Is orgeat the same as almond syrup?

Orgeat and almond syrup are two ingredients commonly used in cocktails and baked goods that seem quite similar. Both are sweet, almond-flavored syrups that add a lovely floral aroma and taste to drinks and desserts. But while they may appear interchangeable, there are some key differences between orgeat and almond syrup.

In this article, we’ll take a close look at what defines each syrup, their ingredients and production methods, how they taste, and how they are best used. We’ll also provide recipes for making both at home, so you can taste and compare them for yourself. Read on to learn the answers to:

What is orgeat?

Orgeat (pronounced or-zhat) is a sweet almond-flavored syrup made from almond extract, sugar, and rose or orange flower water. It originated in France and Italy as far back as the 13th century, where it was commonly used to flavor milk-based drinks. The name “orgeat” comes from the French word for barley – “orge” – though modern versions are made with almonds instead of barley.

Authentic orgeat has a pronounced almond taste, but it is more complex than regular almond syrup due to the addition of rose or orange flower water. The floral aromas give it a perfume-like fragrance that is quite distinctive. Orgeat often has a thicker, more viscous texture than simple syrup. Traditionally, the almonds would be pulverized with a mortar and pestle to extract their oils and flavors before being combined with the other ingredients.

What is almond syrup?

Almond syrup is a simpler preparation made from almond extract, sugar, and water. It highlights the taste of almonds without additional flavors like those found in orgeat. The texture is thin, like simple syrup. Almond syrup is sometimes called “almond simple syrup” since it is made in the same basic way by dissolving sugar into water infused with almond extract.

Unlike orgeat, almond syrup does not contain any citrus flower waters or oils. Its flavor profile focuses solely on almond without the extra floral notes. Some recipes may include a small amount of bitter almond extract in addition to regular almond extract to provide a slightly more complex, nuanced almond taste. But for the most part, almond syrup puts the pure, nutty almond flavor front and center.

Ingredients and Production Methods

Orgeat and almond syrup diverge when it comes to specific ingredients and how they are produced. Let’s look closer at what goes into each syrup:

Orgeat Ingredients

  • Almond extract
  • Sugar or simple syrup
  • Rose water or orange flower water
  • Vodka or brandy (optional)

The almond extract provides the primary almond taste. Sugar or simple syrup sweetens the mixture. Rose or orange flower water lends its subtle floral aromas and fruity brightness. A splash of vodka or brandy helps preserve the syrup.

Traditional orgeat was made by soaking pulverized almonds in water to extract their oils and then straining out the solids. Modern versions generally use almond extract instead for simplicity.

Almond Syrup Ingredients

  • Almond extract
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Bitters almond extract (optional)

Almond syrup starts with sugar and water to make a simple syrup base. Almond extract provides the nuts’ distinctive aroma and taste. A few drops of bitter almond extract can add extra depth, but it is not required.

The basic ingredients produce a straightforward syrup highlighting the flavor of almonds. Without added components like rose water, the syrup has a one-note flavor profile compared to the more complex orgeat.

Production Methods

Both orgeat and almond syrup come together quickly by heating sugar and water with almond extract until the sugar fully dissolves. However, the extra ingredients in orgeat require a few more steps.

To make orgeat:

  1. Make a simple syrup by combining sugar and water. Heat until dissolved.
  2. Add almond extract and a splash of orange flower or rose water. Stir together.
  3. Allow to cool fully, then refrigerate. The syrup will keep for 2-3 weeks.

For almond syrup:

  1. Make a simple syrup by combining sugar and water. Heat until dissolved.
  2. Stir in almond extract. Taste and add more extract or additional simple syrup to adjust sweetness as needed.
  3. Allow to cool completely before storing in the fridge. Keeps for up to 1 month.

The extra ingredients in orgeat mean it takes a little more time to pull together. But both syrups ultimately use the same basic process of dissolving sugar into aromatized water to create the final product.

Taste and Uses

Let’s explore how orgeat and almond syrup differ when it comes to flavor and best uses:


Orgeat has a more pronounced almond taste compared to almond syrup due to the use of both bitter and regular almond extracts. It is intensely nutty, aromatic, and distinctly almond-forward.

The added components also give orgeat a more complex flavor with subtle floral notes from rose water or orange flower water. This can lend a perfume-like quality.

Almond syrup tastes purely of sweet almond without any extra flavors. The almond taste is not quite as assertive as in orgeat. The overall flavor profile comes across as more straightforward and direct.


