behind the bar: jen altman’s Morocco

Jen Altman is one of my favorite bloggers and photographers. I am captivated by her endless energy and creativity and all the fun she has with her three daughters. For this month’s Behind the Bar, Jen developed a cocktail based on her very recent magical photography retreat to Morocco. Appropriately named The Morocco, the drink’s spice-based syrup and orange liqueur capture the flavors of Jen’s trip. — Kristina

About Jen: Jen Altman is a photographer and writer. Her new book, Instant Love: How to Make Magic and Memories with Polaroids, will be released in May by Chronicle Books, and you can follow her cooking adventures — fueled by travel, her daughters and rock n’ roll — at The Nectar Blog. Click on these links to our entertaining archives for Jen’s recipes and beautiful photography: Chocolate and Walnut MandelbrotStrawberry-Basil Bread Pudding and Black-Spiced Rum Eggnog.

The full recipe for The Morocco continues after the jump . . .

The Morocco
Makes 2

For the coriander simple syrup (makes plenty to jar and save):

  • 1 c. water
  • 1 c. honey
  • 3T. coriander seeds


For the drink:

  • 2 oz. orange liqueur
  • 2 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1 oz. coriander simple syrup
  • 5–6 dashes of bitters



1. Heat the water, honey and coriander seeds over medium heat until it begins to boil. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour or longer; the longer it sits, the stronger the flavor. Drain the liquid from seeds and set aside.

2. To mix the drink, combine all ingredients (including the simple syrup, but not the seeds) over ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake and pour over ice and garnish with orange slices.

Photography and styling by Jen Altman

What Makes This Cocktail Special?

I just returned from co-leading an instant photography retreat in Marrakech. The combination of ingredients here is directly inspired from my recent travels to Morocco — and I can’t get enough of the combination of coriander and orange. Though the weather is warming, I’m almost looking forward to a cold evening to try this warmed, as well.

  1. teresita says:

    I looove her work! And that kitchen with the chalkboard wall too! Go Jane!

  2. I’m intrigued by the coriander simple syrup and can’t wait to give this a try!

  3. The colour is perfect, the taste must be too! i have a great feeling about it!!

  4. Susy says:

    This is great! I’ve been a fan of Jen’s for many years…she is one multitalented lady.
    Now I get the extra treat of getting to try her designer cocktail. : )

    ps. lovely photos too.

  5. jen’s work is amazing… have been smitten with her work ever since i first saw it.

  6. Claire says:

    This sounds delicious, and easy to make too! I’m pretty sure we have all the ingredients on hand already; I know what I’ll be drinking tonight. Thanks for sharing the recipe!

    PS: Lovely photos, too!

  7. Danielle says:

    sounds great! I love the idea of coriander and orange!

  8. Amy says:

    I love the glasses with their “bulge”. I want to copy the drink and the glasses. Could you share the source?

  9. Wyetha says:

    Looks simply refreshing.

  10. Eva says:

    Yum, sounds great! Very curious about the taste of coriander in a drink. Love coriander!

  11. carol whitnah says:

    Where did you get those beautiful little glasses that you served the Morocco in? Love those!

  12. jen a says:

    thanks so much all! the glass were purchased in england years ago – they are half pint beer glasses. a quick google search yielded this result – hope it helps!

    jen a

  13. What an interesting drink combination! Can’t wait to try this out….maybe it’ll be a good substitute for actually going to Morocco?

  14. Kelly says:

    I made this tonight and it’s great! I love the honey flavor!

  15. This looks wonderful and has given me lots of great ideas! Thanks!


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