One of the things I can’t run a bar without is a solid 2:1 brown sugar syrup. I love a dark rum Daiquiri with Demerara syrup, I only use brown sugar syrup in my Irish Coffees, and Muscovado syrup goes great in cocktails made with my house ginger beer recipe.
I’ve been thinking about having all of these syrups on hand lately, and wondering if there was a way to combine brown sugar, Muscovado sugar, and Demerara or Turbinado sugar to create my own all-purpose, kick-ass house brown sugar syrup blend.
And after getting frustrated with weighing out all of these sugars and tasting the resulting syrup, making adjustments, tasting again (cue the infomercial voiceover “There’s got to be a better way!) it finally dawned on me: at their core, most brown sugars (with the exception of the truly “raw” dark sugars like piloncillo, and even then… still) are little more than sweetened molasses.
Without getting into too much sugar knowledge (there are plenty of articles out there, and some information in The Bar Book for you) pure, flavorless white sugar is the end product of the sugar refining process, and molasses is the by-product. White sugar has almost no flavor, molasses has a ton. Some dark sugars are less refined and contain some molasses content, while good old American boxed “brown sugar” is merely white sugar that’s been sprayed with some amount of molasses (5%-ish for light brown, 10%-ish for dark, by weight)
So I thought, to make my ultimate house 2:1 brown sugar that I’ll enjoy universally in everything from an Irish Coffee to an aged rum Daiquiri, why don’t I just find some really flavorful molasses and mix it with pure white sugar and water? That way I can adjust just one ingredient until I find the syrup that works for me.
Here’s the recipe I landed on. I went with a super flavorful blackstrap molasses mixed with white sugar at a 10%-to-90% ratio. It’s easy to make and my proprietary blend will be unique when set against other bars making the same drink with off-the-shelf brown sugar syrups.
Note: I don’t include the brand names of the molasseses I tried, as the product names are all holdovers from an era of human slavery. If anyone has suggestions for a quality molasses with a name that speaks to the product inside and not to the people who were once forced to make it, please it them in the comments below.
Step One: Weigh Your Molasses
I think 12 oz/350 ml of syrup is a good quantity. If you’re a home bartender it’s the right amount to have and not go bad, if you’re a professional bartender you can double the recipe and have enough for one station. So that’s a 300g-sugar-to-150g water ratio. I want 10% of that sugar to be molasses, so let’s weigh out 30g.
Step Two: Weigh Your Sugar
Dump 270 grams of white sugar on top of that. The reason we’re doing it in this order is that it’s easy to scoop out a little of the white sugar if you accidentally pour too much.
Step Three: Weigh Your Water in a Separate Container
Weigh out 150 grams of water. Temperature doesn’t really matter, cold is fine.
Step Four: Heat to Combine
I nuked this in the microwave for two minutes, stopping every 30 seconds to stir. You can do it on the stovetop if you don’t own a microwave but if you do I would recommend weighing out your ingredients in the pan first, rather than in plastic containers and then trying to move sticky molasses to a pan.
Step Five: Let Cool, Bottle, and Refrigerate
At 2:1, this syrup will last a very, very long time.
Prefer yours a little more flavorful and dry? Add more molasses. Looking for something a little lighter and less funky? Add less. Just be sure to make up for the molasses with more or less sugar, accordingly, to maintain that 2:1 ratio of sugars to water.
And, as always, cheers…. enjoy.
House Brown Sugar Syrup Print Me
- 30g molasses
- 270g white sugar
- 150g water
- Combine all ingredients
- Heat and stir until combined
- Let cool, bottle, and refrigerate
- Makes 12oz/350ml
Recipe printed courtesy of jeffreymorgenthaler.com