Alternatives to sugar

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sadie
Posts: 17
Joined: 29 Sep 2010, 13:39

Alternatives to sugar

Post by sadie » 08 Oct 2012, 23:16

I'm interested in replacing some or all of the sugar in sloe gin with other sweet substances: honey, treacle, golden syrup etc. Has anybody tried this? Are there any guidelines as to how much to use?

Phil
Posts: 27
Joined: 03 Sep 2011, 19:47

Re: Alternatives to sugar

Post by Phil » 09 Oct 2012, 09:22

Honet works fairly well. Tried it last year but can't remember how much I used.
Phil

sadie
Posts: 17
Joined: 29 Sep 2010, 13:39

Re: Alternatives to sugar

Post by sadie » 10 Oct 2012, 13:34

I guess maple syrup would be too strong a flavour. I may try experimenting with some small bottles using honey or treacle.

sadie
Posts: 17
Joined: 29 Sep 2010, 13:39

Re: Alternatives to sugar

Post by sadie » 11 Oct 2012, 12:30

Alright, evidence trumps theory so I now have a set of experiments in place:
  • Plain sugar (control sample)
  • Honey 100%
  • Treacle 50% (with 50% sugar)
  • Golden syrup 50% (with 50% sugar)
I'll get a bit more gin and add a little bottle with maple syrup as well. I should be able to give a preliminary report on the results in time for next year's picking season (which I hope is a bit better than this year's!)

nidgelowe
Posts: 69
Joined: 01 May 2009, 10:14

Re: Alternatives to sugar

Post by nidgelowe » 12 Oct 2012, 10:23

Go for it Heston

sadie
Posts: 17
Joined: 29 Sep 2010, 13:39

Re: Alternatives to sugar

Post by sadie » 16 Oct 2012, 14:35

I've added a couple more:
  • Maple syrup 100% (just a small bottle)
  • Sugar 50% (ie about half the normal dose)
I have some experiments from 2010 that should be testable soon;
  • Cinammon
  • Junipers

sadie
Posts: 17
Joined: 29 Sep 2010, 13:39

Re: Alternatives to sugar

Post by sadie » 19 Oct 2012, 12:39

Preliminary results: the treacle and golden syrup take a long time to dissolve, but do eventually. The honey and maple syrup dissolved even faster than sugar.

sadie
Posts: 17
Joined: 29 Sep 2010, 13:39

Re: Alternatives to sugar

Post by sadie » 28 Feb 2013, 00:33

I just filtered these (later than I normally would, but I've been a bit busy) and here are the preliminary findings:

Golden syrup: Very potent, to the extent that the syrup completely overpowers the sloe. Not the best.
Maple syrup: Much nicer, it came out surprisingly rounded and pleasant. Nice enough to drink neat (which is how I normally drink sloe gin).
Treacle: Also very strong and sweet, with an earthy flavour and an incredible dark brown colour. If you're a fan of strong dark drinks like chocolate stout then you might be all right with this, but it'll be too much for most people. I'm going to try mixing it with something neutral like soda water.
Honey: The biggest surprise. it's floral and sweet as you'd expect, but also surprisingly light and sparkly, reminiscent of champagne. In fact, it might go well mixed with some bubbly. Your choice of honey will make a difference of course.

In conclusion, for all of the above you need to be careful of the quantity: I generally swapped sugar for an equivalent volume of syrup, but you probably want half that much.

And while I'm at it:

Junipers: I didn't use many junipers, but it came out very tart and bitter. It's more gin-like than normal sloe gin, but also very fruity. Used judiciously (ie a lot less than I used, or blended with normal), it might go well with traditional gin mixers like tonic.

sadie
Posts: 17
Joined: 29 Sep 2010, 13:39

Re: Alternatives to sugar

Post by sadie » 13 Aug 2013, 12:38

Six months later, the overpowering sweetness of all of these has subsided, and that lovely sloe gin richness is starting to creep in. In time I expect them all to become quite nice around the two year mark, which is when I generally unlock my sloe gin anyway.

I'd still recommend being very careful not to use too much, but this is definitely worth a go.

sadie
Posts: 17
Joined: 29 Sep 2010, 13:39

Re: Alternatives to sugar

Post by sadie » 06 Nov 2013, 19:33

Another three months, and these concoctions are definitely maturing nicely. The staggering harshness they had at first has gone, and they're starting to develop some interesting flavours.

I recommend anyone making sloe gin this year to try one little bottle with either maple syrup or honey. The golden syrup and treacle are a harder taste, but may perhaps form part of an interesting blend.

For the purposes of experimentation, I replaced all the sugar in these; for a subtler flavour I suggest half and half. That's what I'll be doing several of this year.

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