How to make cocktails

Sugar and sugar syrup

Words by Simon Difford & Jane Ryan

Many cocktails benefit from sweetening but granulated sugar does not dissolve easily in cold liquids, particularly alcohol. Hence pre-dissolved sugar syrup (also known as 'simple syrup') is used. 'Gomme sirop' or 'gum syrup' is sugar syrup with the addition of gum arabic, the crystallised sap of the acacia tree, which adds mouth-feel and smoothness to some drinks.

Along with ethanol alcohol sugar is the most used ingredient in all cocktails. Sugar syrup is one of the simplest and yet also most misunderstood and complex products used by bartenders. Follows an explanation of the different types of sugar, strengths of sugar syrup and how to make sugar syrup. With so many bars listing 'skinny' cocktails we also explore different types of non-sugar 'sugar syrups' made using artificial sweeteners.

Degrees of sweetness (brix)

The balance between sweet and sour is crucial to the majority of cocktails and consistently producing balanced cocktails is made easier when using sugar syrup with a known and constant sweetness.

The degree of a liquid's sweetness is measured on a scale called 'brix'. At 20°C, 1.0°brix is equal to 1 gram of sugar in 100 grams of water and sugar solution. Or, to put it another way, there is 1 gram of sucrose sugar and 99 grams of water in the 100 grams of solution.

Sugar syrups tend to be made according to two recipes: 'one part sugar to one part water' (1:1) and two parts sugar to one part water (2:1). The former, 1:1, is the most common type of syrup used in American bars and can be made by simply shaking sugar and room temperature water together in a sealed container so is appropriately known as 'simple syrup'.

In British and other European bars 2:1 sugar syrup, known as "rich sugar syrup" is more common and this is the sugar syrup used in all Difford's Guide recipes. 2:1 sugar syrup (by volume - see below) is also around the same degree of sweetness found in most commercially produced sugar syrups and it is common for European bars to buy in bottled syrup rather than make their own to help ensure consistency. The willingness to buy rather than make is also driven by the fact that making 2:1 syrup requires heating and stirring together.

I consider 2:1 syrup superior to 1:1 syrup as the use of 1:1 sugar syrup adds additional, perhaps unwanted, dilution to a drink compared to 2:1 syrup, typically around 5 to 8% depending on the recipe. It's a small percentage but worth eliminating. If desirable in a particular drink dilution can be controllably increased by the addition of a measured amount of chilled water. If you worry about over dilution from bad "wet" ice then you should also care about the amount of water in your sugar syrup.

When making sugar syrup some people measure by weight (e.g. 2kg of sugar to 1kg of water) and other people measure by volume (e.g. 2 cups sugar to 1 cup water). Measuring by weight results in a sweeter syrup than that made measuring by volume.

A 2:1 (sucrose) sugar syrup made by measuring by volume has a 65.1°brix, a near-as-damn-it identical brix to the leading brand of commercially made cane sugar syrup. The following shows the differing levels of sweetness between the most commonly used (sucrose) sugar syrups.

Homemade sugar syrup 2 sugar to 1 water by weight = 66.7°brix
Homemade sugar syrup 2 sugar to 1 water by volume = 65.1°brix
Monin Pure Cane sugar syrup (855g sugar per litre) = 65.0°brix
Monin Gomme sugar syrup (835g sugar per litre) = 64.7°brix
Homemade sugar syrup 1 sugar to 1 water by weight = 50.0°brix
Homemade sugar syrup 1 sugar to 1 water by volume = 48.0°brix

To balance citrus fruits such as lemon and lime juice, a rough rule of thumb is to use 15ml/0.5oz of 65.0°brix (2:1) syrup to 30ml/1oz of citrus juice. If using a 48°brix (1:1) syrup you will need roughly 1.5 times as much syrup.

Different types of sugar

Bog standard cane sugar, the type we use in our tea and coffee is sucrose. When this is heated with water it breaks down into fructose and glucose through a process called hydrolysis to produce what's known as inverted sugar. Bakers prefer inverted sugar as products made using it tend to retain more moisture and are less prone to crystallization. But what is good in the kitchen is not good behind the bar.

