If I have managed to convey anything in my very short career as a humble cocktail correspondent (3 weeks and counting … giddy smile comes over the writer’s face …) it is that in many cocktail and mixology related ways I am a novice (#8 on the list of potential names for the blog was “theNovista”). This is usually made crystal clear to me either when I log on to Thursday Drink Night and throw out a wiffle ball of an attempt at a new cocktail creation for peer review and the heavy bats of my cocktail blogging peers (big stretch I know for me to include myself in a category with far more learned individuals) swat it down or when I sit down to write about something knowing that it has already likely been covered many times over and in a far more instructive and insightful manner.
I plug away — As my little chronicle is an exploration into my spirits, cocktail and mixology education and as we appear to be entering into the warmer season here in the Big Apple it seems like a perfect opportunity to embark on a few new projects aimed at trying something new (new to theSpeakista that is). One of these projects that I hope to launch a few weeks hence will be what I call the Tiki-5 – making, sampling and reporting on five different tiki-style drinks. This style of drink is one that I am not all that familiar with yet garners a significant and rightful place in the drink community. In preparation for this project I reviewed the list of ingredients for the final five contestants and stumbled across an ingredient that I was wholly unfamiliar with (novice alert, novice alert …), orgeat. To be fair, I have seen this ingredient before but when recipes called for it I simply passed on making said recipe. For this project I needed to do a little research which led me to want to undertake Orgeat in 8 – make and drink seven different existing recipes over seven days using orgeat as an ingredient and then undertake to create something new on the eighth day.
Orgeat syrup is a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar and rose water or orange-flower water and is key ingredient in several recipes, the two most familiar being the Mai Tai and the Japanese Cocktail. There are several homemade recipes (like Rick’s and Darcy’s) as well as (recently) several commercial productions. Lacking sufficient time to make a homemade recipe and sufficient storage at the home base (the Boss has little patience to yield additional valuable inches from our already bursting at the seams NYC apartment) I am going to use Blair’s Trader Tiki Orgeat for my project. By my humble standards this is a fine product. The texture has a light viscous quality with an aroma that is all almonds. The taste is of sweet almonds (very similar in many respects to the classic French pear and almond tart, absent the pear) and although I do not see rose water as an ingredient I would swear that I can taste it lingering in the background. Having not tasted any other orgeat syrups, either commercial or homemade, I do not really have a common frame of reference but if I only had to use Blair’s I feel like I would be in excellent shape.
So Orgeat in 8 … This little experiment is designed to show case how orgeat interacts, mixes and enhances various base spirits and I have picked seven different recipes from a few different sources that utilize one or more of the following including gin, scotch, rye, rum and brandy. If I hold to schedule I’ll be launching this little do-hickey later this week. The Tiki-5, baring any unforeseen complications should launch shortly thereafter.
As always I welcome any comments, thoughts, etc.