Thursday, March 17, 2011

Recipe: Jester's Own Orgeat!

A couple weeks ago, I published on here a work in progress recipe for orgeat syrup. After some more testing, I now have the finalized version for you.

1 pound blanched whole almonds
2 cups filtered or bottled water, plus some extra
4 cups sugar
1 oz vodka
1/8 tsp rose water
1/8 tsp orange flower water

Pulse almonds in food processor until coarsely ground. Alternatively, put almonds in a Ziploc freezer bag and beat the hell out of them with a rolling pin until coarsely ground. Combine almonds, water, and ½ cup of the sugar in a saucepan. Heat mixture until at a rolling boil. Remove from heat, and let stand overnight.

The next day, pour mixture through a double layer of cheesecloth (or a nylon straining bag from a homebrewing supply store). Twist cloth closed over almonds, and squeeze out as much almond water as possible. Add extra water to bring volume of liquid to 2 cups. Add remaining sugar, and heat until ALL of the sugar is fully dissolved. Let cool to room temperature. Add optional vodka and flower waters. Mix well, and store in the refrigerator. Will keep a few days without the vodka, a few weeks with.

The almond oils will separate in storage. To use, break up the oil layer with a chopstick if necessary, and shake well until fully dissolved.

Who knows, maybe soon I'll revise the recipe again soon. I'm inspired by gomme syrup, a pre-Prohibition version of simple syrup. It has a little gum arabic in there to stabilize the solution (keep crystals from forming), and has the added benefit of lending a silky mouthfeel. The gum arabic will serve triple duty in the orgeat since it will also keep the flavorful oils suspended in solution.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

For the person who needs it

Don't know how secretive this person is being, but a request came via Twitter message for tiki punch for a party. This is going to be too long for 140 characters no matter how much I abbreviate.

Trader Vic's Tahitian Rum Punch For 100:

The day before your party, put 2 pounds of brown sugar in a VERY large vessel. Squeeze 5 dozen oranges, 4 dozen lemons, and 3 grapefruit, all medium-sized fruits. Add the juices and spent shells to the vessel, and mix well. Peel and slice 10 bananas, and add them to the mix. Add 2 sprigs of mint and 10 bottles of dry white wine. Let stand overnight. The next day, strain out the solids. Add 6 bottles of light Puerto Rican rum and 1 bottle of dark Jamaican rum. Stir well. Pour over a large block of ice in a punch bowl or barrel, and let chill.

When I said a very large vessel, I wasn't whistlin' Dixie; the final quantity is about six gallons. Yes, you have to have completely fresh-squeezed fruit. Enlist friends with electric juicers to help if you need to. This won't be the same with bottled juice. When selecting wine, just about any dry white will work except oaky ones. As for rum, no need to knock yourself out with the super-premium ones when they have to compete with all that juice and wine, but still get something decent. I'd go with my workhorse Cruzan (yes, it's from the British Virgin Islands, but it's what I use when the recipe calls for Puerto Rican rum) for the light rum, and either Myers's or Coruba for the dark rum. For a little extra flair with the ice, fill balloons with 1 pint of water, place them in (on?) a teacup to keep the shape, and freeze. Then, peel the balloon off, rinse off the powder coating from the balloon interior, and use in place of the blocks of ice.