Sucrose based sugar syrup is the most viscous but if overheated during the syrup making process then some of this viscosity will be lost as the sucrose hydrolyses into less viscous fructose and glucose. Fructose is the least viscous sugar with glucose slightly more viscous than fructose, but sucrose is almost twice as viscous as glucose.

While hydrolysing sucrose into fructose and glucose results in less viscosity it has the opposite effect on sweetness with a 50/50 sucrose and glucose syrup being around 25% sweeter than 100% sucrose syrup. (Glucose is about 75% of the sweetness of sucrose but Fructose is nearly twice as sweet as sucrose.)

How to make sugar syrup

Buy a proprietary brand of sugar syrup or make your own sugar syrup. We recommend making a 2 parts sugar to 1 part water (2:1) syrup as follows. White caster sugar is most commonly used but also consider using a dark sugar to make a syrup for use in cocktails based on dark spirits such as an Old-Fashioned.

1. Pour one cup of filtered or mineral water into a clean saucepan.

2. Add one cup (the same size as used for water) of caster sugar (dissolves easier than granulated) and stir using a clean metal spoon (not wooden spoon).

3. Place on a low heat and continue to stir briskly until all the sugar has dissolved.

4. Gradually add a second cup of sugar into the saucepan stirring as the sugar is added.

5. Heating helps the sugar to dissolve in the water but also has the negative effect of changing the sugar's physical properties. The more heat that is applied, the more the sucrose will break down to the less viscous but sweeter glucose and fructose. So do not let the water even come close to boiling and only gently heat for as long as it takes to dissolve the sugar. (The temperature should be low enough to be able to tough the sides of the pan.)

6. Allow syrup to cool and pour into a sterile empty bottle. Ideally, you should finely strain your syrup into the bottle to remove any undissolved crystals which could otherwise encourage crystallisation.

7. If kept in a refrigerator this mixture will keep for six months.

After making your syrup you'll notice that 1 cup water and 2 cups of sugar don't produce 3 cups of sugar syrup. Surprisingly the result is around 1.5 cups of syrup. The reason for this is that the sugar dissolves into the water, occupying spaces between the water molecules.

Gomme or gum syrup

For me this syrup is the king of sugar syrups, delivering the sweetness of 2:1 sugar syrup but with extra viscosity provided by the addition of gum Arabic - so much extra viscosity that it adds a discernible smoothness to cocktails as diverse as the Daiquiri to the Old-Fashioned.

Most of the companies commercially making this syrup are French so it tends to be called gomme sirop but is simply gum syrup in English. Like most bartenders I tend to mix the French and English names to gomme syrup.

Gomme syrup was widely in use in the mid-1800s and E. Ricket and C. Thomas' 1871 Gentleman's Table Guide includes the following recipe:
"Dissolve 1 lb. of the best white gum Arabic in 1½ pints of water, nearly boiling; 3ilbs. Of white sugar or candy; melt and clarify it with half pint of cold water; add the gum solution and boil altogether for two minutes. This gum is for cocktails.

Gum arabic, the essential ingredient to this wonderful syrup, is also known as gum acacia or meska. This fine white power is made from the hardened sap of two species of the acacia tree; Senegalia (Acacia) senegal and Vachellia (Acacia) seyal. Gum Arabic is used in the food industry as a stabilizer and has the E number E414. It is also used in cosmetics, inks and the textile industry and is the glue used on postage stamps. Artists will be familiar with gum arabic as it is used as a binder for watercolours.

How to make gum syrup

When you come to make gum syrup for the first time you realise why its use has declined. While it takes only a few minutes to make 2:1 sugar syrup just teasing the gum arabic powder into a paste and then a solution takes at least ten minutes. Then you add your sugar and clarify. It's a bit of a faff but worth the effort.

