It’s Friday … Have a Drink: Alligator

It’s Friday … Have a Drink: Alligator
Our weekly recommendation.

This cocktail is an interesting, almond-flavored treat. It’s not a common drink – if you Google “alligator cocktail” you mostly get terrible, Midori-based drinks with names designed to be offensive – but I’m using it to illustrate a common class of cocktails: Martini-like drinks where some other liqueur is substituted for the vermouth.

This entry features orgeat, which is pronounced “or-zhah” (some people pronounce the T). It’s made from rose or orange water, almonds, and sugar, with the almonds really taking center stage. It’s much less spicy than Amaretto and doesn’t contain any alcohol. Mainly used as an accent flavor, orgeat is most commonly found in the Mai Tai. We’ll get to one of those soon.

The original recipe I found for this drink called for nearly a 1:1 ratio of orgeat to gin, which would be insanely sweet for my tastes, so I took that down quite a bit. It also calls for lemon balm spirit, but that’s hard to find, so I substituted two generous dashes of lemon bitters. What we end up with is an herbal liqueur mixing surprisingly well with an almond-based sweetener. It’s really nice!

The lesson to take from this drink is that you can basically mix gin with a small amount of any sweet or semi-sweet liqueur, and your odds of having a quality drink at the end of it are pretty good. Consider trying cherry liqueur, or pick a fortified wine that’s not vermouth, such as Cocchi Americano. You can even use a simple fruit juice. The possibilities are nearly endless, and the limited ingredient list makes it a good way to start experimenting with your own cocktails.

Combine ingredients in a pint glass over ice and stir thoroughly. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with an orange twist.

This article is a modified and enhanced version of a post that ran on my nightly cocktail blog, DrinkShouts. Liquors in parentheses are what I used when I made this recipe, and are included as suggestions.


Christopher Buecheler

Christopher Buecheler is a novelist, a web developer, an award-winning amateur mixologist, a brewer, a guitarist, a drummer, and an NBA enthusiast. He lives a semi-nomadic life with his wife and two cats, currently residing in Providence, RI. You can learn more at his website,