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Sweet & Sour Substitute
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 23, 2002
Posts: 305
From: Portland, OR
Posted: 2007-11-16 4:23 pm   Permalink


On 2007-11-16 15:43, LeChuck wrote:
If you are concerned about burning why heat it at all? You can make a 2:1 sugar syrup in a bottle without heating it (at least with superfine sugar). It just needs a lot of shaking and it will take a while to clear up. Am I missing something here?

Nope, just personal preference. I find using heat less effort for me than the shaking method, but I have it down to a science. Your milage may vary.

Also the heat breaks some of the saccharide bonds and makes the simple sweeter than table sugar alone ( 1 C12H22O11 + 1 H20 + heat -> 2 C6H1206 ) i. e. 2 sugar molecules out of one double.

though I suppose you could shake with cream of tartar to give Extra H+ molecules and force the inversion that way too.

sorry, my science geek is showing.

Craig 'Colonel Tiki' Hermann
Colonel Tiki's Drinks
TIKI KON 2012: Ten Year Tour! AUG 3-5, 2012: Portland, OR

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Feb 18, 2007
Posts: 490
From: A Little North Of Boston
Posted: 2007-11-16 5:56 pm   Permalink

When I burned the sugar I certainly noticed the change in color, and taste. But I went *way* overboard, since I had been trying to reduce a syrup after adding sugar. I know better now. Thanks for the info!

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The Gnomon
Tiki Socialite

Joined: May 01, 2007
Posts: 1293
From: MD-DC-VA
Posted: 2007-11-19 08:47 am   Permalink

As for caramelization, considerable heat is required. Sugar molecules are made up of various combinations of carbon (C), hydrogen (H), and oxygen (O). As you raise the heat applied to a mass of sugar, you're going send H and O atoms flying off, reattaching whenever possible. When you raise the temperature to a certain point, the H and O atoms are unable to reattach and the C atoms begin to accumulate in large quantities, resulting in the caramelization effect. Taken to the extreme, you could chase off all of the H and O atoms and be left with pure carbon residue suitable for your barbecue grill.

Cane sugar is the disaccharide (double sugar), sucrose, which is made up of two monosaccharides (single sugars), glucose and fructose. Fructose caramelizes at 110 C (230 F) and glucose caramelizes at 160 C (320 F). Fructose is responsible for most of the dark color and flavor changes because because it caramelizes at by far the lowest temperature among the monosaccharides. If you want really dark caramel, use pure honey, which is all fructose.

If you boil sugar water on the stove without a buffer, you can easily get up to the temperature necessary to caramelize fructose; and depending on your particular stove, maybe glucose as well. If you heat your sugar water in a canning jar sitting inside a large pot of boiling water, it is pretty easy to prevent it from reaching 110C/230F. That's because the water inside the jar is being heated mainly by the boiling water outside the jar, which has a temperature limit of 100C/212F. The only additional heat is coming from directly underneath the jar, which bounces around a little in the boiling water (continually cooling that spot toward 100C/212F). So as long as you keep stirring, it would be difficult to caramelize the sugar. If you stop stirring for long enough, the temperature of the sugar at the bottom of the jar could hit 110C/230C.

The Half Boiling Rule of Thumb

In making various kinds of syrups, other than pure sugar, the ingredients other than sugar can undergo transformations to their integrity by overheating. The temperature to overheat many things can be somewhere less than boiling.

I'm not sure who came up with this rule of thumb, but it is older than the hills. Of course, finding the exact temperature that is halfway to boiling is a more modern twist that came about after we could measure temperature.

I use a candy thermometer, which is about a half inch in diameter, about a foot long, and has a clip to fasten to the side of a pot. Using that thermometer, you can fairly easily control the temperature (knowing when to give more heat or less). Just keep the temperature at 50 C or 122 F. It takes more time to make the syrup because the water evaporates a lot slower at the lower temperature.

Anyway, that's what I do when I make my real orgeat, or my passion fruit syrup, pomegranate liqueur, etc. Just as brocolli, cauliflower, cabbage, and other things smell and taste quite different when they are scalded, so do a lot of the things that go into syrups. I try to avoid changing their flavor too much by using the half boiling method.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 5311
From: Hapa Haole Hideaway, TN
Posted: 2014-08-01 10:16 am   Permalink

Resurrecting this discussion.

As a side note, I add a few drops of lime or other citrus juice when heating to make simple syrup as it is a catalyst.
I have found the shake the crap out of it method does not fully dissolve the sugar and the higher the proportion, the worse it works.

I am seeing basically 3 versions of Sweet and Sour Mix around the web:

1:1 Lemon Juice and Simple Syrup

1:1 Lemon and Lime Juice to Simple Syrup

1 part Lemon, .5 Lime juice and 1.5 parts simple

I had always assumed by way of Tiki+ that the first was the version. The wife is emphatic that the Cadillac Margaritas at Taco Boy on Folly Beach, which include "house made sweet & sour" have lime juice. So I'll be trying all three methods to see which works best in that recipe.

"Mai-Kai: History & Mystery of the Iconic Tiki Restaurant" the book

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Grand Member (7 years)  

Joined: Apr 03, 2008
Posts: 2400
From: Deep in the Jacksonville Florida jungle.
Posted: 2014-08-01 10:29 am   Permalink

Swanky, I'm looking forward to seeing your results.

I have also found that the "shake the hell out of it" method does not fully dissolve the sugar in cold-process simpile syrup. For this reason I have been using my blender for a number of years now with great success. Blend the hell out of it, then bottle it and wait for the air bubbles to float out of it.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 03, 2011
Posts: 376
From: Potomac Falls, VA
Posted: 2014-08-01 10:41 am   Permalink

If I were making fresh sour, I'd use a 1:1 mixture of Lemon/Lime and Sugar.

I suppose you might want to change that, though, depending on the intended use.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jul 20, 2008
Posts: 320
From: Port Saint Lucie, FL
Posted: 2014-08-01 2:49 pm   Permalink

I use a 1:1 ratio of lemon juice and simple syrup (1:1 ratio sugar/water).

However, I never made sour mix.... whenever a recipe called for sour mix, I always just subbed half lemon juice/half simple syrup.

for example:

Recipe calls for 1 oz of sour mix. I sub .5 oz lemon and .5 symple syrup.

of course, this is at home. If I were a bartender in a busy commercial bar, I'd definitely have some mixed up to make life easier.


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