1. Start by measuring one cup of filtered or mineral water and ¼ cup of gum arabic powder.

2. Like cornflour or cornstarch, gum arabic forms clumps when it comes into contact with water and is best first mixed with water at room temperature rather than hot water. Tip the gum arabic into a mixing bowl and add a small amount of the water from the mug. Using the back of a spoon mix the gum arabic and water first into a paste, gradually adding the rest of the water, and then into a straw yellow thick solution with a foamy head. This process takes 5 to 10 minutes but feels like an eternity so put the radio or music on before you start.

3. Pour your gum arabic and water solution in a saucepan over very low heat and add one cup of caster (not granulated) sugar. Stir the sugar into the solution until all the sugar has dissolved.

4. Gradually add a second cup of caster sugar into the saucepan stirring as the sugar is added.

5. Heating helps the sugar to dissolve in the water but also has the negative effect of changing the sugar's physical properties. So do not let the water even come close to boiling and only gently heat for as long as it takes to dissolve the sugar. (The temperature should be low enough to be able to touch the sides of the pan.)

6. Cover and allow syrup to cool. You will end up with a thick straw yellow syrup with a white foamy head. It helps if you cover and leave this to stand for at least 24 hours.

7. Pouring through a fine strainer into a sterile container with a tap near its base and leave for 24 hours to settle and so clarify. Draw of your gomme syrup through the tap to separate from any settled deposits and foamy head.

8. Place in a sealed sterile bottle and refrigerate where the gomme syrup will keep for six months.

Alternative non-sugar sweeteners

You can make syrups as described above using a sweetener in place of sugar. I tested several sweeteners and consequently I recommend XyloBrit.

XyloBrit (Xylitol)
1 spoon = 1 spoon of sugar. Dissolves like sugar and needs heat to make a 2:1 syrup. Produces a crystal clear liquid that does not foam when shaken.
Comment: Good flavour, close to that of sugar with a slightly thinner mouthfeel. Best finish of all three sweeteners I tried but not as good as sugar. 4/5

Green Canderel (Stevia)
1 spoon = 1 spoon of sugar. Fizzes as it dissolves in water but dissolves easily without the need to heat.
Produces a clear liqueur with thin viscosity that foams when shaken.
Comment: Not quite sweet enough. Worryingly fizzy after shaking. Unpleasant finish. 2/5

Silver Spoon Truvia (Stevia)
1/3 spoon = 1 spoon of sugar. Harder to dissolve in water than Green Canderel and seems to benefit from being warmed. Produces a clear liquid with a slight straw yellow hue that looks like sugar syrup. Foams when shaken.
Comment: Structure of cocktail made using this syrup seems to break apart very quickly with thin foam on top of a cocktail. Good taste but with a disappointing finish. 3/5

Sugar, the good, the bad and the ugly

Written by: Jane Ryan

Sugar is being touted as the latest bad guy. Blamed for the sharp increase in obesity, not to mention the myriad of other health complications directly related to overindulgence in this sweetest of products, we're all being told to back away from the addictive white crystals.

To begin, this article talks primarily about sugar sucrose, or table sugar, which is a crystalline carbohydrate, a fast track energy source that also releases dopamine. Increasingly scientists are comparing sugar to drugs that create a dependency thanks to this release of dopamine, similar to cocaine and nicotine.

Sugar, the good, the bad and the ugly, was the topic of a talk at Tales of the Cocktail 2014, where Georgia van Tiel, from FIX, David Gillespie, author of Sweet Poison, Jeffrey Kluger, editor at large for TIME magazine, Ben Carlotto, a bartender and hospitality profession and Claire Smith, Belvedere's Head of Spirit Creation debated the necessary evil of this substance.

"Let's begin with the serious stuff; Mary Poppins was a drug dealer," joked Claire Smith. Sounds a bit harsh but there's an element of truth in this sweeping statement. Sugar is one of the most addictive substances in the world. Poor Jane and Michael didn't stand a chance. And if you believe today's media, they probably died early from a combination of diabetes, cancer and obesity.

ency 16 image

The 21st-century consumer's growing intake of sugar is undoubtedly one of the prime causes of today's obesity epidemic. Only recently the World Health Organisation has halved the recommended daily allowance of added sugar from 12 teaspoons a day to just 6. For a substance so universally popular it's a strange predicament to be in.

