Steel Cut Oats
Steel Cut Oats

After working on homemade almond orgeat and understanding the basis and history of it, I decided to try some other versions. Originally a grain based beverage using barley, Orgeat, or Horchata, it is made with rice in Latin America, Chufa in Spain, and widely known using Almonds for that important “secret” ingredient in a classic Mai Tai.

I was experimenting with different nuts and grains for making orgeat at this time and I needed to come up with a non-nut orgeat for a competition that included judge Bridget Albert who has a nut allergy. I decided to try oats and it worked wonderfully.

It is a great base syrup for many tropical or hot drinks. It adds a creamy texture without being dairy and finishes clean with no cloying texture. I’ve mixed it with Tequila, Bourbon, Cognac, Rum and Gin with great success. It’s a lot more versatile than one might think. It is also great with water shaken on ice and served in a tall glass. A very refreshing N/A summer drink.

The following recipe is very simple and worth the small effort to make it at home.  You wont need a ton of oats to make this work as you can see from the following recipe.

2 Cups Steel Cut Oats
 1 Gallon Water
 3 qts White Cane Sugar
Saigon Cassia Cinnamon Pieces in cloth jelly bag (1 oz)
Cooking oats and water

In large saucepan add oats and water. Always give yourself room to work with in sauce pans or any pans. Slowly cook the oats on lowest heat setting, covered on stove top burner. Stir often. Do not bring to a boil or simmer.

This should be heated for 3-4 hours.


When done (the oats will be fat and tender) turn off heat and allow to rest to room temperature. Refrigerate this until cool. Remove Cinnamon pieces. With a hand immersion blender, blend this mixture well for about 3 minutes. Let rest for 5-10 minutes and blend again for 2 minutes. Fine strain this into a container that you will now add the sugar to.

Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Add the cinnamon from the jelly bag back to this mixture. Stir. Now fine strain again and you are done. Keep this refrigerated for up to 6 weeks.

It should have a creamy texture like milk, not gelatinous or gooey.

Hand Blender


This can be used in place of almond orgeat for those with nut allergies. It can be used mixed with water and shaken for a delicious and refreshing non-alcoholic long drink in the summer. It is fantastic in many original cocktails as well. It mixes wonderfully with Tequila, Whiskey, Brandy, Rum.

One of my favorite ways to use this Oat Cream is in an apple butter, hot buttered rum. It makes the hot buttered rum that is satisfying. Creamy, silky smooth texture.. Just what you want when coming in from the cold.

Another simple cocktail/cooler is Rum or Tequila, the Steel Cut Oat Cream/Horchata, fresh lime

Cooking apple butter, oat orgeat, cream butter, water
1/2 Cup of Unsalted Butter (1 Stick)
3/4 Cup Apple butter (apple butter recipe)
1 Cup Oatmeal Orgeat
2-3 Cinnamon Sticks
3 Cups Water
Pinch of Salt
5-8 servings

Add all ingredients to sauce pan. Bring to a simmer. Stir frequently.

In hot drink mug or coffee mug (8-10 oz) add 2 oz of aged rum. Top with hot butter, apple and oat mixture. The butter will stay at the top so serve with a ladle, stir mixture first with ladle so as to mix the butter in evenly.
2 oz Silver/Plata Tequila
1.5 oz Steel Cut Oat Horchata
.5 oz Lime Juice
Stir or shake
Strain over fresh iced rocks glass
Lime garnish
2 oz Quality White Rum
1.5 oz Steel Cut Oat Orgeat
.5 oz Swedish Punsch (Arrack Punch)
.5 oz Fresh Lime Juice
Lime Slice
Angostura Bitters
In a shaker tin filled with ice, add all ingredients except the bitters. Shake hard and strain over cracked ice in rocks glass.
Top with a few dashes of Angostura.
Short Straw
Garnish with lime wheel or slice



Autumn in the Midwest leading to the holidays means it’s time for hot drinks. Apple Butter is a great fall ingredient to Hot Toddies, Hot Buttered Rums and hot teas…as well as toasted muffins, waffles and pancakes.

From start to finish it will take about 48 hours in your oven, but the concentrated and caramelized flavor of the apples and spices is well worth the time. The ingredients are simple. The process is the magic. Investing the time and attention to bring something special out of these simple ingredients is well worth it. It will also make your home smell like spiced apple pie for a few days. Not bad dividends.

