So you decide to make yourself a mai tai. You’re going down the list of ingredients and you see orgeat.

Orgeat? O great! Where am I going to get that? What is it, anyway? Some kind of orangeade? How do you make or get a thing like that anyways? It barely makes sense. What do you have to do, garrote an ogre at an orgy with a Tuareg toe-rag? How do you even say it? It almost makes you want to rage

But of course you probably found your mai tai recipe online, and you can very quickly find out online what orgeat is too. And, fittingly for something that looks like orangeade (the name does – not the actual thing), it gets its name from barley and is flavoured with almonds.

Ah-yep. Barley in French is orge, from Latin hordeum by way of Occitan (a language of the south of France). Originally the beverage was simple barley water, but its flavour was improved with almonds and sugar. And it turns out that the barley doesn’t really add much of anything to it, so usually now it’s just made with almonds, and perhaps a bit of rose water – or maybe a little orange flower water. In its current form, it’s a syrup with much almond oil, and it makes an emulsion in water. (But it beats the heck out of “almond milk,” which tastes like Play-Doh.)

So, just to run through that again, you’re making a tropical cocktail with rum and orange juice, plus lime and curaçao, and it calls for an ingredient that has a strange name, French as it turns out, a name that looks a bit reminiscent of orange but is named after barley but the barley was supplemented, and then supplanted, by almonds. Why have a cocktail now? Your head is probably already spinning. And of course you could sub in almond extract, but wouldn’t you regret it at least a bit?

Oh, and if you’re wondering how it’s pronounced, well, you could say it in the anglicized “orgy at” way, but really, it’s like a snip from “Eva or Zsa Zsa Gabor,” or perhaps like Borgia without the B, at least the way some people say it.

5 responses to “orgeat

  1. Gives me a thirst for a good old Singapore Sling. I ordered that at a bar a few months ago and the infant bartender looked at me and said, “What? Do you have a receipe for that?”

  2. Enjoyed reading! Your essays are excellent. I came to know about you because of something you did more than a decade ago( Intriguing, isn’t it?)! Yes, because of the Peter Schmies’ test and list of literati by Miyaguchi. I was just checking on all the top scorers ( was curious to know whether they survived or not!) and found your website! It is true that your website is only thing extant and active since it was referred to in that list ( apart from High IQ societies and perhaps except Bob’s website which is out there but not in an active mode!). It was nice to have discovered your website and kudos to you for having kept it beautifully active all these days! It’s very wonderful that when I trace back to the creator ( or medium) of those wonderful tests —i fail to find him. He is hidden, has almost disappeared methinks!

    • At least Miyaguchi’s website is still there, still with that same old-style URL… I think Schmies’s list must not have been updated in some time… I guess I’m still near the top? I also take pride in knowing that I was one of the two top scorers (tied) in Hoeflin’s first norming of the Ultra Test. That and $1.60 will get you a coffee… No one accepts that test anyway, and that score wasn’t enough to get me anywhere I wasn’t already… but one takes small pride in one’s little wins. 😉

      I’m so out of touch with the latest in IQ jockery. Is anyone making any decent new tests? The internet really made a lot of trouble for the Hoeflin/Langdon model and those societies that rely on that sort of thing.

  3. Yes, you’re still near the top! That you were a top scorer in Ultra test is a news to me! The last I took were some Paul Coijimans’ tests.

    Yeah, you’re right about bloody online history of IQ societies!

    You can do me a favor, by suggesting any references online, where I might find individuals who are at least somewhere near to you ( if not equal to you) as far as range and depth of vocabulary is concerned. Thanks in advance! 🙂

    Have you personally met anyone with a superior vocabulary?

    • Oh, there are a number of good word nerds online. Have a look at my blogroll (on the right side of this page) and check out some of the regular commenters. People whose vocabularies are superior to mine? Don’t know — I’ve probably met some, but it’s not something one makes a detailed comparison of in one’s casual encounters. I’m sure some of the people I know online could give me a run for my money if it came down to a contest.

      Hoeflin didn’t publish the names, so I don’t even know who I tied with. I just got my own report — 68/72. He included a graph showing the distribution of scores, so I could see where I sat. (I got a 42 on the Titan. Super annoying. One more bloody point — !) I haven’t done competitive IQ tests in a while… 😛

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