Homemade Pistachio Orgeat

pistachio orgeat

Orgeat, the pale, milky-white almond syrup used to add nuttiness to tiki drinks like the classic Mai Tai, gets a modern-day makeover in this recipe from the Merchant in Madison, Wisconsin. Inspired by Dave Arnold’s Any Nut Orgeat in Liquid Intelligence, Merchant introduces shelled, unsalted pistachios to the equation.

“Pistachios add a different complexity and flavor to the syrup,” says Merchant bar manager Thor Messer. “Almonds are great, but it’s fun to mix it up with a different nut.”

Swap this pistachio version into any recipe calling for regular orgeat, or in Merchant’s riff on the Saturn cocktail, the spirited Finer Points of Bad Behavior.

3 cups near-boiling water
7 oz. shelled, unsalted pistachios
2¼ cups granulated sugar
Xanthan gum (optional, see note)
Ticaloid 210s (optional, see note)
Tools: Kitchen scale, Blender, Quart-size glass jar, Nut-milk bag (or fine strainer and cheesecloth)

In a blender, combine the water and pistachios and blend on high for 2 full minutes—the longer you blend, the more refined your finished syrup will be. Turn on the scale, place the quart jar on the scale and zero it out. Fine-strain the nut mixture through a nut-milk bag or a fine- mesh strainer lined with multiple layers of cheesecloth into the jar on the scale and record weight. For every 500 grams of liquid, add 1.75 grams of Ticaloid 210s and .2 grams xanthan gum (stabilizer) to the nut milk and blend on high for 30 seconds. Add the sugar and blend again for an additional minute. Pour into a glass jar, cap and keep refrigerated for up to 1 month. Makes 1 quart.

Note: Xanthan and Ticaloid, what? Together, these two powders work to create a smooth emulsification that keeps solids suspended and the syrup from separating. That said, they’re completely optional. If you decide to omit them, just be sure to shake the orgeat before each use. Both are available online at ticgums.com, and xanthan can also be purchased on Amazon or in the bulk spice department of natural food markets.