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Liquor.com

This Is the Only Nut-Free Orgeat Recipe You’ll Ever Need

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Red Beans & Rice Orgeat (image: Tim Nusog)

When I first began bartending at Seaworthy, the oyster bar at Ace Hotel in New Orleans, I was asked to make sure it retained its Tiki vibe. As someone with a severe nut allergy, I was immediately alarmed. Orgeat, the staple sweetener used in Tiki drinks, is made with almonds.

I did some research and learned that orgeat was originally made with barley as an alternative to dairy that would not spoil. I also learned that the popular rice drink horchata is derived from the Catalan word for barley, “orxata.”

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My initial thought was to make an horchata orgeat. But it lacked depth, playfulness and a true New Orleans feel. Then the idea of a red beans and rice orgeat came to me. The red beans give it the feel of adzuki (sweet red bean mash popular in Chinese pastries). And I chose orange blossom water instead of rose water, as the citrus complements the vanilla beans better and makes the orgeat a little more versatile for classic Tiki drinks.

The cocktail on Seaworthy’s current menu that contains this nutless version of orgeat is called the Curiouser & Curiouser, a nod to “Alice in Wonderland.” This drink is made with sweet-pea-flower-infused gin, cucumber juice, lemon, and the red beans and rice orgeat. It was our bestseller for this past summer season. And best of all, I can enjoy one myself.

Red Beans & Rice Orgeat

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Series & Type: Cocktails
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