Archived entries for Non-alcoholic

The Great Orgeat Experiment

Well, not so great, but an experiment all the same… 3 variations of home-made Orgeat Syrup.

Orgeat was one of the syrups and bitters we smuggled back from New York, and we figured that we’d run out of the syrups pretty soon so better either source some more (but this being New Zealand it might be a trifle difficult), or make our own. Even the likes of Fee Brothers’ mix had a frightening label too – see here. Basically a sweetened almond syrup with a bit of rose or orange blossom water in we figured it was worth buying a big bag of almonds and giving it a go. A trawl netted us a few recipe variations and based on what we had in the house these three made the cut for the test:


Measures & Instructions:

  • 150g almonds
  • 100ml water
  • 200g sugar
  • 1 dash (⅛ tsp) orange flower water
  • 1 dash (⅛ tsp) rose water

Toast almonds 200°C for 15mins, tossing occassionally. Smash/blend (I added a bit of the water to the blender). Add almond to pan with sugar and (remaining) water and simmer 2 min. Take off heat, cover and let sit for 12hrs. Strain through cheese cloth or similar and add rose and orange blossom water. Bottle.

You’ll need a lot of elbow grease to squeeze it out as its pretty sticky stuff. I reheated the mix a little to get it all flowing again. Also, dont bin the leftovers – its a little bit like Baclava.

link to Kaiser Penguin recipe


Measures & Instructions:

  • 180g almonds
  • 1¾ cup (430ml) tap water
  • 1¾ cup (430ml) distilled water
  • ¼ cup (65g) organic cane sugar
  • ½ oz (15ml) vodka
  • ⅛ tsp orange blossom water

Cover almonds with tap water for 30mins. Strain and blend (again i used a little of the distilled water to blend). Add mush to bowl with remaining distilled water and soak for 4-5hrs. I left it covered overnight. Strain thru cheesecloth – should be quite easy to strain and net a pretty thin “milk”. Looks and tastes like almond milk you can buy from the store – perhaps store bought stuff might work? Add sugar to liquid and mix until dissolved. Add vodka and orange blossom. Store up to 2 weeks, though im sure with the vodka in it will hopefully last longer.

link to Imbibe recipe


  • 165 g almonds
  • 265 ml water
  • 235 g sugar
  • 25 ml vodka
  • ⅛ tsp orange flower water (or rose water)

Soak almonds in water 30 mins. Discard water and blend (add a bit of water if needed). Add mix to bowl and soak for 2hrs (i left it overnight). Strain mix into cheesecloth and squeeze remaining juice out. Add juice to pan, adding sugar. Cook on gentle heat until sugar dissolved. Cool and add vodka and orange flower water. Bottle.

If you look at the original recipe in the link, you’ll see there were instructions to strain and put almonds back into water. my mix was so mushy it would have been a little difficult.

link to The Art of Drink recipe

↑ Look at the mad ingredients, vs almonds, sugar, water, rose water, vodka.



Image by Roland Bello / Gourmet

Another good one for a non-alcoholic option, or can be mixed to make a pretty good long iced cocktail.

The soft version (makes about 1 litre)
Measures & Instructions:

  • juice 1/2 a watermelon (or enough to get a about 660ml of juice)
  • 330ml  home-made lemonade mix

Mix the ingredients together & add freshly squeezed lemon juice to taste – you don’t want this too sweet, it should be refreshing.
Bottle and refrigerate. Serve over ice and top with soda.


The hard version
Measures & Instructions:

  • 30-60ml vodka or gin
  • watermelon-ade mix (see above)
  • splash of soda

Add watermelon-ade mix to the vodka or gin in a tall glass with plenty of ice. Stir & top with a splash of soda for a bit of fizz.

Home-made lemonade


With the summer in full swing and the need for a few non-alcoholic long drinks (as well as some nice home-made mixers!) we’ve been working on a few easy things to whip up and keep in the fridge. First up, a pretty simple lemonade.

Makes 1 litre.

Measures & Instructions:

  • slightly less than 1/2 litre sugar syrup
  • slightly more than 1/2 litre lemon juice*

*squeeze it yourself if you insist, but if you can get your hands on the FRESH sqeezed stuff in the chiller cabinet at your local supermarket it’s just as good, cheaper, and less trouble.

Mix both together, bottle & chill.

Dilute with soda for drinking – it’s a bit strong by itself.
Add a shot of gin or vodka if you feel like something a little stronger!
Or use in our watermelon-ade (up soon) or iced tea rum punch, amongst other things.

Simple syrup and Standard sugar syrup

Simple syrup is an essential in so many cocktails it’s worth making up a couple of litres of the stuff and keeping it handy.

Standard sugar syrup is thicker and used in making home-made liqueurs. It uses more sugar to water and involves heating the lot on the stove, whereas imple syrup is exactly that. Simply mixing sugar with boiling water & giving it a stir!

Measures & Instructions:

  • 1 part sugar
  • 1 part water

Pour the sugar into a heat proof jar.
Boil the same amount of water as sugar and add this to the jar (add the water slowly until it has seeped into the sugar, all the air has bubbled up to the surface, and is just covering the sugar)
Stir well until all the sugar has dissolved.
Seal well. If you’ll keeping it for a while add a tsp of vodka – it’ll keep longer!

Measures & Instructions:

  • 2 part sugar
  • 1 part water

Heat the water in a pan over a medium heat.
Slowly add the sugar about 1 cup at a time stirring with a wooden spoon to dissolve each cup as the sugar is added. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for about 12-15 minutes and has reduced in volume a little. Remove from flame and pour into a heat-proof jar.

Caramel syrup

Used in our espresso martini.

Measures & Instructions:

  • 1 part sugar syrup
  • 1 part water

Place sugar into a large saucepan or boiling pot.
Put the kettle on with the same amount of water as you have sugar. You will need the water to be just under boiling point shortly.

Heat the sugar over a medium heat stirring constantly with a large wooden spoon while the sugar melts. Gradually increase the stirring speed until the sugar changes to a light brown liquid. At this point, the sugar may begin to give off steam but there may still be lumps of unmelted sugar. Turn the heat off so that the sugar will not become overcooked and discolored. Continue stirring until all the sugar is melted.

When all the sugar is melted and the caramel is a golden brown color, GRADUALLY add  your hot (near boiling) water. You must add the water very very slowly and continue to stir the melted sugar while the water is being added. You’ll probably need to put it back on a low heat while you do this. Care must be taken to:

1. Avoid the pot boiling over and
2. Avoid hot caramel being splattered all over the place and
3. Continue stirring to avoid any premature hardening of the caramel in spots

When all the water has been added, turn the heat up and let the syrup boil for about 15 minutes. KEEP STIRRING IT to stop sticking/burning.

After 15 minutes, pour the liquid into a large heat-proof jar.

Summer Iced Tea (the soft version)

Drink it as per this recipe or add it to our Iced tea rum punch!
Makes 2 litres of iced tea.

Measures & Instructions:

  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 3 tbsp sugar syrup
  • 1 tea bag (regular black tea)
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 orange
  • sprig of mint
  • cold water to top up (1-1.5l)

Add sugar syrup, tea bag, lemon, orange juice and mint to 1/2 cup of boiling water.
Stir and leave to steep for 2-3 minutes – the key is to avoid it getting too strong.
Remove mint after steeping.
This is your base. For iced-tea, add cold water to make 2l of tea.
Chill it, & serve over ice w/ a sprig of mint.

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