And we do adore sugar. As Claire went on to point out most of our terms of endearment, ways to show affection, are linked to sugar. Sugar-pie, honey bunch. We have been in love with the stuff for hundreds of years. But there is a reason for this. When we consume sugar we release dopamine which lights up reward pathways in our brains, in much the same way that other addictive substances do. In fact, the left-hand side of the brain can be happier on sugar than it is on cocaine.

ency 58 image

Even the most nutritionally unaware person knows that consuming only chocolate bars or cookies is far from healthy. "The more sinister side of this debate does not focus on how much candy we're eating, but rather how much sugar we're eating unwittingly. Yoghurts, fruit juice, bread, ketchup, all sorts of established food groups contain a growing amount of hidden sugar," said Claire.

Even more worryingly the sugar industry is trying to hide this from us. In 1989 the Sugar Association lobbied the US government to protect what is referred to as 'proprietary information' meaning it did not have to disclose the types or the amount of added sugars. In 2012, 80% of items in the American food supply contained added sugar that did not need to be labelled, according to Euromonitor.

ency 33 image

A very important point to understand is sugar, or sucrose, is a combination of two monosaccharides; 50% fructose and 50% glucose. And it's the fructose that we need to be the most afraid of.

We need glucose. Every cell in our bodies requires it to function. Even plants need it. It's the only fuel our brain needs. As for the fructose, not so much. "The glucose stuff can be used, and is used, by every single cell in our body to run us. It's vital. For that reason, we can make it from anything, any carbohydrate we eat we can turn into glucose. We're very well adapted to do that. The fructose element we can't use at all. Expect our liver," said David Gillespie.

Our liver can turn fructose into fat at lightning speed. What's more, it does this as a priority job, long before it begins to process alcohol or glucose, before it does anything it turns fructose into fat.

Consequently, the rate of obesity is rising. In the United States in 1905 one in 100 people were obese. Now it's heading to 30 out of 100 and it doesn't seem to be slowing down. There's an interesting correlation just from that rate and the amount of sugar we eat.

ency 82 image

While Claire pointed out that WHO now recommends we only consume 6 teaspoons a day of added sugar, the reality of what we do intake is so much more. David's first point was that this consumption, since 1822, has gone from 2 to 45 teaspoons per day. As an industry to use sugar as a flavour enhancer, as an ingredient in so many of our drinks, is there something bartenders can do about this? Ben Carlotto thinks so.

Sugary cocktails

"What doesn't have sugar in it in our bar?" questioned Ben. The answer is there isn't much. Mostly because sugar helps us, it's a great flavour enhancer, offering texture and depth.

"Bartenders need to understand sugar isn't just an important flavour in cocktails, it's everything else that goes on with that. Why do we use sugar? As bartenders we are battling bitterness and battling the acids," explained Ben.

With the current bitters market there are hundreds of different of options, and they all give a magnificent amount of aromas and flavour profiles to our cocktails. But does the bitterness need to be there? What would happen if we took that bitterness away?

As Ben argues, we wouldn't have to balance it with the sugar. "What about if we look at creating tinctures? Tinctures are basically bitters without the bitter element. If we had an Old Fashioned without the bitter element, using a tincture instead of bitters, then we wouldn't have to add as much sugar. It would still be lovely and aromatic and delicious but it wouldn't have to have as much sugar. Alcohol is a sponge that grabs onto flavour. Putting alcohol into a jar with botanicals means it will draw the flavour from them," said Ben.

ency 75 image

There are a few basic rules, however, to creating tinctures to replace bitters. Paying attention to the proff is crucial, especially when using botanicals of a lighter nature such as teas, jasmine or rose. A high proof liquor will burn such a botanical and will preserve it rather than take on aromatics and flavour, around 45-50% is recommended, whereas dense botanicals such as cinnamon, cloves or liquorice root, require a high abv, anything up to 80% proof.

