The Best Orgeat Roundup – Monin, Liber, Torani, Trader Vic’s, and Liquid Alchemist

The Best Orgeat Roundup – Monin, Liber, Torani, Trader Vic’s, and Liquid Alchemist

Orgeat — aka almond syrup — is one of those cocktail ingredients that you really can’t fake. Substituting regular syrup in a mai tai just doesn’t do the trick, as you really need that nuttiness to complete the drink — or anything else in which orgeat is called for.

Yes, you can make your own orgeat at home if you have a mountain of almonds, sugar, and infinite patience, or you can buy any number of commercially available versions, many of which are quite good.

But which one is best? We rounded up five big brands — including flavored sugar syrups and more artisanal products made from real almonds — and put them all to the test. All products were tasted solo as well as used in a mai tai (the recipe below is adapted from Martin Cate’s essential, classic version but uses an extra 1/4 oz of orgeat in lieu of sugar syrup). That’s right, folks, it’s an orgy of orgeats! Sorry, I had to say it.

Let’s dig in and get our almonds on.

Torani Almond Orgeat Syrup – Cane sugar syrup, with natural flavors. Milky white but translucent in color. Distinctly almondy on the nose, almost monotonously so. This one really surprises in the glass, giving a solid punch of almond to the drink, balancing out the citrus and the rum — and giving the drink the necessary, nutty finish. While wholly unassuming on its own, it’s a balanced syrup that makes for an end result that is surprisingly delightful. A- / $10 per 750ml bottle [BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON]

Trader Vic’s Orgeat Almond Syrup – High fructose corn syrup, with natural flavors. If anyone knows orgeat, it ought to be Trader Vic, right? An almost completely transparent product — the least opaque of the lot — it’s got a significant almond note on the nose, though there’s a vaguely artificial aroma to it. On the palate, however, it’s quite sweet, with an immediate rush of candied almond character. In the mai tai, the finished product was a bit heavy on the lime but still approachable, the nutty almond notes hanging in, just barely, to the finish. B+ / $9 per 750ml bottle 

Monin Almond Orgeat – Cane sugar syrup, with natural flavors. Barely translucent, with a strong, candied almond nose. Surprisingly lemony on the palate and plenty sweet, with a moderate, authentically almond sweetness. More syrup than almond. In the mai tai, the almond is largely lost, though the syrup does at least provide ample sweetness. Instead, the lime character dominates and the cocktail lacks that nutty underbelly. B- / $7 per 750ml bottle [BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON]

Liber & Co. Almond Orgeat Syrup – Fine-ground roasted almonds, cane sugar, and orange flower water. The most authentic recipe in this roundup, Liber’s orgeat is a ruddy shade of brown, and honestly not the most immediately appealing color. On its own, the syrup is mild, milky, and only a little sweet, with a distinctive, horchata-like cinnamon note to it. There’s also more of a sesame flavor over almond on the finish. As with the Monin, it’s surprisingly lost in the mai tai, where the lime does the heavy lifting. B- / $10 per 280ml bottle [BUY IT NOW FROM AMAZON]

Liquid Alchemist Orgeat – Almond milk, sugar, and sea salt. A similar shade of tan as Liber & Co.’s version, though a bit lighter in color. Really funky on the nose, with a woody, meaty aroma that’s hard to place and which is wholly unexpected. It’s sweeter on the tongue than expected from the aroma — which is good — but it’s still moderated, with a strong note of toasted sesame oil and a vegetal character. Not my favorite in a mai tai, either, which was significantly bitter and green on the back end. C+ / $10 per 150ml bottle

Well, color me shocked. Sugar syrups generally outpaced more traditional preparations here, both of which showcased some odd flavors in the mix. I love authenticity as much as the next guy, but — at least for me — Torani’s simple almond-flavored syrup did the job more effectively than anyone else, particularly those made with actual almond products.

Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself. Here’s the mai tai recipe we used for testing…

Mai Tai
2 ounces aged rum
3/4 ounce orgeat
3/4 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce triple sec

Shake all ingredients with lots of ice and strain into a rocks glass (or a short tiki mug) with fresh ice. Garnish with a used lime shell and a spring of mint.

Torani Almond Orgeat Syrup




Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.


  1. Tom Johnson on August 13, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    Excellent information! Personally, I prefer Liber & Co.’s orgeat in most of my recipes that call for it. I just finished a bottle of Small Hand Foods’ orgeat that was just ok. Thanks Christopher!

  2. Frederic on August 14, 2020 at 9:14 am

    There are two flavorings utilized in orgeat: real almonds (roasted or not) and almond extract to mimic bitter almonds and this isn’t even derived from almonds. Orgeat made from real almonds is subtle and earthy with a creaminess and a texture, and orgeat made from extract only is sometimes viscous from an emulsifier but without much texture and with a blaring almond note. Small Hands uses both.

  3. Robert Gregg on May 11, 2021 at 4:51 pm

    I think Liquid Alchemist makes the best Mai Tai! I think it’s the most natural tasting almond syrup in the bunch and has a rich creaminess that cuts through the subtle flavors. It’s also great in a Royal Hawaiian and Fogcutter too! I just follow the recipe on their website and am in cocktail paradise!

  4. Blake on August 28, 2021 at 6:53 pm

    Refreshing to read an article where somebody does the research, knows the topic, and doesn’t just go in for a product because it has craft slapped all over the label. I’ve made my own orgeat and even though it’s turned out well, for me the drink is always better when it’s similar to what you get in a bar that knows Mai Tai’s (and most of those are not making their own syrup). Wholly agree on Torani and Vic’s although I find Torani a bit overbearing if I don’t reduce the quantity just a bit. I leave out the simple as well! Good man!

  5. LVogt on May 12, 2022 at 2:45 pm

    Good info. Your recipe seems like it’s super almond forward. We worked out what we think is well balanced. 2 Rum (Appleton Estate Signature mixes really well) 1/2 lime juice, 1/2 Cointreau, 1/4 Orgeat (I’ve only tried Giffards but am looking forward to trying others)

  6. Julie Christine on November 15, 2023 at 9:43 am

    Hi, Thank you for the information on orgeat syrups! I was interested in nonalcoholic drinks and asked what exactly was in grenadine and was excited to find out there are other syrups. Now I will be able to try some and come up with some, nonalcoholic of course because I rarely drink and only about a shot of rum well deluded in a favorite soda!!!!jc

  7. LVogt on November 21, 2023 at 11:00 am

    I’ve had Liber & Co (~$.85/oz) and Latitude 29 (~$1.50/oz) which were both good. I don’t recall which I preferred.
    I buy Giffard (~$.71/oz) which is good and the least expensive and easy to find. It’s may not be as complex as some of the others but when it’s 1/4 to 1/2 oz in a MaiTai, the almond comes through the dark rums, lime, and orange liquor very nicely as far as I’m concerned.
    I found Liquid Alchemist (~$1.75/oz) to be bland. It costs twice as much as Giffard and you have to use twice as much to taste it. I only wish I could buy it smaller quantities. A full 750 ml (25.3 oz) bottle is way more than I need. I don’t use that much. But I split it up into small bottles with a bit of white rum and keep it refrigerated to preserve it.
    If I had the initiative I’d make my own but I don’t use enough to bother.
    2 Dark Rum
    1/2 Orange Liqueur (if you use a dry Curacao you may to split it with some brown-sugar simple syrup)
    1/4 Orgeat
    Dash Black Walnut bitters (personal option)
    5 drops 20% Saline solution

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