The tiki movement’s secret ingredient is finally getting its day in the sun thanks to two L.A. hospitality vets Kevin Saharin and Jen Baker—of Melrose Umbrella Co. and Bagatelle fame—who’ve crafted the first all-natural, cane- and almond-based 40-proof orgeat liqueur. The product, aptly named L’Orgeat, is now available across L.A.
Why make an orgeat liquor?
Jen Baker: Kev made a million variations of orgeat syrup but was always let down by their lack of shelf stability and consistency. One day he had this aha moment and realized all those issues could be eliminated by taking it from a syrup to a spirit.
Kevin Saharin: We found a way to take this iconic flavor profile and give it a durability it never had before.
What was the most difficult part about making L’Orgeat?
KS: Learning what best accentuates the almonds’ flavor. Lots of trial and error.
Is it daunting to take the reins of such a storied ingredient?
KS: Tiki is steeped in tradition, and orgeat has been a part of that since its inception. But we see it more as reinventing a classic; we can make it a more bar-friendly and accessible ingredient to bartenders and beyond.
Where can L.A. imbibers find L’Orgeat?
JB: Josh Goldman’s mai tai with L’Orgeat over at Citizen, Maita’I Roa Ae. The best.
KS: Avery Underhill created a brilliant tiki push pop over at Break Room 86 that is perfect for a hot day. Or head over to my grandma’s house. She makes the dopest sticky toffee pudding with L’Orgeat as her new favorite addition.
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