on my favorite cocktail, the Old Fashioned... here’s my recipe:

Trader Vail’s Old Fashioned

2 oz Larceny Bourbon

.25 oz orgeat syrup

1 tsp organic Hawaiian Lehua honey

1 splash orange blossom water

1 splash warm water

5 dashes Angostura bitters

1 Luxardo cherry

1 orange peel garnish

1 ice sphere or block

-in a bucket glass, combine honey and warm water until incorporated

-add bitters, orange blossom water and orgeat then stir again to incorporate

-add bourbon and ice, stir again with a bar spoon

-add cherry and squeeze orange peel over rim of glass to infuse with citrus oil

-throw in orange peel and sip your heart out!