Liqueur, syrup or sugar powder?
The key for a tasty cocktail is the perfect ratio of sweet, sour and bitter ingredients. You can add sweetness with liqueurs, syrups and sugar powder. When is which of them most suitable?
Real fruit syrup is made by boiling down fruits in sugar and water. Remaining fruit residues are strained off. Commercial products in opposite are mainly made of sugar solution, flavour additives, food colouring, and a low amounts of fruit. Syrup has a high sugar content of about 650g/l.
Liqueur producers dissolve flavouring agents out of fruits or spices by inserting them into high proof alcohol (maceration) or adding them during the distilation process. With adding sugar or honey afterwards they reach a sugar content of minimum 100g per litre, which is regulated.
All three ingredients are sweet. Sugar powder has the highest sugar content, then syrup and lowest for liqueur. Only liqueur contains alcohol.
Sugar powder doesn't have any flavouring agents. Liqueur tastes slightly different than syrup, because of its production process.
To sweeten drinks all three ingredients are suitable, simply adjust the amount to the corresponding sugar content.
Most cocktails taste slightly better with a well-fitting liqueur than with syrup.
Sugar powder has to dissolve and the cold of the cocktail reduces solubility. That's why most cocktails with sugar powder taste a bit floury. Syrup is preferable to sugar powder.
For some cocktails like tequila sunrise, syrup is preferable to liqueurs, because of its high density. You can produce the same effect with liqueurs, they will sink too, but with syrup its easier and usually looks better.
Liqueur is for most cocktails the best choice considering taste, but differences are minor.
We provide for all recipes on Cocktail-and-Drinks.com variations for syrup, liqueur and sugar powder. In professional bars someone has the agony of choice. A bar at home barely has the same collection of liqueurs and syrups, replacing them or mixing with sugar powder isn't any problem at all, results are very similar.
To make a bottle of selfe-made sugar syrup is recommended to everybody that makes cocktails frequently. Sugar syrups are hard to find in supermarkets, making them yourself is easy, fast and cheep.