"Each botanical has its own needs. Therefore it is an experiment of patience and trying constantly. Use a neutral based alcohol with the highest ABV you can. Some botanicals will need to be ground down before maceration. It is important to not overly macerate. The alcohol will definitely damage the botanical over an extended period of time. So I taste every day and then filter when I think it's right," said Ben. "Tinctures I believe are the way forward, especially in helping us to not have to add sugar to battle that bitterness."

Battling against acid is not so easy without using some type of sweetner. It is possible to play around malic and or tartactric acids and injecting flavour with another medium such as dried botanicals, but fats can neutralize the heat of acid. Glancing back through the history books to old drinks we no longer make, many of them incorporate fats such as milk or the classic is egg yolk in flips, and even nowadays avocado has been making its debut on menus worldwide. Using fats to balance out the acid completely takes away the need for sugar. As Ben said, our body can deal with fat. It can't deal with fructose, so we need to look at ways to deal with our bitterness and our acids.

Sweeteners present their own gambit of problems. Saccharin is one option but it's troublesome when public opinion is split on flavour, as many believe saccharin tastes similar to aluminium foil. Problematic when trying to create a delicious cocktail. Likewise with stevious and its pungent woody note. And these associated and complex residual flavours aren't the only issues, there's also the loss of texture and the huge increase in perceived sweetness.

ency 49 image

But sugar can be the answer as well in avoiding excess fructose. The beloved agave is 90% fructose, far more lethal than sugar. Julio Bermejo who invented the Tommy's Margarita with agave syrup did so to take away the triple sec, so the tequila could shine. Sweetening the drink further brought the tequila flavours to the foreground. "I want to take it one step further as white sugar does not have flavour. It is just a sweetener. If we consider using sugar instead of agave in a Margarita then the tequila is going to be even more pronounced. We'd be halving the amount of fructose in the drink and making the tequila shine that much more," said Ben.

Glancing at the back bar is a rather telling tale of just how much this industry relies on sugar, For a liqueur to be called so it has to contain 100 grams of sugar in each litre. A crème de, such as crème de pîche, has to have 300 grams per litre to be called so while crème de cassis is required to have 400 grams as a bare minimum.

Ben advises always creating homemade liqueurs so to control what is going in, and to think of options. Crème de cassis is usually easily replaced by a reduction of pomegranate juice, as it still has those tart and acidic properties.

Another tip he presented was to use the skin of fruit not the flesh. This cuts out much of the fructose, and prevents crystallisation from occurring but maintains much of the fruits flavour. And finally Ben explained that but inverting sugar syrups they're perceived as sweeter, therefore requiring less to be used. Inverting sugar can be achieved by one of two ways. The first it to super heat it, which is damaging to the flavours. The easiest way is the add acid, a simple addition of 10ml of lemon juice to one litre of syrup will invert it.

"Re-think your cocktails, deconstruct them and rebuild them with good efficient syrup construction," said Ben.

Sugar: The bad

David explained just what sugar does once it's entered the body. Obesity might be the least of our worries.

ency 88 image

First and foremost it destroys our teeth. In populations exposed to sugar, they have 24 cavities per 100, in populations not exposed to sugar they have 4 cavities per 100. The difference? Fructose. The bacteria in our mouth that produces tooth decay needs fructose. They need the dangerous half of sugar to do it. If they don't have it they can't produce decay. So it takes out our teeth first, they're the canary in the coalmine, an early warning system. When your teeth start to go that's an early warning that the rest of this stuff is happening as well.

Fructose has a unique ability to widen the gaps in the linings of our gut and allow endotoxins into our blood stream. A unique ability, like nothing else we consume, except alcohol. Save that we're not consuming alcohol at the levels we're consuming sugar. If the average person were consuming alcohol at the rate the average person is consuming sugar they'd be having 20 standard drinks a day. Not just one day but every day of their life. And it does significantly more damage. By allowing endotoxins into the blood stream people become intolerant. Gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance, all of those things come back to the same problem, which is damage to the gut wall.

