Green Beret Cocktail for St. Patrick’s Day

Though there’s nothing wrong with raising a green beer or a stiff stout to toast on St. Patrick’s day, I prefer a cocktail. Recently, Aron has been making us batches of orgeat—a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar, and a bit of orange blossom water—and we’ve been sipping it along with rum and lime juice. I first had the combination at a local Irish pub, DeVere’s—they call it a Green Beret—and it inspired a request for it at home.

It would be the perfect drink to kick off a St. Patrick’s Day feast.

Green Beret

1 oz light rum

1 oz fresh lime juice

1-1/2 oz Orgeat (pronounced “or-zsa”)

A note on Orgeat: It’s sweet and nutty and just a hint floral, and while I do think the homemade stuff is much better than the bottled, you can find it at well-stocked liquor stores as it’s also used in Mai Tais. In case you wish to make your own, I’ll include the recipe, below.

In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine all of the ingredients. We started with a simple 1:1:1 ration and decided we preferred more of the nutty flavor. You might adjust this ratio based on your own preferences and whether or not you make your own orgeat or buy it in a store. Shake and strain into a coupe. Garnish with lime.

Recipe adapted from Serious Eats

2 cups raw almonds, sliced or chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 teaspoon orange flower water
1 ounce vodka

1. Toast almonds at 400°F for 4 minutes, shaking after 2 minutes.

2. Cool almonds and then pulverize them with a blender or food processor.

3. In a saucepan, cook the sugar and water on medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture starts to boil, about 3 minutes, stirring constantly.

4. Add pulverized almonds and simmer on low heat, stirring frequently. When mixture is about to boil, remove from heat and cover. Let it sit for a minimum of 3 hours and no more than 12 hours.

5. Strain steeped mixture through three layers of cheesecloth into a bowl, squeezing the cloth as you go.

6. Add orange flower water and vodka, then stir. Funnel into glass jar or bottle.

Notes: If you use skin-on almonds, your orgeat will be darker in color. As we wanted a milky-white orgeat, we used blanched almonds. There is a subtle flavor difference, so it’s a matter of preference. Also, we substituted Splenda for sugar to cut down on the sugar—another option added by making our own.

Store in the refrigerator, for no more than 1 month. The syrup will separate. Shake before each use.

Looking for more St. Patrick’s Day inspiration? Here are five more cocktails, greened for the occasion! Do you have a favorite?

P.S. Non-Alcoholic beers, if you’re abstaining. A beer professor shares the proper way to pour. And a wonderful translated map of Ireland.

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