Facebook LinkedIn Email Pinterest Twitter Instagram YouTube Icon Navigation Search Icon Main Search Icon Video Play Icon Plus Icon Minus Icon Check Icon Print Icon Note Icon Heart Icon Filled Heart Icon Single Arrow Icon Double Arrow Icon Hamburger Icon TV Icon Close Icon Sorted Hamburger/Search Icon

Almond Syrup Is The Source Of This Drink’s Success

Mi Ruca, a drink created by bartender Dominic Venegas

Save to Recipe Box
Add Private Note
Saved Add to List

    Add to List

Add Recipe Note

The Mai Tai is the most popular tiki drink, and is certainly the most famous cocktail to contain orgeat. Orgeat, however, is not so well-known.

Orgeat (pronounced “or-zha” kind of like Zsa Zsa Gabor, with an optional “t” sound at the end) is an almond syrup that was probably once an almond milk drink, like horchata from Mexico. Before it was an almond drink it was a barley water drink (the word orgeat is based on the Latin for barley) that was a shelf-stable substitute for milk. This was later flavored with almonds to improve the taste, and eventually the barley was left out altogether. 

The almond milk’s flavor was further improved with the addition of orange flower water in countries like France and Italy, or by rose water in the Middle East. Several brands of orgeat contain these floral essences today. 

Lately, some bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts have been making orgeat from scratch, but by several accounts it is not an easy process. One Mai Tai-obsessive nicknamed Trader Tiki took his homemade version to the market, and also offers a hazelnut orgeat. Dominic Venegas of San Francisco also makes orgeat (not for sale) using toasted almonds and molasses as a sweetener to make his recipe unique. 

This helped him win a contest that I judged for the 42Below brand of vodka. He chose their delicious honey flavor (honey and almonds- a great pairing) added some citrus to liven it up and Benedictine liqueur to give it a touch of spice. Neither homemade orgeat nor bee pollen garnish are mandatory, but both helped turn this fantastic cocktail into a winner.  

Mi Ruca
By Dominic Venegas

2 fl. oz. 42Below Manuka Honey vodka
.25 fl. oz. Benedictine
.25 fl. oz. Orgeat
.5 fl. oz. pineapple juice
.5 fl. oz. Meyer lemon juice

Shake all ingredients with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with bee pollen and a light dusting of cinnamon.




Leave a Comment


Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published.


View All


Follow Fine Cooking on your favorite social networks

We hope you’ve enjoyed your free articles. To keep reading, subscribe today.

Get the print magazine, 25 years of back issues online, over 7,000 recipes, and more.