Add a dash of color to your cocktail hour (and some protein to your diet) with Pistachio Orgeat, the thing you've probably never heard of but won't soon forget. —INGRAIN, Spring 2019
RECIPE / Ken Hunnemeder
The inspiration behind this recipe was a visit to Philadelphia Distillery, where I had a gin cocktail with their Bluecoat American Dry Gin and pistachio orgeat. I love Bluecoat; it’s laced with coriander and citrus and can hang with the best gins, but I had never heard of orgeat. I decided to go back and finesse my own pistachio version for future cocktail hours.
Peeled pistachios with traces of the pinkish-brown, papery skin are pretty easy to find, but for this recipe you need the blanched, bright green nuts. The skins are too bitter and will muddy the bright green color of the syrup. (I’ve never tried blanched, slivered pistachios because the nuts spoil so quickly and they always look suspect.) I recommend blanching raw pistachios yourself and peeling off the papery skins by hand. Make a cocktail! If you want drink number two to include your new creation, sous vide the syrup.
Makes about 2½ cups
1½ cups sugar
16 ounces raw, whole pistachios (recipe for blanched pistachios below)
½ teaspoon orange flower water
1 ounce high-proof, neutral alcohol (Everclear or vodka)
1½ cups sugar + 1¼ cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, and stir to dissolve the sugar. Let cool.
8 ounces blanched, unsalted whole pistachios, coarsely chopped + ½ teaspoon orange flower water + 1 ounce high-proof, neutral alcohol (Everclear or vodka) in a large zip-top bag. Carefully pour in cooled sugar syrup, seal bag, and keep orgeat at room temperature overnight.
Orgeat through a fine mesh strainer, repeat if syrup is still very thick, then strain through cheesecloth to remove all of the solids. Refrigerate orgeat or store in a cool place for 2 to 3 weeks.
16 ounces raw, whole pistachios
Water in a small pot and add 16 ounces raw pistachios. Boil for 1 minute, drain, and let cool. Pick up a pistachio, give it a good pinch, and the skin should hop right off.
SOUS VIDE ORGEAT
Simple syrup and instead place all ingredients in a large zip-top bag. Gently place the unsealed bag into a sous vide water bath preheated to 140°F and seal up the bag as you remove any air pockets. (The water from the bath will push air out of the bag, so you’ll be able to seal the bag with no air pockets.)
Bag in an ice water bath after 30 minutes.
Orgeat into a clean bottle, and store the liqueur in a cool, dark place.