Swap White Sugar For Demerara To Elevate Your Next Old Fashioned

We love a classic old fashioned cocktail with its complex caramel flavors and simple list of just three ingredients; bourbon, bitters, and sugar. As with any recipe using a small number of ingredients, selecting the best quality of each and every ingredient is key. Bourbon lovers, you already know your favorite spirit, and we've helped you nail down the best bitters. Now, it's time to upgrade that last flavor component: the sugar. Make the switch from white sugar to flavorful demerara sugar and stir up an old fashioned with more depth of character.

A light golden sugar with large crystals and a toffee-like flavor that comes from natural molasses, demerara is less refined than white sugar. It retains dark molasses hints from sugar cane that enhances bourbon's toastiness and combines well with the aromatics found in bitters, making all three components of the drink come together in a symphony of flavors. Leveling up to demerara will yield a craft cocktail worthy of the investment you make in good spirits.

The tasty benefits of demerara

To produce demerara, sugar cane is crushed and sun-dried. The large crystals left behind retain vitamins and minerals from the plant, along with the flavor-producing components that make it such a great bourbon companion. Hints of vanilla, toast, and spice in demerara are all created by the natural evaporation process. By contrast, table sugar undergoes steps to remove those colors, resulting in a clean, neutral flavor, but losing minerals and other nutrients. The sweetness of demerara and white sugar is identical, so you can swap them easily in your drink recipe.

Demerara comes in easy-to-measure cubes and granulated form, either of which is wonderful for building an old fashioned. Traditionalists can drop a cube or two of demerara in a glass, add several shakes of bitters and break down the cube by muddling before adding the bourbon. Because the larger crystals of demerara are harder to dissolve, you might prefer to make a simple syrup by simmering equal parts of demerara and water until the sugar dissolves instead. Use a half ounce of syrup, or more to taste, and store the rest in the refrigerator for future drinks. Your tastebuds will thank you for the upgrade.