This is a recipe from Jim Meehan’s short-lived Prarie School. My partner and I went there the night we decided to marry. We’d had a nice dinner, and a big discussion, and wanted to put a bow on the evening with a nice cocktail. This was one that we got.

I was excited to make it since I’ve been looking for a reason to use Dave Arnold’s any-nut orgeat recipe (from Liquid Intelligence) for a long time. You’ll need gum arabic, xanthan gum, and a drug scale.

I’m assuming that the recipe is basically the same as the recipe Meehan published for the Cameron’s Kick in his Bartender’s Manual. The Prairie School menu referenced the Cameron’s Kick as the inspiration for this one.

I also added saline, because I add saline to anything with citrus juice.

Pistachio Orgeat

For nut milk:

  • 600 grams very hot water
  • 200 grams nut of your choice

For every 500 grams nut milk:

  • 1.58 grams gum arabic
  • 0.38 gram xanthan gum
  • 500 grams granulated sugar

With a high-power blender, blend hot water and nuts and then pour this nut milk through a nut milk bag or other filter. Blend gums into nut milk in a blender, then blend in sugar.

You can harvest the nut solids after the straining step and turn it into some kind of baked good. I tried to make lemon-pistachio sugar cookies but they melted like all get-out so I’m still working on that aspect.

Shamrock Shake

  • 1 ounce Japanese Whiskey
  • 1 ounce Irish Whiskey
  • 0.75 ounce lemon juice
  • 0.5 ounce pistachio orgeat
  • drop saline solution

Shake and serve in a coupe glass.

The shamrock shake and the books that inspired it. The menu stated that this used Nikka Coffey Grain and Redbreast 12. Prarie School was very high-end. They were on the ground floor of Google’s big new Chicago office and a block away from the Aviary. Redbreast and Nikka certainly make a beautiful drink. I’ve substituted Akashi and Mars Iwai for the Nikka, and they’re both okay. The Mars is pretty phenolic-smoky, which I don’t really like.

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