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I did some searching and pulled only a handful that didn't seem to answer my questions.

 

I recently purchased some sugar cubes from a Whole Foods (read: health nut) store, which are nothing like the Domino cubes I usually get from my local Giant store(popular VA store like Safeway, Vons, Ralph's, Alpha Beta, etc). My assumption is Domino cubes are more refined because the pure cane ones from WF are darker, rounder, a tad bigger, and way more expensive ($8 compared to $1-$2/box). However, I'm not confident that I'm correct. I also remember Obsello recommending beet sugar in his Obsello thread. How many varieties of sugars are there, and does anyone know how much of a difference each brand makes? Is there a FAQ I'm missing, did I botch all my searches (sugar, pure cane sugar, etc)? What are answers to questions I haven't asked?

 

It seems like the further I go down in the rabbit whole another entire world opens up. Will this madness ever end? : insert spinning/fainting emoticon here :

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I think you're over-thinking it. All you need sugar for is to sweeten, IMHO. If there's enough flavor to come through in a glass of absinthe, it's too much.

 

There is, however a difference in melt-ability, and that can be important. In my experience the "gourmet" sugars tend to be harder and denser and take forever to melt. Whereas Domino (or out here, C&H) melt fairly quickly.

 

Or, you could just make some simple syrup and call it good.

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You're probably right about over-thinking, but I think Obsello mentioning beet sugar hits on a nuance that I didn't even consider until recently.

 

What is classified as a "gourmet" sugar? How much different is a syrup from a cube? My assumption would be the binder could affect the flavor of a glass, and could differ from absinthe to absinthe.

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There are a number of types of sucrose sugars both in their basic source (beets,cane, palm, just to name a few) and the level of refinement (most brown or white ) then onto size of grains and in the case of cubes level of compression/meltability. I won't get into the other types of sugar - that is faaar too much overthinking...

I fool around with the various types a lot as a mixologist. Here's an analogy for you: rice. Personally I think the most taste difference is between the brown and white because with the brown you have more flavor components (in the case of sugar molasses) the more refined the less to work with flavor wise - but less impact on the absinthe too - your choice.

As to individual variations from the different sources- very little and not worth fooling with unless you are getting OCD about a period drink (colonial loaf type sugar as an example).

Only people who analyze a drink to death (such as distillers) would notice much difference.

I have found though that comparing similar box size to weight might be useful.

I usually get a few boxes of sugar at a French supermarket when I go there, and the last time I went I learned that the hard way when I got back - the cubes I got last time are hard enough to pave my driveway with. Almost brown sugar tiles rather than cubes.

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Yeah, make your own, it's as simple as can be (thus the name): 1 cup water, 2 cups sugar, heat over medium heat in a heavy pot, stirring until the sugar dissolves. To ensure that it won't recrystallize, make sure all of the sugar is dissolved by coating the back of a spoon and letting the syrup drip back into the pot, watching for any sugar crystals. When you're satisfied it's all dissolved, let it cool and bottle with a tight cap. Store it in the fridge, and try to use fairly quickly (~2-3 weeks), as it has no preservatives.

 

(EDIT: Martha Stewart Magazine actually says you can store up to 6 months in the fridge, but it never lasts that long at my house.)

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I've never regularly sugared my absinthe from the time I first tried it, but based on a recent discussion on a different thread, I decided to experiment. Not with various types of sugar, but trying all the brands I currently have both with and without. Maybe I'm weird (OK, definitely), but I still nearly always prefer without...along with a relatively low water:absinthe ratio.

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What is classified as a "gourmet" sugar?

One with an extra zero on the price and great packaging. Seriously though, some are less refined or "raw", with the assumption that refined=bad and unrefined, for some ungodly reason, costs more.

 

I'll give you 50 dollars if you can distinguish beet sugar from cane sugar by taste, double-blind, when dissolved 1:48 in water, on a statistically significant basis. There is somewhat of a difference if you taste them plain, just eating the sugar, but I think it's more textural than anything.

