Bartenders Reach for New Cocktail Sweeteners

These sugar substitutes add loads of flavor, without the calories.


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If you have a sweet tooth when it comes to cocktails, you’ll want to know that bartenders are increasingly turning to sweeteners beyond sugar, including products like honey, maple syrup and agave nectar.

Molasses—most often associated with gingerbread—adds a dark, spicy note to the Main Street cocktail (Wasmund’s Moonshine with lime and cinnamon-infused molasses) served at Trummer’s on Main in Clifton, Virginia.

Meanwhile, maple syrup, another coolweather staple, adds complex sweetness to the Rattlesnake, a riff on the rye sour, at Bar Agricole in San Francisco. (It doesn’t hurt that maple also flavors spirits like Vermont Spirits Gold Vodka and Tap 357 Canadian Maple Rye Whisky.)

Further, as “skinny” cocktails pick up steam, the natural sugar substitute stevia also is heading to the bar. The Truvia brand recently launched a package specifically for brewing into cocktail-friendly simple syrup. Now, isn’t that sweet?

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