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(Not So) Simple, Flavored, & Spiced Syrups


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#61 limewine

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 12:43 PM

How does it work out, using it in cocktails?

Are there problems getting the gelled syrup to dissolve?

Do you think it is worth the effort?

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I made up a batch a while back, with very positive results (details are here).

I used plain white sugar in mine, as I only wanted sweetness for this batch, with no molasses flavor. It was quite good, and gave cocktails an excellent silky texture.

I keep meaning to make more, but the only place in Seattle where I've found gum arabic is completely on the other side of town, and they always seem to be closed when I'm in the neighborhood. But Robert's post puts me in the mood for Pisco Punch, so maybe soon...
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#62 slkinsey

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Posted 29 May 2007 - 12:50 PM

I keep meaning to make more, but the only place in Seattle where I've found gum arabic is completely on the other side of town, and they always seem to be closed when I'm in the neighborhood.

Order some from these guys.
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#63 eje

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 07:35 PM

Afraid I was going to have to send off to the California Historical Society for Bronson's article, I did some googling.

It appears his son has a blog and has reprinted the article in whole:

The Secrets of Pisco Punch Revealed - The Lost Recipe

I should mention that William Bronson was my father. I should also add that a year prior to the publication of the booklet in 1975, I asked him for the recipe, so that I could serve it at a party at my home, known across Berkeley, as Ashby House. He asked me why I wanted the recipe. I told him. He flat-out refused, informing me I would unleash forces heretofore unknown in my short life were I to serve the elixir at a party of ex-hippie now glitter sprouts who had just sprinted into drinking age.

I had the occasion several years later to try Pisco Punch at the Bank Exchange simulacrum in the TransAmerica Pyramid. It was early evening when we had the first one. It was delicious, sweet, but not too sweet, delicate, and enticing as described herein. We had another. Where the night took us after that remains to this day a mystery.


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#64 jmfangio

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 06:12 PM

I just bought my mother a yuzu tree for her birthday, and as soon as the fruit comes in I'm planning to mooch a few to make some yuzu syrup.

I have two questions for the board:

1) Does anyone have Audrey Saunders' cold infused lime syrup recipe handy? The link on the first page of this thread is broken, and I couldn't find it in a search.

2) I've been adding a couple of tablespoons of vodka to my homemade grenadine as a preservative, but I was also wondering about adding ascorbic acid instead. Anyone have any experience with this?
"Martinis should always be stirred, not shaken, so that the molecules lie sensuously one on top of the other." - W. Somerset Maugham

#65 eje

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 06:31 PM

Oh, oops, the link in that post seems to go to a deleted topic. Will investigate.

In any case, here's the recipe:


Take a clean soda bottle (8oz is fine). Fill it half-way with sugar.
Fill the other half with water. Cap. Shake well. Let settle.
This takes 5 minutes.
Shake 2 more times until syrup is clear.

Zest of 1 lime, and add that to the bottled syrup. Save lime.
Cap, and give a light shake. Put directly into fridge.

Do not cut lime until the next day.

Next day, strain lime syrup, and then put back into bottle.
Juice lime.
Add lime syrup to taste.


If you look for sirop de citron recipes in google, you can find a number of french recipes.

Par Example: sirop de citron maison

This is basically lemons and sugar. 3 lemons sliced and macerated in 400kg sugar for 4 days. Bring it to a boil for 4 minutes, then strain. Sounds pretty intense.

edit - fix translation error.

Edited by eje, 30 July 2007 - 08:44 AM.

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#66 jmfangio

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 07:24 PM

Thanks! I think I'll try the French recipe as it uses the whole fruit but, if my vague memories of high school French are correct, isn't that four days, not four hours?

Once that's done, a White Baby sounds nice.
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#67 eje

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Posted 29 July 2007 - 08:04 PM

Thanks!  I think I'll try the French recipe as it uses the whole fruit but, if my vague memories of high school French are correct, isn't that four days, not four hours?

Once that's done, a White Baby sounds nice.

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Ahem, yes, 4 days would make more sense.
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#68 aschbren

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 12:02 AM

All of this talk about how to best preserve syrups by monkeying around with sugar and ethanol contents, periodic boiling, etc... Why bother?

And besides... For me one of the rewarding things about making my own maraschino cherries/grenadine/etc is that it doesn't have preservatives in it.

It takes like five minutes to make simple syrup if that. Seems easy enough for me. Then you don't have to worry about reformulating recipes to higher sugar-content syrups or changing around the alcoholic composition of a cocktail.

If you have to store it, you can store it in the freezer (it probably won't freeze... at least it doesn't in mine).

One nice touch I use is to caramelize sugar in a small amount of water before adding the rest of it to bring the temperature down and stop it where I want it. A nice caramelized syrup goes well with some rum-based cocktails...

Edited by aschbren, 30 July 2007 - 12:14 AM.