Here are the common uses for each syrup:

Orgeat Uses

  • Cocktails – Orgeat is an ingredient in classic cocktails like the Mai Tai
  • Mocktails – Add to soda or juices for a flavored non-alcoholic drink
  • Ices and snow cones – Sweeten chilled desserts
  • Custards and puddings – Mix into creamy desserts
  • Cakes and pastries – Brush on cakes or use in baking recipes
  • French toast and waffles – Drizzle over breakfast treats

Almond Syrup Uses

  • Coffees and teas – Sweeten and flavor hot drinks
  • Pancakes and oatmeal – Top baked goods and cereals
  • Yogurt – Stir into plain yogurt for added flavor
  • Milkshakes – Blend into milkshakes and smoothies
  • Granola and muesli – Pour over granola for crunch
  • Fruit salads – Drizzle over mixed fresh fruit

In cocktails, orgeat’s complex flavor is often preferred over almond syrup. For cooking and baking, both work well to provide almond flavor. Almond syrup makes a simple topping for pancakes, yogurts, etc. when just a touch of almond flavor is desired.


Though both are sugar-based syrups, there are some small nutritional differences between orgeat and almond syrup:


Since orgeat contains almond extract rather than whole almonds, it does not contain fiber or protein. A 1-tablespoon (15ml) serving provides:

  • Calories: 105
  • Sugar: 27g
  • Carbs: 27g
  • Fat: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

Almond Syrup

Like orgeat, almond syrup lacks whole almonds so it does not offer fiber or protein. A 1-tablespoon (15ml) serving has:

  • Calories: 52
  • Sugar: 13g
  • Carbs: 14g
  • Fat: 0g
  • Protein: 0g

While the counts can vary based on specific recipes, orgeat generally contains slightly more calories and sugar due to its richer, more intense almond flavor. But both should be used moderately given their high sugar content. Those looking to limit sugar may want to find low-sugar ways to thin out and dilute the syrups while preserving almond taste.

Price and Availability

When it comes to availability and cost, there are some differences:

  • Orgeat – As a specialty ingredient, orgeat may be harder to find than basic almond syrup. It is stocked by some liquor stores, gourmet grocers, and bartending supply stores, averaging $10-$15 for a 375ml bottle. Online retailers offer additional options.
  • Almond syrup – More widespread availability as a general baking ingredient. Prices average $5 to $10 for a 250ml bottle. Sold at most large supermarkets and specialty cooking stores.

Orgeat’s limited production compared to standard almond syrup makes it a bit pricier and tougher to locate. But the striking flavor makes it worthwhile for cocktail enthusiasts or those wanting an upscale, artisanal ingredient. With its simpler flavor, almond syrup satisfies basic needs at a lower cost.

Making Your Own Orgeat and Almond Syrup

You can easily make both syrups at home for full control over the ingredients. Here are simple DIY recipes:

Homemade Orgeat

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond extract
  • 2 tablespoons rose water or orange flower water
  • Pinch of sea salt
  1. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the sugar and stir continuously until fully dissolved, 2-3 minutes.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in the almond extract, rose or orange flower water, and salt.
  3. Allow to fully cool, then transfer to a container. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.

Homemade Almond Syrup

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond extract
  • Pinch of sea salt
  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring frequently, until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Store in the refrigerator.

Making DIY versions allows you to tweak the flavors to your liking. Add more almond extract for robust flavor or an extra splash of rose water to orgeat if desired.


Get answers to some common questions about orgeat and almond syrup:

Is orgeat the same thing as almond syrup?

No, while similar, they are different products. Orgeat contains added floral flavors from rose/orange flower water, giving it a more complex taste. Almond syrup has a simpler, pure almond flavor without added components.

Can you substitute almond syrup for orgeat?

In some cases, yes. Almond syrup can be used in place of orgeat in cocktails, desserts, and other recipes, but the flavor will be more one-dimensional, missing the floral notes in orgeat. For the true intended flavor, orgeat is best. But almond syrup can work in a pinch.

Is almond syrup just made with almonds and sugar?

Typically no, almond syrup is made by infusing simple syrup (sugar and water) with almond extract. Some recipes may use a small amount of blanched, ground almonds, but the majority of the almond flavor comes from extract, not whole almonds.

Does orgeat contain dairy?

No, it is traditionally non-dairy and made from sugar, almond extract, and flower waters. Some modern recipes may add cream or milk, but traditional orgeat is dairy-free. Always check ingredients for milk if avoiding dairy.

Can you make an almond syrup without extract?

Yes, you can make an almond-infused simple syrup by boiling blanched almonds in water and straining out the solids. However, this will provide a much milder almond flavor than using extract. The extract ensures robust, pure almond taste.


While orgeat and almond syrup may seem interchangeable at first glance, they are distinct products with unique flavors. Orgeat stands out for its intense almond taste and perfumed citrus blossom notes, making it ideal for cocktails. Almond syrup has a simpler, subtler almond profile perfect for subtly enhancing coffees, pancakes, yogurts and more.

Both make great additions to the pantry for their versatility. Orgeat brings the spirit of old-school cocktail culture. Almond syrup satisfies everyday needs for a touch of nutty sweetness. Whip up your own versions at home for the freshest taste. With their aromatic almond flavors, both syrups can elevate drinks and dishes, so stock up and experiment. Just be sure to use orgeat when a recipe calls for its specific floral complexity to get the intended results.

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