 

How much different is a syrup from a cube?

It's easier, still traditional, though less romantic and ritualistic. You don't have sugar in the bottom of the glass when you're done.

My assumption would be the binder could affect the flavor of a glass, and could differ from absinthe to absinthe.

There is no binder as far as I'm aware. It's sugar; sugar is sticky.

 

If you have a mold, you can make your own sugar cubes by adding just a teaspoon of water to a couple cups of superfine baker's sugar (not confectioner's sugar) and whisking until fluffy, like perfect snowman snow. Fill molds, gently turn out on clean cookie sheet, repeat until you have a bunch of cubes. Careful, they're delicate and will fall apart if you touch them. It takes practice.

 

Then put the sheet in the oven, set to its lowest setting for about two hours. Voilá!

 

I do it all the time. A seven day pill box like this one makes a perfect mold. Cut off the lids and you're all set.

 

pr61430b-pill_box.jpg

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OMG! You need to get out more

 

I'm trying to Joe. Pesky priorities. *wink*

 

That pill box is just Like the one my Precious lives in. Good thing they make smaller ones. *smile*

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OK, scratch pure cane sugar. It's way too sweet for me, and has definitely impacted the flavors of Pacifique, Lucid, and Obsello.

 

I think I'm going to take GStone's advice and make my own, and go for as close to a wafer thin as I can so I can layer it on a absinthe by absinthe basis - I like the ritual, and watching the sugar melt.

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How did the cube making go Tayker? If it is as easy as Hiram says I'd like to give it a try. What could work for a mold to make half size cubes? I find a full cube just too much so I try to cut them in half and end up getting misshapen pieces of varying sizes or I dump the remains from a full cube after it has melted halfway and that's just wasteful. There must be a solution! Speaking of which simple syrup would work, but watching the sugar melt (from water, not flame ;) ) and the final clinking stir of a spoon is part of the ritual for me.

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The wife picked up some tiny sugar cubes before I could get started, so I haven't tried yet. I do know that the 2 "dots" are prefect for my absinthes.

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I would like to try simple syrup in my Absinthe. About how much should I use? I use about one sugar cube. I would hate to ruin a perfectly wonderful glass of the elixir, that is why I am asking the gods and goddesses of absinthe. :)

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I rarely use sugar but I keep simple syrup on hand for cocktails. The issue I have with it is that if I feel the water/absinthe ratio is good, the simple syrup may weaken the drink. We don't want that, errrr, I don't. It's all good.

 

Cheers!

 

 

No offense meant. *smile*

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I've switched to using Simple Syrup to flavor my absinthe, post-louche, so as to not affect the beautiful "oil trails". My typical method is to taste the beverage post-louche to evaluate, then add simple syrup as needed. I've figured out my own pour ratio, such that I can estimate the necessary pour by guess, and have been pretty much right on as needed (with a few "oops! too sweet!" experiences to wonder if I've set myself up for Type 2 Diabetes).

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Huh? Here I was thinking I was using Domino's cubes, but it appears all I can get around here is the C+H that Hiram cited above. Weird, it must be some west vs. east thing like Best Food's vs. Hellman's mayonnaise or like the inexplicable lack of Ho Ho's in this area. Marketing, meh.

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I've been trying to cut refined sugar out of my diet and have started using agave nectar in tea and things. Has anyone thought to try it in absinthe? Do you think it would work as a good sugar substitute?

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Check it out. We've got plenty of "affordable" absinthes out there and plenty o' variety for experimentin. It'll probably work great with some, and terrible with others. I'd be interested in knowing what the range is on those mofo's.

 

I haven't had it in absinthe, but a friend of mine has made me several of the same drink with it. It might have an official name that I'm not aware of, but it's two shots of Cachaca rum, one tablespoon of agave nectar, some mortar and pestle'd limes and ice. Nice.

 

First one's free.

 

 

Mess you up.

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