Story by Sam Bygrave
Photography by Christopher Pearce
Presented by Simon McGoram, Neighbourhood Bondi
It was not so many years ago that orgeat — that syrup of almondy goodness — was a rare sight in bars.
Thanks to the resurgence of tiki drinks, though, orgeat has become a staple ingredient behind the stick. But it’s got a long history in drinks, going back to the days of Professor Jerry Thomas in the 1860’s.
The globetrotting booze writer and bon vivant, Charles H. Baker, also had call for orgeat: in his 1939 book, The Gentleman’s Companion, he listed a recipe for a Gin Fizz Tropical, which we’ve adapted here.
Tropical Gin Fizz
60ml Plymouth Gin
15ml Monin Pineapple Syrup
15ml Monin Orgeat Syrup
30ml lime juice
15ml egg white
30ml soda water
Dry shake egg white with gin, lime juice, orgeat and pineapple syrup. Add ice and shake to chill. Strain into a fizz glass, top with soda water. Garnish with a lime wheel and mint.
Adapted from Charles H. Baker’s Gin Fizz Tropical, The Gentleman’s Companion
Baker described this drinks as being “one more sound bit of liquid nourishment” from Manila, in the Phillippines. And he was characteristically effusive about this drink, having been introduced to it on a “dugout canoe trip down the rapids through a stupendous wild mill-race flung through a rocky gorge of towering walls hung with weird tropical growths, people with gibbering monkeys and vivid unnameable birds.” Perhaps Baker had sampled a few of these drinks before he got to writing about them.
Going back further to Thomas’ 1862 book, How To Mix Drinks, he’s got recipes for both a Japanese Cocktail (cognac, orgeat and bitters) and the drink we present over the page, the Orgeat Punch.
Served over plenty of ice, garnished with berries in season (as was the Professor’s way), the almond and marzipan notes of the orgeat complement the brandy, the lemon juice cuts the richness, and you’re left with a long, rich, and yet refreshing drink. It seems the Professor knew what he was doing.
Monin’s Orgeat Syrup pours a cloudy white colour, and offers up a pure aroma of almonds.
Both Monin syrups are made with pure cane sugar.
*notes courtesy of supplier