I love sugarcane and sugars and especially i like flavorful unrefined raw cane sugar. My favorite sugars are many…muscovado, raw sugar, demerara, molasses. I´m a syrup geek too so i use a lot of different sugars and it can be a bit confusing with all these sugars, which one is what and which are best?
The most common is of course the ordinary refined white sugar, but as all refined things its stripped from flavorful components. Its not the sugar i prefer but its still useful for simple syrups.
I think there´s a type of sugar for different purposes and in cocktails i prefer dark sugars for drinks with dark base spirits, like dark rum, and white or golden sugars for light drinks. Then fine sugars are good for muddling.
Same with syrups, dark sugar goes with “dark” ingredients like Tahitian vanilla for example and light sugars go for say a mango syrup. When i make my vanilla sugar i mix two sugar types, a light and a dark muscovado which are mixed with the seeds and the beans from Tahitian vanilla.
Dark muscovado has a slight licorice flavor and a very rounded full taste and light muscovado is more toffee-like.
I buy Tate&Lyle or Billington`s which are very similar, sometimes i wonder if its even from the same source. Both are UK based.
From upper left and clockwise is:
1) Oxfam bio cane sugar from Paraguay, 2) Billingtons Fairtrade unrefined demerara (from Malawi), 3) Billingtons unrefined cane sugar, 4) Billingtons molasses, 5) Billingtons light muscovado 6) Billington´s dark muscovado (the rest of Billingtons are produced in Mauritius)
This is how i find these sugars:
1) Oxfam bio cane sugar: Very fine textured, the color is not white but has a yellowish tint. The flavor is very much like Billingtons unrefined cane sugar #3
2) Billingtons unrefined demerara: is much coarser and typically one of those “home baking” sugars.
3) Billingtons unrefined cane sugar: Is a golden glistening and very pleasant allround sugar, gritty. Sweet and flavorful taste, i like this one in tea and coffee
4) Billingtons molasses, very dark, it forms clumps and is extremely flavorful and might be used where it will not overpower other flavors.
5) Billingtons light muscovado: The most tasty of all these sugars in my opinion, the texture is smooth and its really yummy with toffee flavors. A perfect allround sugar.
6) Billingtons dark muscovado: Same flavor as the light but with a lot more “dark” flavors and a hint of liqorice. Its like the molasses, best used with things suited for these strong flavors.
Many of these sugars, especially the muscovados get hard when exposed to air and needs to be softened again, it might work by placing a warm wet towel over the jar for a while. Best way is to keep the lid tight on.
Muscovado is a type of unrefined brown sugar with a strong molasses flavour. It is very dark brown, and slightly stickier and coarser than most brown sugars.
Unlike most other brown sugars, which are made by adding molasses to refined white sugar, muscovado takes its flavor and color from its source, sugarcane juice when processors of Muscovado boil down cane-sugar juice to make the sugar. It offers good resistance to high temperatures and has a reasonably long shelf life.
Molasses is a byproduct of the sugar making process. Its dark and very flavorful. Most rum made from molasses is made from imported molasses. Raw sugar is covered by a thin film of molasses, which is a dark thick syrup containing sugar, water, plant material, minerals, and other non-sugars. The layer of molasses is removed by dissolving the sugar and separating in centrifuges and carbon filtering.
Demerara has the natural brown color of cane sugar and it takes its name from the Demerara colony in Guyana, which was the original source of this type of sugar, but is produced today mainly in Mauritius.
For some reason the name demerara is still used even though produced so far away from Guyana. My package from Billington`s fairtrade natural demerara is actually produced in Malawi..
TURBINADO AND SUCANAT
Turbinado sugar, also known as turbinated sugar, is a type of sugar cane extract. It is made by steaming unrefined raw sugar. Turbinado sugar is similar in appearance to brown sugar but paler. A popular brand name is Sugar in the Raw.
Sucanat is sometimes confused with Turbinado – but they are fundamentally different. Turbinado sugar contains only a trace amount of its original molasses content, making it more or less like refined sugar except with a golden color and a hint of molasses flavor. Sucanat, on the other hand, retains its full molasses content and flavor, and its pure dried cane juice.
Turbinado is more crystalline and clear in its form compared to the grainy Sucanat. Unfortunately there are lot of bar syrups which are made from high fructose corn syrup which is very unhealthy and does not carry the same flavor as natural sugar.
In all fruits and vegetables we can find sugar (sucrose) which is a natural carbohydrate. Sugarcane contains 12-14% sucrose and are harvested after 9-12 months growth.
Petit Canne sugarcane syrup is a interesting syrup as its made by dissolving raw Martinique sugar cane sugar in hot water to make a saturated syrup retaining the flavor of the raw sugar.
SPICY SUGARCANE GIRL
This cocktail brings together Jamaican and Guyanese dark rums, cane sugars, fresh blood orange and lime juices, with a touch of spice, all spiked with a JWray kick.
1 oz dark Jamaican rum (Appleton extra)
1 oz demerara rum (Banks XM10)
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
0.5 oz 3 sugar simple syrup
1 oz fresh pineapple juice
1 oz fresh blood orange juice
1 drop spice tincture (cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, steeped in some overproof rum for 2 weeks)
3 drops pernod
Splash JWray overproof rum.
Shake all ingredients over ice, strain and pour into highball filled with crushed ice. Top with a splash of JWray overproof rum. Garnish blood orange wedge and fresh mint or if you have it, a sugarcane stick.
3 SUGAR SIMPLE SYRUP
Its a 1:1 simple syrup,made from 3 different sugars. I used 1 part light muscovado, 1 part unrefined cane sugar and 1 part demerara sugar. Add sugars and water to a pan and heat it gently and stir until all sugars have dissolved, then cool, strain and bottle.
For those who really wants to go into some in-depth reading on sugarcane then Netafim is for you.