#69 Nathan

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 08:25 AM

well...yeah...a basic 1:1 takes two minutes to make (literally). no need to boil it.....just measure and then shake really hard for a minute. then shake it the first few times you pour it. its really that simple.

#70 slkinsey

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 10:54 AM

1)  Does anyone have Audrey Saunders' cold infused lime syrup recipe handy?  The link on the first page of this thread is broken, and I couldn't find it in a search.

I think I might have been me who posted about that (I don't find it under her profile). There's really nothing to it: Start with a cup of 1:1 simple syrup, add the microplaned zest of one large lime, refrigerate for 24 hours or until it reaches the strength you would like, filter out the lime zest, bottle and use.

I have several modifications when I do this at home: First, I use more than one lime's worth of zest per cup of simple. Second, I briefly (ca. 10 minutes) infuse the zest into an ounce or so of vodka before adding the vodka and zest to the cold syrup for further infusion. This creates a more pungent extraction that I might call "muddled lime syrup." Third, I do a 2:1 simple syrup for better shelf stability.

2)  I've been adding a couple of tablespoons of vodka to my homemade grenadine as a preservative, but I was also wondering about adding ascorbic acid instead.  Anyone have any experience with this?

Meh. The best way to preserve your homemade grenadine is to increase the saturation. Sugar is a good preservative, and likely better than any amount of ascorbic acid you could add.

All of this talk about how to best preserve syrups by monkeying around with sugar and ethanol contents, periodic boiling, etc...  Why bother?

Well, for me it's because I don't want to have to mix up a batch of simple syrup every single time I want to make a drink. Therefore, there is some advantage to having a simple syrup that won't go off in the refrigerator (I actually have several: white gomme, demerara gomme, 1:1 simple, 2:1 demerara, 4:1 cane, 2:1 lime, 4:1 homemade pomegranate grenadine). This is especially true for things like gomme syrup and grenadine that involve a fair amount of work to make.

As I said above, increasing the sugar content is probably the best way to preserve your simple syrup -- especially if you are keeping it in the refrigerator. I've never been convinced that adding a few tablespoons of vodka to a pint of simple syrup would have any meaningful preservative effect on the syrup, as I don't see how it could possibly raise the alcoholic strength of the syrup enough to make a difference. I do, however, usually float a half-ounce or so of high proof spirits on the top of bottles of syrup that are going to be stored for a long time before I use them (for example, if I have two pint bottles of homemade grenadine). If the syrup is sufficiently concentrated, the spirits actually remain in a layer floating on top of the syrup rather than mixing in.

And besides...  For me one of the rewarding things about making my own maraschino cherries/grenadine/etc is that it doesn't have preservatives in it.

You know that sugar is a preservative, right? As are salt, oil, and alcohol?

well...yeah...a basic 1:1 takes two minutes to make (literally).  no need to boil it.....just measure and then shake really hard for a minute.  then shake it the first few times you pour it.  its really that simple.

The problem with 1:1 syrup is that it is not very shelf-stable. This makes it a bad idea, IMO, if you are doing any kind of infusion. Of course some infusions (citrus zest, certain spices) seem to keep relatively good flavor for quite some time on the shelf whereas others (ginger) don't last very long and still others (mint) never taste quite right for my palate.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#71 Robert Heugel

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Posted 30 July 2007 - 11:23 PM

Has anyone ever tried using different flavored gastrics as substitutes for flavored syrups? I have been working with one of our chefs recently to create new flavors for cocktails and have created some gastric cocktails that are really interesting. For example, I was using a vanilla-cardamom gastric in a sidecar and just can't get enough. You have to use the gastrics in small quantities, but if you flavor them intensely, the result is really nice. Any thoughts?

By the way, first post here, but I have been stalking you conversations forever.

Edited by Robert Heugel, 30 July 2007 - 11:30 PM.

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#72 eje

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Posted 31 July 2007 - 08:57 AM

Robert! Welcome to eGullet!

Interesting about Gastric, I can see how that would be an interesting flavoring element in small doses. Though, I think an over pour might be dangerous.

There's also a traditional Italian reduced grape juice called "Vino Cotto" that I've been interested in playing with in cocktails. One of these days I'll remember to pick some up at the Italian market.

Edited by eje, 31 July 2007 - 09:46 AM.

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#73 bostonapothecary

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 08:36 AM

Robert!  Welcome to eGullet!

Interesting about Gastric, I can see how that would be an interesting flavoring element in small doses.  Though, I think an over pour might be dangerous.

There's also a traditional Italian reduced grape juice called "Vino Cotto" that I've been interested in playing with in cocktails.  One of these days I'll remember to pick some up at the Italian market.

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is "vino cotto" another name for "sapa" which is a red wine reduction with sugar often used to enliven flavors like saffron in a dish....
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#74 eje

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 10:07 AM

is "vino cotto" another name for "sapa" which is a red wine reduction with sugar often used to enliven flavors like saffron in a dish....

