If there's one ingredient that most cocktails call for, it's some kind of sweetener. But between all the syrups, sugars, and honeys, things can get confusing. Here's what you need to know to mix the best drinks at home.
In this video from the Cocktail Chemistry YouTube channel, you'll learn about the five major sweeteners, and how to make and use them.
- Simple syrup: A mix of one part sugar to one part water (by weight) heated on the stove top until the sugar is dissolved. The default sweetener used in most cocktails at 50% sweetness.
- Rich simple syrup: A mix of two parts sugar to one part water at 66% sweetness, made the same way as simple syrup. Usually used for spirit-forward drinks where you want as little dilution as possible, like an old-fashioned.
- Maple syrup: "Grade B" maple syrup, at around 67% sweetness, can be used as an alternative to rich simple syrup, and some cocktails call for it specifically.
- Agave syrup: Very sweet at 75% sweetness, but can be used as a substitute for simple syrup if you add 50g of water for every 100g of agave. Some cocktails also call for agave straight, and it goes well with lemon-based cocktails.
- Honey: Coming in at 82% sweetness, clover honey is the sweetest of cocktail mixers. It's rarely used in cocktail recipes straight-up due to its viscosity, but can be a simple syrup substitute if you add 64g of water for every 100g of honey.
Now you should be able to mix some sweeteners at home and use them for the right cocktails. Cheers!
A pinch of salt is a great way for chefs and bakers to temper bitter flavours, but it's a handy trick for at-home bartenders as well. Here's how to make a saline solution that will boost the flavour of your cocktails.
Getting Started - Sweeteners [YouTube]