Mixers

8 Best Orgeat Substitute Options for Cocktails

If you’re having problems sourcing a bottle of your favorite almond-flavored sweet syrup or get caught short and need an orgeat substitute at the last minute, fear not, for there are a few alternatives that you could use instead. 

Orgeat syrup is an almond-based product used to add extra natural flavor and sweetness to certain cocktails, mainly those classified as tiki drinks. It’s usually made from almonds, rose water, and sugar, but some recipes call for orange flower water instead of rose water. 

There’s nothing worse than discovering a cool new cocktail recipe to try, only to discover you’re one magic ingredient short. If that magic ingredient happens to be orgeat syrup, there are a few alternatives that you may already have in your kitchen. 

From almond syrup to Amaretto liqueur via orzata syrup, here’s a roundup of the best orgeat substitutes to try that you may already have on hand.

What Can I Use As An Orgeat Substitute?

Next time you go to reach for your bottle of orgeat syrup and find the bottle is empty or the cupboards are bare, don’t despair—there may well be fitting substitutes for orgeat syrup already lurking within your kitchen.

1. Almond Syrup

If you happen to have a bottle of almond syrup on hand, it’s one of the best substitutes for orgeat syrup, as it has a very similar almond taste. 

The nutty flavor of almond syrup is less complex compared with orgeat syrup, as it does not contain any rose water or orange flower water. 

With almost the same flavor and the same sweetness as orgeat syrup, there’s no need to add any extra sugar to almond syrup. Simply use the same quantity of almond syrup as you would the real McCoy.

2. Almond Extract

The pure almond extract works in a similar way to vanilla extract, and you should be able to find it in most grocery stores. It imparts a concentrated almond flavor, and it is not sweetened. When using it in place of orgeat syrup, use half the amount, and you can sweeten it by adding sugar or mixing it with honey.

Another way to sweeten almond extract is to add it to simple syrup to make a ‘quick-fix’ homemade orgeat syrup.

Having a bottle of this almond essence in your kitchen is not only useful when you run out of orgeat syrup; you can also use it to add a nutty flavor to coffees and desserts.

3. Amaretto

If you can’t find orgeat syrup or any other appropriate orgeat substitutes in your kitchen, you may be able to launch a successful raid on your drinks cabinet to come up with the goods. Amaretto, meaning “a little bitter,” is an almond-flavored liqueur hailing from the Italian town of Saronno that can be used to give your cocktails a nutty and slightly bitter taste.

Depending on the brand, the Italian liqueur may be made from apricot kernels, bitter almonds, peach stones, or sweet almonds, all of which have a natural almond-like flavor. 

Unlike orgeat syrup, Amaretto generally contains 21 to 28 percent alcohol by volume, so be sure to factor that in when mixing your cocktails.

4. Crème de Noyaux

If you have no amaretto in your drinks cabinet, how about a bottle of this Crème de Noyaux? This almond-flavored French crème liqueur with a rich flavor is actually made from apricot pits, and its nutty taste can make a good, albeit alcoholic, substitute for orgeat syrup. 

You can use this in similar amounts that you would orgeat syrup, but be aware of the alcohol content. Often in the US, Crème de Noyaux comes in at 20% alcohol by volume, while the original French version is often 40% ABV.

5. Orzata Syrup

This Italian almond syrup is flavored with bitter almonds, seeds, and barley and is another great alternative to Orgeat. In addition to perking up your tiki cocktails and exotic drinks, you can also add this non-alcoholic syrup to coffee-based drinks and cold teas. 

You should add a little less orzata syrup to your drink than you would add Orgeat as it has a more bitter almond flavor. You could offset this by using an additional sweetener, such as honey or sugar.

6. Almond Milk

For many, almond milk is a regular purchase, and there’s a good chance you have some on hand, but be sure to check the label before using it. Check to see if you have sweetened or unsweetened almond milk before adding it to your next batch of cocktails. 

If you have the unsweetened variety, you can add sugar or honey or even, depending on the recipe, another cocktail syrup. 

Almond milk doesn’t have the same strong almond flavor as Orgeat, so you will need to use a little extra to get the same rich taste. Be careful when mixing cocktails, as this can lead to an overly watered-down taste. Consider also using less of any other mixer drinks in the recipe to counteract this.

