The Curious History of Orgeat

History of Orgeat

If you ever ordered “what that person got” at the bar because it had that tiki vibe to it, odds are the bartender served you up some iteration of a Mai Tai.  And odds are you loved that weird combination of rum, Curacao liqueur, lime juice, and some intriguing syrup base you can’t put your finger on.  It’s tough not to—Mai Tai literally means “good” in Tahitian.

But that syrup—what exactly was that?  If your bartender was worth their tip that night, they hooked you up with something known as orgeat syrup.  It’s a mashup of almonds, cane sugar, and flowery water.  The tantalizing almond taste is particularly memorable to folks, as is the constant fight over how to actually pronounce the word “orgeat.” (I mean, is it or-GEE-at?  Or-ZHAT?  Does anyone else other than me care?  Life is such a mystery.)

Most people know orgeat because of one man who loved a good aventure: Victor Jules Bergeron Jr.  Back in the 1930s, Victor started up a rustic saloon across the street from his parents’ grocery store.  He called it “Hinky Dink’s,” an homage to his favorite World War I jam, “Hinky Dinky, Parlez-Vous.”

A few years after Victor opened the doors of Hinky Dink’s, he ventured down to some Caribbean islands to refresh his spirit.  About halfway through his journey, he encountered rum-based cocktails—a total gamechanger for the American drinking scene at that point.  Right after he got back to the States, he incorporated high-quality daiquiris, mojitos, and planters punch into the Hinky Dink’s menu.

But something still felt off.  Victor traveled down to Hollywood for some further inspiration, and in doing so discovered a burgeoning tiki bar called Don the Beachcomber.  After dining at this South Seas-style joint and meeting the owner (aptly named Donn Beach, of course), Victor remade Hinky Dink’s into the now famous Trader Vic’s.  Along the way of this transformation, he and Donn introduced the world to the Mai Tai; and, like any good pair of competing capitalists, the two bickered for decades as to who really came up with the drink.  

Victor and Donn traditionally get the credit for introducing the world to orgeat, but this sweet, balanced mixer predates their tiki bars by a long shot.  Hell, it even predates the Prohibition era.  

Cocktail historian (yeah, that’s a real thing, what a world) David Wondrich places orgeat as far back as the mid-19th century. Orgeat stakes its claim to one of the most famous pre-WWI cocktails in the world: the Japanese Cocktail.

According to Wondrich’s research, it was tough to justify anything other than a bit of sugar, lemon peel, bitters, absinthe, maraschino, or curacao in your cocktail before 1860.  Wondrich says the Japanese Cocktail was “one of the first ‘evolved’ cocktails on record, where the additional ingredients are more than a dash.”

Ironically, the Japanese Cocktail didn’t come from Japan, nor did it have any Japanese ingredients.  Its birth back in 1860 was intended to honor the first Japanese diplomatic trip to the United States.  Some guy named Tommy had a passion for his cocktails, introduced them to his new Japanese friends, and the rest is history.  

No matter how far orgeat goes back in our history, it’s never been a better time to add it to your next batch of cocktails.  Whether you need it to stave off 50 rabid customers at your bar or impress your friends at the next deck bash, it’s the perfect little sweet and balanced aftertaste that drink needs.  And hey, what do you know—we have some pretty on point Original Orgeat ourselves.  Test out our authenticity, love it, and tell your friends all about this super relevant cocktail history you now totally know about.

SodaStream+BG Reynolds=Best Summer Ever

summer cocktails

America is really good at a lot of things.  We beat the laws of nature and were first in flight.  We were the first nation to land on the moon.  We figured out how to mass produce automobiles.  We created and commercialized cell phones.  We were the foremost advocates and experts behind the birth of the Internet.  

With that in mind, as this Fourth of July rolls around, you can feel a bit of passion and patriotism for your country and all its accomplishments.  However, one thing we’re not so good at?  Understanding basic science.  According to a new report by the Pew Research Center, we can get by the super easy questions (i.e. we know the core of the earth is hotter than the crust, nailed it), but we fall by the wayside when the questions get more complicated (did you know water boils at a lower temperature in Denver than it does Los Angeles?  Crazy.).

So an Israeli company that specializes in a machine that forces carbon dioxide through a threading system into filtered water may have a tough time selling their scientific wares to Americans, right?  Wrong.  That company is SodaStream, and their machine that creates carbonated fizzy water has been all the rage for years now.  While the machine dates to a 1903 London gin distiller named W&A Gilbey, most Americans became familiar with the concept of quality at-home carbonation when SodaStream International Ltd. went public in 2010.  Since then sales have skyrocketed—domestic revenue grew from $4.4 million in 2007 to $40 million in 2011.  

If you’re one of the 2.5 million American households with a SodaStream—or if you just love yourself some refreshing carbonated water on a hot summer day—you may be on the lookout for some cocktail ideas to combine with your passion.  At BG Reynolds, we’re passionate about taking this adventure with you, so check out a couple of our hot summer drink concepts to incorporate that fizzy fun into your next party.

