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Friday, April 23, 2010

The Opal – a gem of a Cocktail

Thumbing through the Savoy Cocktail Book turned up the Opal cocktail recipe.  There is one unusual ingredient in this cocktail that, surprisingly, is available in the Salt Lake City area: Orange Flower Water.  A recent shopping trip to Dan’s groceries on Fort Union Boulevard turned up bottles of two rather exotic cocktail ingredients: Orange Flower Water and Rose Flower Water, both made in France.  These small, three ounce bottles were out of the way, up on the top shelf, but my mixologist’s eye spotted them.  In case you’re having trouble finding cocktail ingredients in the Salt Lake City area, there is a trick to it: look in the beverage section of the grocery store.  You never know what you will find there, but these two French Flower Waters are my most unusual find.  The large grocery chains, and even Target, usually have a cocktail section tucked away down the beverage aisle where you can find some cocktail mixers, which are usually to be avoided, along with specialty items like Ginger Beer, Angostura® Bitters (Target even had bitters during the recent bitters drought), and the two Flower Waters.  Stores sometimes stock cocktail straws and other supplies in this section.

The Savoy recipe is provisioned to serve six, but the 3:2:1 ratio was easy to convert down to a single serving.  The Savoy is vague (as usual) on the amounts of sugar and Orange Water, so you might want to experiment.  I would start with a three drop dash of Orange Water and increase it slightly if desired – be careful it doesn’t overpower the other ingredients.   My old stand-by Bombay Sapphire® did good service for Gin in this cocktail.  Use fresh Orange Juice if you can, and finish with Cointreau® or Grand Marnier® if you have any, otherwise substitute Triple Sec.


1 ½ oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
1 oz freshly squeezed Orange Juice
½ oz Grand Marnier
1 dash Orange Flower Water
¼ tsp Simple Syrup or ½ tsp sugar

Add the ingredients to a shaker 2/3 full of ice.  Shake until nice and icy cold.  Strain into a pre-chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an Orange twist or a wedge of Orange.  Congratulate yourself on finding Orange Flower Water as you enjoy your first sip.


  1. Just got around to making this. Had the orange flower water for a while, and it was time to use some. I made this for my wife who prefers Gin based drinks. I made the Avenue from the Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails book. It's Bourbon and Calvados based. Instead of OJ, the other uses passion fruit syrup. The Opal was much lighter and crisp. Very nice. Thanks.

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed the Opal. There are some very pleasant surprises in the Savoy, and this is one of them.