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.