Fizzy Mojito

Take 8 mint leaves, 1 part lime juice, 2 parts rum, 1 part BG Reynolds Orgeat, and your favorite fresh carbonated water.  Muddle the mint leaves and Original Orgeat, fill with crushed ice, add the rum and lime juice, and stir it up a bit.  Top off with your carbonated water, and beat the heat with this authentic and refreshing Fizzy Mojito.

Suggested pairings: grilled fish, jerk-flavored chicken, mango salsa, maybe even a taquito if you want to get crazy with your adventure.

Poppin’ Gimlet

This one is almost too easy: 2 oz gin, ½ oz BG Reynolds Lime Cordial, 1 wedge lime, topped off with a splash of your choice of carbonated water.  Four ingredients and a couple of minutes later and you’ve got a cocktail to wipe the sweat off your brow.  

Suggested pairings: cucumber sandwich, fish & chips, strong and fearsome cheese

What’s your Summer Buzz?

At BG Reynolds, we’re all about authenticity and passion.  Blair started this whole deal so he could deliver the ideal mixer to bartender and house partier alike.  This is our mission, and we want nothing more than to share it with you at your next bash.  So give one of these fizzy cocktails a shot, or go wild and do your own new thing.  If you find something original and crazy, let us know—we’d love to incorporate it on the BG Reynolds blog!  Now get out there and enjoy the summer.  Before you know it, we’ll be scheming about whiskey drinks to keep warm.

Cocktails So Easy You Can’t Mess Up

Cocktails

Look, we get it. Cocktails seem kind of hard to put together. You feel like you need a ton of knowledge, prep work, and artistic ability to pull off a great drink. And while that’s totally understandable, we want you to know one thing: it’s also complete nonsense.

Quality cocktails are meant to be approachable. We’re drinking alcohol, after all—this is supposed to be fun. BG Reynolds was founded on the idea that awesome mixers should be authentic and available to the professional bartender, aspiring mixologist, and backyard BBQ aficionado alike. With that in mind, check out some of these cocktail ideas and use a couple at your next party!

Rum Swizzle

What you need: 4 oz black rum, 4 oz gold rum, 5 oz pineapple juice, 5 oz orange juice, 2 oz BG Reynolds Falernum, 6 dashes of bitters

Grab a pitcher, crush up a bunch of ice till it fills about 1/3 of the container, add the rum, juice, BG Reynolds Falernum, and bitters. Mix and churn for a hot second until you notice frothing at the top. Strain into a martini glass and boom—you’ve got Bermuda’s national drink. It’s been around since the mid-18th century, and for good reason. It’s smooth and balanced, really perfect for that summer bash (or a winter one if you’re trying to ignore the biting cold and pretend that life is awesome and warm and what not).

Tequila Sunrise

What you need: 2 oz tequila, 4 oz orange juice, ¾ oz BG Reynolds Lush Grenadine

The Eagles were such a good band. I mean, when you open your shows with Hotel California, you know you’ve got some swagger and confidence. If you haven’t seen them live, you probably aren’t going to. Classic band-girls-fights issues. Real bummer. But if you want to honor that timeless band, flip on a live version of Tequila Sunrise, head into your kitchen, and whip up this classic for you and your guests.

Combine that tequila and OJ in a mixing glass. Then just add one cup of ice, stir, and strain into a glass with 1-2 cups of additional ice in it. Slowly pour in that BG Reynolds Lush Grenadine, sip slowly, and be thankful you and Don Henley shared some time in this world together.

Hurricane

What you need: 2 oz light rum, 2 oz dark rum, 2 oz BG Reynolds Passion Fruit, 2 oz pineapple juice, ½ lime (squeezed), 1 tablespoon BG Reynolds Lush Grenadine, ice cubes

Since we’re talking classic American rock, bring some Bob Dylan into your life with this super easy iteration of a Hurricane. Just mix the rums, BG Reynolds Passion Fruit, pineapple juice, squeezed lime juice, and BG Reynolds Lush Grenadine. When those are all set, strain over some glasses with ice in them, and get ready to blow your guests away.

Our Passion

We’re here to make cocktails easy and fun. Seriously—that’s why Blair started this whole shindig. So give some of these a shot, or use our mixers to come up with some adventure totally unique and new to the world. If you come up with something delicious, let us know and we’ll spread the word to the rest of the BG family!

Backyard Barbecues and BG: Match Made in Heaven

Barbecue and Cocktails

Summer is officially here, and that means one thing: backyard barbecue time. Whether you’re a full-blown carnivore chomping at the bit for some daylong smoked brisket or an environmentally conscious vegan who loves to light up the grill for vegetable kebabs and corn, BG Reynolds is here to provide the highest quality mixers for your summer adventure. Our options range from our classic and approachable Original Orgeat to the robust and authentic Cinnamon syrup. Whatever your summer barbecue needs are, let our handcrafted passion help you out. For some fun ideas, check out these awesome barbecue and cocktail mashups!