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From my understanding, vino cotto is reduced grape juice (must) not wine.

From the worldwide gourmet website below, there are some similar products made from reduced wine:

Saba, sapa, mosto cotto, vino cotto...

"Sapa" – also called "saba" – is made by slowly cooking the must of red grapes (Montepulciano - Sangiovese) and white grapes (Verdicchio - Maceratino - Malvasia - Trebbiano). According to tradition, open copper kettles are used for the long cooking process. The thick sweet syrup that has a slightly acidic caramel flavor is then placed in wooden barrels to age for at least 10-12 months. During this time, the crystallized sugars from the cooking process settle to the bottom of the barrels allowing the syrup to be carefully removed.


The Romans followed suit, with their own spate of similar grape sweeteners boiled down to various consistencies. There was caroenum, which was actually boiled down wine, and sapa or defrutum, which was concentrated grape must.


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#75 slkinsey

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Posted 01 August 2007 - 12:58 PM

My earlier reply as to the gastrique was merged out of this thread into the Roses' thread, so I thought I'd reproduce the thread-appropriate part here:

Has anyone ever tried using different flavored gastrics as substitutes for flavored syrups?

A gastrique is a sweet reduction of vinegar, sugar and (usually) fruit? In older days, something like this would have been called a "shrub." This is actually a very old tradition. Wayne Curtis talks about it in his excellent book, And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails (brief eG Forums thread here). Sounds like a very interesting direction for experimentation.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#76 Robert Heugel

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Posted 03 August 2007 - 06:26 PM

The overpour issue can be extremely problematic, but when done right, the drinks are coming out wonderful. The texture of the drinks seems to change almost as much as the flavors. People have been using balsalmic vinegar in drinks for a while, but doing gastrics (or gastriques - I can't spell) is something I haven't really heard of. I am going to continue experimenting with this concept and will get back to you with some recipes.
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#77 eje

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 03:39 PM

Posted Image

What, you ask, is this picture of what appears to be translucent pebbles doing in the Spirits and Cocktails forum?

I was in Arizona over the Thanksgiving holiday and happened to look up into the branches of a Mesquite tree and saw these hardened sap globules perched in breaks in the bark.

As I started collecting them, my family asked, "What cocktail are you going to use that in?"

They know me so well.

Gum Arabic is sap exuded from the bark of Acacia trees in Africa. I knew Mesquites were similar trees in a similar climate; but, I had no idea that Mesquites also produced gum. Imagine my surprise to look up randomly see raw Mesquite Gum in Arizona!

Imagine my further surprise to discover it is already under consideration as a substitute for Gum Arabic. So, yes, I do believe a small batch of syrup fortified with mesquite gum is in my future!
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#78 slkinsey

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 04:11 PM

Doesn't mesquite gum contain tannins?
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#79 eje

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 05:07 PM

Doesn't mesquite gum contain tannins?

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I don't really detect drying sensations or much tannic overtone.

It is not neutral in taste, however. Not dissimilar to a mild maple syrup with some flavors that remind me a bit of marshmallow.

Definitely formed a thick stable foam when brought to a boil.

Gave some of the foam to my wife to taste as a second opinion and received a solid, "Yum."

Edited by eje, 25 November 2007 - 05:08 PM.

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#80 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 05:29 PM

As I started collecting them, my family asked, "What cocktail are you going to use that in?"

They know me so well.

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Awesome.
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#81 eje

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Posted 25 November 2007 - 10:15 PM

Doesn't mesquite gum contain tannins?

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I don't really detect drying sensations or much tannic overtone.
[...]

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Well, I have to admit a bit later I did get some tannic aftertastes. I guess the sugar syrup covered it up initially. Definitely more like the tannins from soaked oak or mesquite chips than grape tannins.

Still the syrup is kind of nice.

I do wonder if unprocessed gum arabic would have similar flavor and character? It seems that bartenders might have gotten less processed acacia gum back then, than we do now. The candy and food industries are just interested in it for its chemical properties, not its flavor.

By the way, they call the Mesquite sap globules "Mesquite Marbles" in Arizona. There are also syrups, candies, and other things made from Mesquite pods and beans. Mesquites are legumes, so the beans and pods of the trees are actually quite nutritious.
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#82 Kent Wang

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 01:06 AM

It is not neutral in taste, however.  Not dissimilar to a mild maple syrup with some flavors that remind me a bit of marshmallow.

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Speaking of which, how about maple syrup as a substitute for simple syrup in certain applications? I just made a (rye) Old Fashioned with it, tastes very American.

#83 Morgan_Weber

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 07:36 AM

Doesn't mesquite gum contain tannins?

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I don't really detect drying sensations or much tannic overtone.
[...]