Fatty Liver
Once fructose enters our blood stream and hits the liver, it's a priority job to be turned into fat. The liver then stores that fat and creates a condition called fatty liver. More than 33% of the American adult population and more than 15% of children over twelve have fatty liver right now. It is asymptomatic, meaning you won't know you have it until something goes wrong. This is fatty liver eventually developing into cirrhosis of the liver. It's called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease to distinguish from alcoholic fatty liver disease which affects much fewer people not than non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Estimates say more than a third of the population have this.

ency 32 image

Diabetes Type II
The next thing that happens is we become resistant to a hormone called insulin, which is designed to illuminate glucose from our blood stream. Remember we're a machine that runs on glucose, the glucose is used for energy, the way we get it from our blood stream and into our cells is using the hormone insulin. The ironic thing is that the fructose accumulating around the liver destroys our ability to do exactly that. And it leaves the glucose in our blood stream. That is called insulin resistance. Be insulin resistant long enough, with a high enough blood glucose level, and you've developed type two diabetes. We are well on track to a third of the US population having type two diabetes by 2020. It is a significant problem.

This is the obvious one, the one we can all see. Fructose messes with the appetite control hormone insulin, resulting in you steadily accumulating your weight. It infinitesimally increases the amount of food you can eat, not by a lot, about a biscuit a day but that is enough, every single day, to push out your appetite control so you can gain weight on a steady basis over the entirety of your life.

When we turn fructose into fat we create a by-product called uric acid. This accumulates in our blood stream, but we are good at getting rid of it. The only problem is it must pass through our kidneys. When we overload it we break our kidneys. That's why chronic kidney disease has doubled in incidents in the last ten year alone, it is why it's one the leading causes of hospitalisation and the only cure for that is a new kidney.

The other consequence of uric acid is gout. Which is an arthritic condition, giving you intense arthritis in the feet and lower joints of the body. Gout did not exist 30 years ago, it had been completely eradicated. Now it's affecting huge tracts of the population.

ency 60 image

Erectile dysfunction
Sugar is anti-Viagra essentially. Viagra increases nitric oxide production, fructose decreases nitric oxide production. This means less blood getting to vital organs.

Exactly the same thing happens to the dilation of other arteries in the body, which is what causes high blood pressure. Nitric oxide causes the dilation of arteries, which lowers blood pressure, once you are no longer producing it your arteries restrict and the blood pressure goes up.

Heart Disease.
All that fat which is accumulating around the liver doesn't just stay in the liver, it hits the blood stream as well. That fat becomes oxidised and ends in heart disease.

One that isn't an obvious connection is depression, and this comes out of the fact that sugar is addictive. We don't have the word chocoholic in the language for nothing. Coco is not addictive, anyone who has eaten raw coco will tell you it's about as addictive as raw coffee beans. It's the sugar in chocolate that's addictive. This stuff has the same addictive powers as caffeine and cocaine.

A side effect is what's known as the serotonin dopamine balance in the brain, where over time, as you consume an addictive substance, whether its sugar or sex or gambling, you are increasing the number of dopamine receptors in the brain and decreasing the serotonin receptors. Serotonin are the things which stop us becoming depressed. The drug cure for this is something which allows the serotonin to come back up.

Now being called by many researchers as type III diabetes. If you have a high blood sugar concentration for long enough, ultimately you destroy the thing that is running the show, your brain. Alzheimers has now been conclusively linked to type II diabetes.

Finally David ended on this note: "people say to me I don't consume 45 teaspoons of sugar a day, I don't know who you are talking about, but it isn't me. I don't put sugar in my tea or coffee, I don't put sugar on my cereal. I'm here to tell you that you are consuming it whether you know it or not. If you eat a heart foundation approved breakfast cereal and a glass of juice every morning you're at a pound of sugar by the end of the week. You haven't added a gram of it but it's there, and the reason it's there is because the food industry knows exactly what I just told you. Which is if you want to move product put an addictive substance in it. If they could put nicotine in breakfast cereals they would."

The good

"Sugar isn't going anywhere and we need to equip people with the skills to think critically about what's going into their mouths and into the mouths of the ones they love," said Georgia, pointing out that we actually need sugar. It's our body's preferred fuel, the only problem is we are consuming too much.

