You all know that I love a good cocktail. Some of my favorite restaurants, including Fiction Kitchen, have dazzling drinks with homemade syrups and infusions.
As soon as I saw Shake, Stir, Pour by Katie Loeb, I asked Quarry to send me a copy to review. It has 50 recipes that are made with fresh fruit, herbs and spices. Many are syrups that can just as easily be made into mocktails if you don’t imbibe.
It’s full of fancy cocktails (and mocktails) that you’d pay a fortune for when you’re out. It’s not a vegan book, but if you use agave nectar where honey is called for and use a vegan Worcestershire sauce you can make almost all of the drinks.
Since not all alcohol is vegan, you can always check Barnivore, to get some guidance on what you should buy to keep your drink vegan. They even have an app for your phone!
I’m a huge fan of tiki drinks and it’s not easy to find pre-made orgeat syrup. Luckily it’s fun to make your own and Katie does an amazing job of showing us how to do it!
Orgeat is the ingredient in a mai tai that gives it a special almond and floral flavor. There are also recipes for falernum and allspice dram in the book. I’m excited to explore making more tiki cocktails after I have all the syrups I need.
Orgeat Syrup from Shake, Stir, Pour
- 16 ounces 453 g raw sliced almonds
- 2 ounces 60 ml overproof vodka
- 5 cups 1.2 L hot ﬁltered water
- 4 1/2 cups 1 L sugar
- 1/3 cup 80 ml brandy or cognac
- 1 teaspoon 5 ml rosewater
- 1 1/2 teaspoons 8 ml orange ﬂower water
- 1/2 teaspoon 3 ml organic almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
- Preheat oven to 350ºF (177º C). Spread almonds in a thin layer on a nonstick cookie sheet (a).
- Roast the almonds in 2-minute intervals (set a timer to remind yourself!) for a total of 8
- minutes, stirring every 2 minutes to keep from browning. The goal is not to toast them, but
- to “loosen” up the oils they contain, so they’ll extract more easily.
- Remove the almonds from the oven immediately and pour the hot almonds into the blender
- container so they do not continue to brown on the hot cookie sheet. The almonds should
- only be very lightly toasted around the edges, if at all (b).
- Pour the 2 ounces (60 ml) of vodka over the hot almonds and steep for 10 minutes.
- Add 5 cups (1.2 L) of hot filtered water to blender container (c) and pulse until the almonds
- are chopped into small bits, about the size of peanut bits in chunky peanut butter (d).
- Soak the almond bits overnight.
- The next day, strain the almond bits and liquid in small batches through a cheesecloth-lined
- fine-mesh strainer into a bowl, squeezing the almond bits in the cheesecloth to extract all of
- the oils and flavor (e). Don’t be afraid to really wring this out hard. You need to get out the
- almonds’ oils so your orgeat will taste strongly of almond (f).
- Measure the liquid; there should be approximately 4½ cups (1 L).
- Gently heat the almond liquid in a saucepan (g).
- Add the sugar and stir until it is dissolved. Remove from heat immediately. Allow almond syrup to cool slightly.
- Add the brandy, the rosewater, the orange ﬂower water, and the almond extract (h). Stir vigorously to incorporate all the ingredients you’ve just added.
- Add a small amount of the mixed orgeat to xanthan gum in a small cup. Stir or whisk gently to incorporate without any lumps. Add xanthan gum slurry back into the full batch of orgeat and stir to combine thoroughly.
- Funnel into clean glass bottles for storage. This syrup keeps refrigerated for several months.