Thursday, December 31, 2015

Inverness Cocktail

The Inverness Cocktail is named after a small town and blending locale in northern Scotland. It calls for orgeat (pronounced or-zat), which is a syrup made from the oils extracted from almonds. I've been having a hard time finding orgeat in stores, but I had some luck finding one of the ingredients, orange blossom water, at World Market. At that point I decided to make my own orgeat. More on that recipe after the Inverness Cocktail.

This drink was soothing with butterscotch and nuttiness and a strong lemon zip. In fact it was so strong that I encourage you to use more orgeat to balance out the flavors and sweeten it a little.
  • 2 oz. scotch
  • 1 tsp. orgeat
  • 1/2 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. triple sec
Combine scotch, juice and orgeat in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Float a teaspoon of triple sec on top.

Orgeat is easy to make but timeconsuming. It takes a lot of patience to wait for the almonds to soak, so it is not a good idea to try to make it in a hurry before a bar shift. You can make orgeat faster if you use hot water (about 150 degrees) and it will keep for several weeks, so there's no harm in preparing early. Here's how it is done.

Add 2 cups of sliced blanched almonds and 3 cups of water and let them soak for 30 minutes. Remove soaked almonds and chop them coarsely in a blender or on a cutting board.

Return almonds to the water to soak for 3 hours. Then strain the water and pulp through a colander and a cheesecloth, pressing to extract the oils. Repeat this step up to three times for a richer almond flavor.

Strain and discard the pulp and add 1/2 cup of sugar. (Optional: heat syrup and stir until all sugar is dissolved. Let cool 15 minutes.) Add 2 tbsp. orange blossom water and 1 oz. of vodka. Place in an air-tight container and shake vigorously to combine ingredients. Refrigerate for up to two weeks.

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