Sweetening Naturally + Maple-Sweetened Cocktails

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We know that not all natural sweetners are created equal… but with all the information out there, how do we figure out what the best option for natural sweetening is? Let’s break a few of the most popular down.

Stevia is a no-calorie sweetener that’s made from the leaves of a plant, Stevia rebaudiana, native to South America. Because it’s a no calorie sweetner that doesn’t spike blood sugar or contribute to poor dental health it seems a likely choice, but it’s a highly refined (read: not so natural) extract that perpetuates the desire for sweet-tasting foods and drinks.

Agave syrup comes from the same plant that produces tequila, the blue agave plant that grows primarily in Mexico. Though we’ve seen agave marketed as a “healthy” alternative to white sugar, agave nectar can consist of 70 to 90 percent fructose—that’s more than what’s found in high-fructose corn syrup. Research has linked high- fructose sweeteners to obesity, diabetes, high triglycerides (blood fats), metabolic syndrome and fatty liver.

Raw honey has a great reputation due to it’s cardioprotective, antioxidant, antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor benefits… but to reap those benefits you need to consume up to 5 tablespoons of the golden syrup daily. Ultimately though, your body breaks down honey just like table sugar, as glucose and fructose.

Our favourite natural sweetener! Per serving, maple syrup it contains fewer grams of carbohydrates than raw honey, so you won’t absorb as much glucose and fructose from it. It’s full of antioxidants, least two dozen, including the same polyphenols that are found in berries. It’s also absorbed into your bloodstream at a slightly slower rate than honey, though that difference is pretty negligible.

The bottom line here is choosing a sweetner that taste good to you, because as long as you’re not overindulging, honey and maple syrup are smart choices for sweetening your morning smoothie or oatmeal, baked goods and, as we’re about to talk about – cocktails!

Maple Syrup Happy Hour

Whisky Barrel Aged (1).jpgWe all know that maple syrup is incredible on a stack of waffles or pancakes, but during maple season, we can’t help but put the stuff in and/or around everything…. including our cocktails! It adds a deep, earthy sweetness and pairs amazingly well with bourbon and rum. We stock Kinsip’s Whisky Barrel Aged Maple Syrup at The Red Apron and been enjoying it in and on everything from pancakes to drizzling over fried chicken. Here are some of our favourite happy hour sippers for Maple season!

Sure, maple and bacon have been done before... but never like this. Recipe here.

Red Apron’s Favourite Maple-Sweetened Cocktails

1. Cinnamon Maple Whisky Sour from Cookie and Kate
2. Maple Honey Crisp Margarita from How Sweet Eats
3. Maple Bacon Pisco Sour from Honestly Yum
4. Maple Mint Vodka Spritzer from Healthy Seasonal Recipes
5. Tequila Healer from Baker by Nature