I'm at the end of my Snack Happy Challenge with the Almond Board of California. After three weeks of carrying a neat little tin of almonds in my handbag (particularly useful at Blogtacular, which I'll be writing up very soon!) and eating a handful every day, I've really noticed the positive effect on my energy levels and wellbeing. And so, I'm celebrating with a glass of this delicious fizz.
One of my most vivid memories of childhood holidays in rural France involves food and drink (n'est pas). The heat of the car on long drives would prove too much (this was long before air conditioning was commonplace) and so my brother and I would beg our parents to stop at one of the picturesque little roadside cafes found in every village we passed. The more rustic of cafes did not serve the 7-up or Orangina that we craved; instead, our options were limited and, out of necessity, we grew to love the classic citron pressé. The raw ingredients - fresh lemon juice, ice cubes, sugar and water - would arrive on a tray, ready for us to mix to our own taste. Can you imagine anything that could possibly feel more sophisticated to two rather lumpen English pre-teens? Perhaps superseded only by the Brut de Pomme (an apple drink we swore made us drunk).
Fast forward many years to the cafe at the newly opened Lido. The drinks menu was as beautiful and innovative as the Lido itself, with pineapple and mint coolers or cucumber seltzers on offer to the thirsty swimmers and spectators alike. The standout drink was an almond pressé - a sweet, lemony fizz with a marzipan seam running through it. My friend Alice and I used to go there regularly, mainly just for the almond pressé as it was so unlike any drink we'd tried before. And then the fateful day arrived - the almond pressé was taken off the menu.
Here it is, recreated using homemade almond syrup from scratch. You can also buy almond syrup - look out for Monin orgeat syrup.
First, make a lemon syrup:1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Juice of eight lemons
Put the sugar and water into a pan together and heat until the sugar dissolves.
Set aside, and add the juice once the syrup mixture has cooled a little.
Pour into a bottle, seal and store in the fridge.
To make the almond syrup (or 'orgeat' as it's known in the cocktail trade):680g almonds
4 cups sugar
2 cups water
1 tbsp orange flower water
Toast the almonds in a large pan over medium-high heat, tossing frequently until fragrant, about 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the almonds, sugar and water to a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from the heat, cover and let stand for at least 12 hours. Strain repeatedly through muslin or coffee filters until the syrup is free from almonds and discard the solids. Add the orange blossom water, transfer to a bottle and store in the fridge.
To make the almond pressé:
Fill a glass with ice cubes.
Pour over 50ml almond syrup and 75ml lemon syrup.
Top with soda water, garnish with mint leaves and slices of lemon.
Cheers! Here's to almonds :)
And, for the perfect cocktail hour snack, try this Bloody Mary almonds recipe.
Read the previous Snack Happy Challenge post and recipes here.
This is a sponsored post.