Pulled Pork Barbecue and a Hurricane

Do we even have to sell you on this mashup?  Pulled pork is an American classic, and there’s no better way to whip up a batch than on your backyard grill. The Hurricane is a New Orleans legacy crafted to cool you down on those brutally hot summer days. Together they represent the perfect storm—(pun intended)—for your next backyard bash.

We love our pulled pork in more of the Carolina-tradition, so check out this amazing recipe to get those taste buds flowing. But before you fire up the grill, make sure to mix up your Hurricane ahead of time. I mean, I guess you can cook without a cocktail, but…why?

For the best Hurricane, snag a cocktail shaker, and mix together 2 oz dark rum, 2 oz  light rum, 1.5 oz BG Reynolds Passion Fruit, 1 oz fresh orange juice, 1 oz lime juice, ½ oz BG Reynolds Rich Demerara, and ½ oz BG Reynolds Lush Grenadine. Strain that mixture into a large glass with as much crushed ice as you’d like. If you want to take this adventure to the next level, top that all off with a splash of 151 rum and get to work on that pulled pork masterpiece.

Grilled Cauliflower Wedges and a Moscow Mule

We love simple cocktails and simpler recipes. You can’t get much simpler than a 5-ingredient vegetarian grilling dish to go with a 5-ingredient cocktail.

First things first, let’s get that Moscow Mule running. Or walking—what exactly is it that mules do, anyways?  Regardless, all you’ll need for this summer cocktail is 1 ½ oz vodka, ½ oz lime juice, ½ cup ginger beer, 2 oz BG Reynolds Wild Ginger, and a few ice cubes. You don’t even need to shake this cocktail—just pour the vodka, lime juice, ginger beer, and BG Reynolds Wild Ginger over ice cubes in a mug, stir it around a bit, and sip on your perfect summer cocktail.

After that’s all set, fire up the grill and get to work on this incredibly easy grilled cauliflower recipe. It’s perfect for the vegetarian looking for a tasty option or the omnivore in need of some variety in their life, and the turmeric in the recipe is an ideal match for our BG Reynolds Wild Ginger.

What’s Cookin’, Good Lookin’?


We hope this will kick off your summer of grilling and cocktailing, but let us know what wild mash ups you come up with this season. We’re always on the hunt for new ideas, so feel free to drop us a line and your creation could make our blog!  Happy grilling, America.

BG Reynolds makes it Perfectly!

BG REYNOLDS AND PERFECT CO LAUNCH TIKI PACK

BG Reynolds and Perfect Company have launched the new Tiki Pack of over 20 classic and new cocktail recipes today, available for users of the Perfect Drink app and Perfect Drink Pro scale. Each recipe features drink descriptions, history, and gorgeous photography, all combined with the ease of use of a simple app, available for iOS and Android. To get the Tiki Pack or simply check the recipes, please visit the BG Reynolds Tiki Collection on the Perfect Company site.

To make world-class cocktails with Perfect Drink Pro, users place the included shaker or any drink container on the wireless scale, follow the onscreen pouring instructions and watch as a virtual glass fills up in real time on their smart device. Perfect Drink Pro knows the density of each ingredient and senses the perfect pour.  The app alerts users when to stop pouring and even compensates for over-pouring by instantly readjusting the drink's other ingredients. 

The Perfect Drink app includes more than 400 drink recipes searchable by category, liquor or other key ingredient, and users can also add their own recipes.  Other app features allow users to adjust a recipe's serving size, create custom cocktail menus for any gathering, and save drink variations along with an original photo. A virtual Cabinet allows users to catalog on-hand ingredients, generate a list of cocktails that can be made using those ingredients, and also make a shopping list of any missing ingredients. 

Perfect Drink Pro includes a stainless steel wireless scale (Bluetooth 4.0), free app (downloaded for free from the Apple App Store or Google Play), 750ml stainless steel shaker and device stand.  Requires three AAA batteries (not included).  MSRP: $99.99. 

About Perfect Company
Headquartered in Vancouver, WA, Perfect Company specializes in developing and manufacturing unique technology-based products for consumers.   Among the company's current product offerings are Perfect Drink® and Perfect Bake™. Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/perfectbakeapp https://www.facebook.com/perfectdrinkapp and Twitter https://twitter.com/makeitperfectly. For more information, visit http://perfectbakeapp.com/ and http://perfectdrinkapp.com/ 

About BG Reynolds
BG Reynolds crafts the finest quality syrups and mixers out of Portland, OR. From his experience as a bartender, Blair brings the best ingredients into all of his products, so that bartenders and home mixologists can pour their mixers with pride. For products, recipes, adn to purchase, visit BG Reynolds at http://bgreynolds.com