Recently, I set out to make another batch of dark simple syrup. My go-to sugar for this is normally Demerara raw cane sugar, but my local Whole Foods was out. I did, though, find both dark and light Muscovado. Both varieties are similar to brown sugar, but instead of adding molasses to refined white sugar, as in the case of brown sugar, processors of Muscovado boil down cane-sugar juice to make the sugar.
I considered both but chose the dark. I knew from just looking at it in the package that it might be moister than most sugars, but I wasn’t sure how that would play out in the saucepan. So I took a chance on it.
When I got it home, I set to it with scissors and was surprised to find that it was even moister than I expected. I sampled a bit out of the bag. The mouth feel was supple and the molasses flavor, rich, sweet, and rounded. Imagine a simple Domino dark-brown sugar. The Muscovado was similar, but richer, deeper, and more complex.
It melted easily into simmering water, so I waited for it to cool and then I bottled it. The texture of the syrup was thick and smooth, and the flavor, very rich. I think it’s accurate to say this is a molasses syrup–more pourable than molasses, but thicker even than Demerara syrup.
I’ve worked with it for a couple of weeks now, and I’m not sure I’m satisfied with it. Because of its thickness, it doesn’t mix well and I have to finesse it. If I simply put it in a glass or shaker with spirits, other ingredients, and ice, and then stir or shake, the ice chills the syrup and makes it too think to mix. The solution (ahem) is to put the syrup in first, slowly pour in an amount of spirit (an ounce or two), and then stir–without ice!!–until the syrup dissolves into the spirit. Then I can add my remaining ingredients and then shake or stir.
To my palate, the Muscovado syrup seems a little strong for most ingredients. It works best with a punchy whiskey, like a bonded rye, so I’ve been saving it primarily for Old Fashioneds and other whiskey cocktails. It occurs to me, though, that I haven’t played with it in a daiquiri. With the right rum, that might be worth trying.