10 pounds of assorted Apples
1 quart of Fresh Pressed Apple Cider
1/4 cup of brown sugar
pinch of salt
4 Cinnamon Sticks
6 Allspice Berries
6 Whole Cloves
1 Tblsp Mace

Bamix Immersion Blender

Kuhn-Rikor Peeler    

Peeler (Kuhn-Rikon Swiss peeler is best I have ever used)
Dutch Oven (aprox 9.5 qts, I use the Le Creuset 9.5 qt French Oven)
 Sharp Chefs Knife
Cutting Board
2 qt Sauce Pan
2 Large Mixing bowls
Immersion Blender

You can use many different apples for apple butter. I like to use an assortment of sweet and tart apples. My ratio was about 2/3 sweet Braeburn apples to Granny Smith.

Cinnamon, Clove, Allspice, Mace

There are many ways to go about starting the process and most recipes I have found add chopped whole apples to the dutch oven and then use a food mill to clean the apple from the peels and cores. That is a messy process that sucks. But the peels provide flavor and natural pectin, so we don’t want to just discard them. I decided to split the process by peeling the apples and coring them. I discarded the cores with the seeds as they are bitter. I kept the ends and peels of the apples, putting them in a mixing bowl or into the sauce pan to await the cooking process. 
Apple Slicer/Corer
All the cleaned apple goes straight into the large dutch oven. Add 1/3 of the apple cider to the apples in the dutch oven and cover. Put into an oven at 300 degrees.
Cleaned Apples in Dutch oven
To the peels in the sauce pan add the remaining cider and all spices and simmer, covered, on low on stove top. Stir occasionally and simmer for about 45-60 min. Until the peels and apple bits are very soft and mushy. Allow to cool and strain the juices. This does not need to be fine strained. Just separate the peels and spices from the juice and apple.
Peels, ends, spices, cider

Add this juice now to the cooking apples. This should be already about 1.5 hours in oven after cooking the peels and straining. Cook this for another 3 hours covered.
Strained spiced juice

After 3 hours, the apples should be very soft and mushy. Remove dutch oven and use an immersion blender to puree the apples until smooth. Add a pinch of salt, the brown sugar and stir into apples.

Cooking apples with spiced juice

Cook one more hour covered. After one hour you will remove the top and stir and return to the oven uncovered. Lower heat in oven to 250 degrees. This will now enter the longest portion  of the process.

Periodic stirring is necessary to keep the apple butter uniform in the slow dehydration and carmelization process. The apples will eventually reduce by about 2/3. When the top of the apple butter begins to brown, it is time to stir. Probably about once every 30-45 minutes or so.

Pureed apples cooking with top off

Overnight the oven should be set low about 200 degrees or turned off if you plan to be asleep for a long time or are away. You can set the oven to 200 again in the morning.
The apple butter will continue to brown, thicken and reduce.
Apple butter midway through process

This process cannot be rushed by turning up the heat. There is too much of a chance that the apple butter will burn. You can turn off the oven if you will not be home for several hours. You can resume the process when you return. The Apple Butter will be chocolate brown when down.

Finished Apple Butter

Apple Butter in clean 12 oz jars

The Apple Butter will be stable indefinitely. Store in refrigerator.


You can do this several ways. One is to make a compound butter with the apple butter, unsalted butter and some brown sugar. The other is to add the apple butter, butter, brown sugar and hot water to sauce pan and bring to a boil.

1/2 Cup of Butter (1 Stick)
1/2 Cup Apple butter
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar

3-4 servings

Butter and Apple butter at room temp. Add all ingredients to a food processor. Store covered in refrigerator.

In 8-10 oz hot drink mug add 2 oz aged rum, one or two large spoonfuls of the compound butter. Top with boiling hot water and stir.

With this method and an airpot of hot water you can make drinks to order.

Same Quantities add to sauce pan. Add 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil.
In hot drink mug or coffee mug add 2 oz of aged rum. Top with hot butter mixture.

Try a big spoonful of Irish Oatmeal Horchata in the cup for the most creamy and velvety satisfying buttered rum I have ever had. Substitute for the brown sugar.

Recipe for Irish Oat Horchata/Orgeat coming soon!