Using Leftover Pistachio Shells

Using Leftover Pistachio Shells

Pistachio orgeat is a fantastic cocktail ingredient that leaves you leftover with just the shells.


But what exactly is the best way to reuse them?


The answer lies with infusing! Why…?


Because there is still plenty of flavor within them just like in all other shells as you may have seen in previous posts like Chestnut Shells and Peanut Shells.


Simply follow the steps below.


Infusion is the technique of absorbing all of a solid leftover’s flavor using an alcoholic ingredient. The higher the ABV of your alcohol, the more flavor it will infuse at a faster rate.


Infusions can be done as creatively as possible, and there are no strict rules as to which ingredients should be paired with which booze.


In the case of pistachio shells, I typically like to infuse them with an aged rum, giving this molasses-based spirit more nutty flavors without using the actual nut itself.


Because let’s face it, pistachios and other nuts can be quite expensive. So rather than using the nut itself for cocktails, why not just use the shells (you’re paying for them as well)! Infusing pistachio shells is very easy and doesn’t require any special equipment. All you need are the shells along with your spirit of choice (Rum and Whisky work best).

It’s important to note if the shells that you’re using are salted or not. If they are salted, try not to infuse too many otherwise you’ll have an overly salty spirit.

I usually use unsalted pistachio shells and follow this ratio:


For every 100ml of spirit, combine 10 entire shells.


By ‘entire’ shells I’m referring to the 2 half shells that you get from each pistachio. So if you’re counting half-shells do 20 for every 100ml. 


Your infusion won’t be a long one. I typically let my rum infuse for 24 hours, sometimes even 48 hours, but usually not any longer than that. 

I find that too much flavor gets extracted resulting in more bitter notes. Just a day or two will give your rum some added texture and well-rounded body to it. Perfect for cocktails that are stirred or thrown.

You can even eyeball your infusion and wait until you see the shells becoming colorless (like a pale beige color). They will look almost translucent.


So once infused, strain out your Rum and get ready to use it for all sorts of drinks!


I still haven’t come up with a way to reuse the shells after that, but if you have any ideas, please feel free to share them on the Sustainable Bartender Community! Try your infused pistachio rum with spirit-forward cocktails like Negronis, Old Pals, Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, etc.


Here’s an example. 👇

Pick-Me-Up Manhattan

Glassware: Nick & Nora


– 45ml Pistachio Shell Infused Rum

– 30ml Leftover Coffee Infused Vermouth

– 2 Dashes Chocolate Bitters

(Stir & Strain)

– 4 Orange Citrus Flame Sprays

– Garnish with a Orange Twist


Stir all ingredients together and garnish with an orange slice and flame spray.


This is a more approachable Manhattan to those who do not like its strong spirit-forward flavor, and instead, want something a bit smoother while still indulgent.




The Leftover Coffee-Infused Vermouth marries extremely well with the well-rounded taste of the pistachio shell rum. 


There will be an upcoming recipe for this ingredient!

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