Homemade Orgeat Syrup

Orgeat Syrup in a canning jar.

The Spruce Eats/Cara Cormack

Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 10 mins
Soak and Cool: 3 hrs 20 mins
Total: 3 hrs 50 mins
Servings: 6 to 12 servings
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
117 Calories
5g Fat
19g Carbs
2g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6 to 12
Amount per serving
Calories 117
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 5g 6%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 19g 7%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 17g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 26mg 2%
Iron 0mg 2%
Potassium 67mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

If you've ever ordered a tropical drink and wondered what ingredient is providing its complex and haunting but subtle flavor, it might just be orgeat.

What is Orgeat?

Orgeat (pronounced or-zhat) is a key ingredient in tropical cocktails like the mai tai and can be used to make Italian soda or sweeten various other drinks. At its most basic, orgeat syrup is made with almonds, water, sugar, and orange flower water. Orgeat is not difficult to make from scratch, and this recipe shows you how to create the sweet, nutty, floral drink mixer at home.

How to Use Orgeat

The mai tai may be the most famous orgeat drink, but it's a great sweetener for many other drinks.

  • The Lady Liberty cocktail mixes orgeat with rum, Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, and a dash of absinthe.
  • The Scorpion Bowl cocktail is a fun shareable cocktail with a complex flavor from orgeat, aged rum, brandy, and fresh citrus juices.
  • Mix a little orgeat into a rum old fashioned or use orgeat instead of falernum in the rum swizzle.
  • Try the French momisette by combining 1/4 ounce of orgeat with 1 ounce of pastis and filling the glass with sparkling water.
  • Orgeat adds a nutty flavor to cocktails when it replaces other sweeteners and pairs best with brandy, whiskey, and rum.
  • Top 1 to 2 ounces of syrup with soda water for the Italian soda drink called orzata.
  • Use it to sweeten homemade lemonade, other fruity drinks, coffee, or even milkshakes.
  • Drizzle orgeat over dessert and fruit salads for a sweet, nutty twist.

How to Make Orgeat

The method for making orgeat syrup is similar to simple syrup. Instead of water, sugar is dissolved into a freshly extracted liquid from ground almonds. You can use blanched almonds, but roasting almonds and leaving the skin adds a little more color. More importantly, it imparts an extra bitterness that works well with the bright flavor of orange flower water. While optional, a small dose of liquor extends the syrup's shelf life and the citric acid gives it a flavor boost. The taste of this homemade syrup is very similar to commercial orgeat syrups.

The recipe yields about 1 1/2 cups and you'll often use just 1/2 to 1 ounce in a drink. This smaller batch gives you room to play around with the variations and avoid wasting ingredients. Once you find which you like best, double the recipe and explore the syrup's versatility for yourself.

Recipe Tips

  • Roast the almonds until lightly fragrant for the best flavor.
  • Make sure to cool the almonds completely before grinding them. Grinding hot almonds can result in almond butter or paste.
  • An alternate method for making orgeat is to prepare the simple syrup first, then stir the ground almonds into the hot syrup. Take the syrup off the heat, cover, and steep for 3 hours, then strain through several layers of cheesecloth, pressing on the nuts to extract as much liquid as possible.
  • Orgeat naturally separates as it sits. Orgeat made with blanched, skin-free almonds separates less. Alternatively, you can strain the finished syrup through a coffee filter before bottling (be warned that this is a very slow process). Always shake the bottle before pouring orgeat.

"Homemade orgeat? Who knew?! I've only recently learned of orgeat and fallen in love. I like to add it to seltzer water to give it a little flavor. Making homemade vs. store-bought allows me to control the amount of sugar. And for a clearer result, you can use blanched, slivered almonds." —Renae Wilson

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A Note From Our Recipe Tester


Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

    Ingredients to make orgeat syrup.

    The Spruce Eats/Cara Cormack

  2. On a rimmed baking sheet, spread the almonds out in a single layer. Toast in the oven for 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for about 5 minutes.

    Almonds on a baking sheet.

    The Spruce Eats/Cara Cormack

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

    Chopped almonds in a food processor.

    The Spruce Eats/Cara Cormack

  4. 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.

    Ground almonds soaking in a bowl of water.

    The Spruce Eats/Cara Cormack

  5. 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.

    Ground almonds straining in a colander lined with cheesecloth.

    The Spruce Eats/Cara Cormack

  6. In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, gently warm the almond liquid.

    Almond mixture in a sauce pan.

    The Spruce Eats/Cara Cormack

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

    Sugar and almond liquid in a saucepan.

    The Spruce Eats/Cara Cormack

  8. Strain the orgeat syrup through two layers of clean cheesecloth. Stir in the orange flower water and, if using, the brandy or vodka and citric acid.

    Orgeat in a glass bowl.

    The Spruce Eats/Cara Cormack

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

    Orgeat in a glass canning jar.

    The Spruce Eats/Cara Cormack

How to Store

Orgeat should be kept refrigerated. With the liquor and citric acid, the homemade orgeat syrup will keep well for up to 2 months. Without those preservatives, use the syrup within 1 week.

Recipe Variations

  • Rather than roasted almonds, use blanched almonds. Soak them in enough water to cover for 30 minutes and drain off the water before grinding. When blanching raw almonds yourself, you can remove the skins for a white-colored, less bitter syrup or leave them on for a slightly bitter golden syrup.
  • Switch to raw granulated sugar for a richer flavor and slightly darker color. Coconut (or palm) sugar would be an interesting substitution, too.
  • Rose water is a common alternative to orange flower water.
  • Use this recipe to make pistachio orgeat syrup from raw pistachios. Roasted hazelnuts are another great nut for homemade syrups.

Can Orgeat Syrup Be Made From Prepared Almond Milk?

The first few steps of this recipe create a liquid similar to fresh almond milk but the nuts are not blended back into the liquid. While it is best from almonds, unsweetened homemade or store-bought almond milk can be used to make orgeat syrup. Use 1 cup of prepared almond milk and jump ahead to heating the milk.

Is Almond Syrup the Same As Orgeat?

Almond syrup is a sweetened, almond-flavored simple syrup often used in coffee drinks. Orgeat is a cocktail mixer and, in addition to almonds, it is flavored with orange flower water. In a pinch, almond syrup can be used in cocktails that call for orgeat, but note that it will not have the exact same flavor and may be sweeter, so add in moderation.

What Is the Alcohol Content of Orgeat Syrup?

If you choose to skip the liquor in this recipe, then your orgeat syrup is alcohol-free. Even with 1 ounce of 40-proof brandy or vodka, this orgeat syrup's alcohol content is negligible at around 3 percent alcohol by volume (ABV). Some cough medicines contain three times that amount and, as a mixer, this will have little effect on the drinks you make with it.