7. Falernum Syrup

Another of the best substitutes for Orgeat that requires a quick label check before use! Falernum syrup hails from the Caribbean and can be either an 11%-ABV syrup liqueur or a non-alcoholic mixer syrup. 

It is best known and loved for its use in tropical tiki drinks and contains flavors of ginger, lime, and almond, often with an extra kick from cloves or allspice. It can be considered a spicier version of traditional orgeat syrup. 

You may find falernum syrup to have a more intense flavor than Orgeat, so maybe add a little less. Also, don’t forget to check whether you have an alcoholic version of the syrup too.

8. Homemade Orgeat Syrup Recipe

Another great option, whether you can find orgeat syrup in your local grocery stores or not, is to make your own orgeat syrup. Have a look through this homemade orgeat recipe from the guys at The Spruce Eats

Ingredients: 

  • 1 cup blanched almonds
  • 1.5 cups warm distilled water (about 100°F)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 0.5 teaspoon orange blossom water
  • 2 tablespoons brandy or vodka (optional)
  • 0.25 teaspoon citric acid (optional)

Method: 

Gather the ingredients and preheat the oven to 400 F.

Spread the almonds out in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven for 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes.

In a food processor or chopper, chop the almonds to a coarse grind (not the sand-like texture of almond flour).

Transfer the ground almonds to a large bowl and cover them with warm water. Let soak for 1 to 3 hours, depending on how strong you would like the almond flavor.

Using a fine-mesh strainer and two large layers of cheesecloth, squeeze all of the liquid from the almonds into a deep bowl. The almond pulp should be almost completely dry, and you’ll have about 1 cup of liquid.

Gently warm the almond liquid In a small saucepan over medium-low heat.

Whisk in the sugar and continue stirring until the sugar is completely dissolved about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Strain the syrup through two layers of clean cheesecloth, then stir in the orange flower water and, optionally, the brandy or vodka and citric acid.

Once the syrup has cooled completely, transfer it to a bottle with a tight-sealing lid. Refrigerate the orgeat syrup and shake it before using it in your favorite drinks.

Keep your homemade orgeat syrup in the fridge, and if you opted for the liquor and citric acid, it would keep well for up to 2 months. Without those preservatives, however, it’s best to use the syrup within one week.

FAQs

Can Amaretto be a substitute for Orgeat?

If you’re looking to add a nutty almond flavor and a little sweetness to your cocktails, then Amaretto can be a great substitute for orgeat syrup. 
Be aware that you will be adding more alcohol, and though it won’t have the same syrupy thickness as Orgeat, Amaretto imparts a similar nutty flavor.

Is simple syrup the same as Orgeat?

Not quite. Orgeat syrup and simple syrup are a little different. Orgeat syrup is a sweet syrup made with almonds, sugar, and sometimes orange flower water, while the simple syrup is made ‘simply’ with equal parts sugar and water. 
While it can add sweetness to your cocktails, it lacks the pure almond flavor of orgeat syrup, and almond syrup may be a better alternative if you have no orgeat.

Does Orgeat taste like almond extract?

They both have an almond taste, and almond extract is one of the best orgeat substitutes. Orgeat syrup has a sweeter flavor, and if using almond extract as a replacement for orgeat syrup, you can mix it with honey first.

Can I use almond milk instead of Orgeat?

Almond milk doesn’t have the same pure almond taste as Orgeat, which means a bit more is needed if you like a nuttier flavor. 
If mixing with cocktails, bear in mind that the extra liquid needed to get the same almond flavor may water down your drink.

Can you use fruit juice instead of orgeat syrup? 

It depends on what drink you are making, but if you can’t find orgeat syrup, fruit juices like lime juice, orange juice, or pineapple juice can certainly bring extra fruity sweetness to your drink.
Instead of juice, you could also use fruit syrups, such as orange syrup, but ensure you use a smaller amount.

Key Takeaways

  • There are several great options for Orgeat, although each adds a slightly different flavor.
  • Chances are you have at least one Orgeat alternative at home
  • Depending on which substitute you use, you may have to use more or less than Orgeat to get the right taste
  • Making your own Orgeat takes a little bit of time but is worth it

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