3 Healthier Options You Can Use Instead of Simple Syrup
Inside the rise of our health conscious society there has been a significant demand for a reduction of sugar in the products we consume. The white sugar we use for simple syrup is one of the sweet demons that people are trying to cut from their diets. When people see it in a cocktail recipe they will often ask for less, or worse, no simple syrup at all.
This can be frustrating for a bartender because changing a recipe upsets the balance of the drink. Often you can try telling a customer this but they’ll still insist that you alter the drink. Then they’ll complain when the drink isn’t up to their usual standard. Customers will refuse to accept the fact that the badly balanced drink is a result of their choice.
Fortunately, there are alternatives to simple syrup out there. These are “acceptable” sugars which people will consume without batting an eyelid.
Honey is a completely natural sugar and is the first choice for many when looking to switch out the devils white sugar for a healthier option. In cold cocktails honey is best used as a syrup to reduce its viscosity.
Preparation: Doesn’t dissolve well alone, mix 1:1 with hot water, the same way you do your simple syrup.
Sweetness: Same relative sweetness as white sugar.
Flavor Profile: Depends on where the bees collect their nectar and this can be stated on the container. Ranges from deep and malty, to light and citrus-y.
Works With: American and Scotch whiskies for richer honeys, light rums and brandies for lighter versions.
This is the perfect time to begin thinking about maple syrup, as the flavors of maple syrup dovetail excellently with the rich, warm flavors customers are looking for during the fall and the winter.
Preparation: Mixes well, no need to dilute. Darker, thicker maple syrups may require mixing with water; 2:1, syrup to water ratio.
Sweetness: Has about 60% of the sweetness of white sugar
Flavor Profile: Different grades give different flavors. Lighter grades have more vanilla, and the darker it gets the more maple flavor it has.
Works With: Bourbon and Tennessee whiskies, and dark rums.
Agave nectar began trending a few years ago when the agave’s most well known product, tequila, took a rise to stardom. It is touted for its heath properties and is therefore an excellent alternative to simple syrup.
Preparation: Most agave nectar is fluid enough that you don’t need to adjust it’s composition.
Sweetness: Has about 1.5x the sweetness of white sugar.
Flavor Profile: Almost neutral, slightly floral.
Works With: Mezcal or tequila based drinks and some gins and vodkas.
Simple syrup just provides sweetness- that’s the beauty of it- but these alternatives bring extra flavors, and therefore extra factors, to the mixing tin. Different spirits will work better with different sweeteners.
Seeing simple syrup in a cocktail recipe can have some customers exclude these items from their choices without even asking your bartenders for an alternative; limiting their choices and their experience. Consider urging your bartenders to use the above instead of simple when creating specialty cocktails.