View Post

Well, I have to admit a bit later I did get some tannic aftertastes. I guess the sugar syrup covered it up initially. Definitely more like the tannins from soaked oak or mesquite chips than grape tannins.

Still the syrup is kind of nice.

By the way, they call the Mesquite sap globules "Mesquite Marbles" in Arizona. There are also syrups, candies, and other things made from Mesquite pods and beans. Mesquites are legumes, so the beans and pods of the trees are actually quite nutritious.

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This might be for another thread, but Mesquite trees, I'm continually finding, are incredibly versatile. I used mesquite flour in a chocolate chip cookie recipe a few weeks ago, and they were awesome.

Mesquite Flour:

http://www.celiac.co...products_id=754

Mesquite Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies:

http://www.davidlebo...colate_chi.html

OK, OK, back to (not so) simple syrups...

#84 eje

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Posted 26 November 2007 - 10:48 AM

Speaking of which, how about maple syrup as a substitute for simple syrup in certain applications? I just made a (rye) Old Fashioned with it, tastes very American.

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San Francisco journalist (and eGullet member) Camper English had an article about local bars using Maple Syrup a while ago:

Smells like 'tini syrup

For the past few years, cocktail consultant Jacques Bezuidenhout has been sneaking maple syrup into the drinks he invents for the Starlight Room and special events, and perhaps it's finally caught on, because now we see it on several menus about town.


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#85 bostonapothecary

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 08:38 AM

Speaking of which, how about maple syrup as a substitute for simple syrup in certain applications? I just made a (rye) Old Fashioned with it, tastes very American.

View Post

San Francisco journalist (and eGullet member) Camper English had an article about local bars using Maple Syrup a while ago:

Smells like 'tini syrup

For the past few years, cocktail consultant Jacques Bezuidenhout has been sneaking maple syrup into the drinks he invents for the Starlight Room and special events, and perhaps it's finally caught on, because now we see it on several menus about town.

View Post


i used maple syrup liqueur (because i had three free bottles) with dry sherry and apple brandy 1:1:1 plus a dash or so of bitters...

and in a sour with new england rum, maple liqueur, lemon juice 2:1:1 plus a spoonful of overproof lemon heart.

all very drinkable and fitting of the season...
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#86 eje

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 02:54 PM

I've picked up some Mesquite Bean syrup to experiment with. Will report back on that in the near future.

However, the current report is regarding using the Mesquite Gum Syrup in a Sazerac.

The usual, 2 oz Sazerac Straight Rye, Dashes Peychaud, barspoon Mesquite Gum Syrup, Absinthe wash, and lemon twist.

Unfortunately, I don't know that I have anything particular to report, other than this seemed to be one of the better Sazeracs I've made for myself. It did seem to taste a bit different than usual, but I would be hard pressed to say if it was the Mesquite Gum or just that I had made a few Sazeracs last week for friends and was in practice.

In any case, it certainly did no harm to the drink.

A side by side comparison with plain syrup and Mesquite Gum syrup is needed!

Edited by eje, 02 December 2007 - 02:58 PM.

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Erik Ellestad
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#87 TAPrice

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 03:39 AM

I recently picked up a bottle of pure cane syrup. Tasting it side by side with the basic simple syrup in my frig, the simple syrup tastes so boring. It's sweet, but not much else.

My first question is how to dilute the cane syrup for drinks. I'm thinking that the 1:1 ration of water to sugar typically used for simple syrup would create something too watery. I'm assuming that whatever works for the cane syrup could also be used to create a honey syrup or a molasses syrup. Jeff Berry told me that honey syrups were often used in tiki drinks.

I also saw that Robert Hess makes his simple syrup with demerara sugar. Has anyone tried it? Does the demerara contribute enough flavor to justify the cost.

Any other suggestions for interesting substitutes for standard simply syrup?
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#88 Alchemist

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 08:07 AM

Yes honey and Demerrara both work wonderfully, but it is usually a 2 parts sweet to 1 part water. With the cane syrup leave it alone just use less of it than you would simple.



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#89 marty mccabe

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 09:00 AM

Demerara is worth the price of admission, no doubt about it. Personally, I make it 1:1, as I'm an amateur, and I've found that many (not all) books work off of 1:1. 2:1 (which is believe is equivalent to dry sugar, measure for measure) is just too sweet for me, and I think, too easy to go overboard with.
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#90 TAPrice

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Posted 23 December 2007 - 02:49 PM

Yes honey and Demerrara both work wonderfully, but it is usually a 2 parts sweet to 1 part water.  With the cane syrup leave it alone just use less of it than you would simple.

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This cane syrup is pretty thick stuff, though. Thicker than maple syrup or even honey. More like molasses in consistency. I'm mainly concerned about it mixing well (I'll try it tonight to see). I picked it up at a Middle Eastern grocery store.
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