"Naturally occurring sugar, which gives fruit, some vegetables and milk their sweet taste, is perfectly healthy. It's the added sugars, sweeteners put in during the processing and preparation that is the not so good."

And she went on to stress that we all get essential vitamins and minerals, along with water and fibre that slowly release sugar in to the blood stream from naturally occurring sugars in fruit, thus preventing insulin spikes (highs and lows in energy levels).

"Sugar is out of favour. I know that, you know that, but like everything, moderation is key. I'm not here arguing the health implications of a high sugar diet but do we need to give up all the foods that contain sugar? Or can we have our health and enjoy the occasional piece of cake too?"

Instead Georgia argued for education. "In schools we need to educate and provide options, the food industry needs to step up and be accountable for what they are helping put in our mouths, parliaments need to regulate how much added sugar goes in to our foods and we need to make the choice between eating to live and eating to die."

ency 18 image

Georgia's rules to live by:
-Sugar is a simple form of carbohydrate which is present naturally in a number of foods like fruits, vegetables, grains, etc. In its natural form sugar is accompanied by a number of vitamins, minerals, enzymes and fibres which help the body absorb the sugar molecules properly.

-When sugar is refined, it is stripped of its vitamins, minerals and fibres which make it difficult for the body to digest and absorb. The big problem here is that in order to properly digest this sugar our body has to use some of its own vitamins, minerals and enzymes, depleting its own precious resources.

-The more sugar you eat, the more you crave. The more sugar you eat the more you crash, over and over and over again. Moods up, mood down and repeat.

-Five ingredient rule. Always read labels and if there is a sweetener in the first five ingredients like evaporated cane juice, HFCS, fruit juice concentrate, agave, frustose, dextrose or syrup, look for another option.

-Eat a variety of food. Cutting back on sugary foods mean you will most likely cut back on processed foods and therefore enjoy more whole foods and fruits and vegetables.

-Know your sugar names so you can identify them on product labels. Fructose, beet sugar, brown sugar, agave, maple, galactose, cane sugar, corn syrup, glucose, honey, sugar, dextrin, lactose, dextrose, mannitol, molasses, sorbitol, maltose, sucrose, white sugar.

"Sugar is good, sugar is bad, sugar is ugly but sugar is here to stay and needs more than just a one-sided, abstinence-based approach. Fat, salt, sugar and carbs help me look like I do, live like I do and love life like I do. I enjoy everything in moderation and know that my time on this earth will come to an end not because of my diet and bad choices but probably because I crossed a NYC road," said Georgia.

The Ugly

"The message I want to bring today is that eating is supposed to be a simply process. Eating ought to be about nutrition. Staying alive and well and strong. And certain nutritional and metabolic truths ought to prevail. Metabolism and science don't care about trends, they don't care about scare tactics, they don't care about fads and misinformation. They care simply about how the science works," said Jeffery Kluger.

ency 37 image

Time magazine has covered this a great deal. The basic message of this cover was there is nothing you can eat that won't kill you.

By 1984 cholesterol scared everyone. "This was in the era when the poor egg and the poor bacon were bring kicked around by nutriutionists. Now bacon is a separate food group that is given endless coverage and parades. So this is how food trends change," said Jeffery.

This has been true of alcohol as well. In the Mad Men era boozy lunches were followed up by boozy dinners. But in the 80's that started to change.

"This kind of backing and forthing is now happening with sugar. A few things are true. The sugar industry has lied to us before," said Jeffery.

ency 14 image

Recently the Sugar Association put out this statement: "The Sugar Association today warns that attempts by health advocates to stigmatise sugar as toxic or poison are baseless and have little to no scientific underpinning."

This contends that sugar has been safely consumed for 1000s of years. Yet in America there are 56 different names for sugar that you wouldn't recognise, Jeffery pointed out.

ency 72 image

"A registered dietician once scolded me for using the word fattening when I was describing something. She said there really is no such thing as a fattening food. Think of the most sugar dense, calorie dense, fat dense food you can. I picked cheesecake which you practically need a forklift to move from table to table. She said yes, cheesecake is all of those things. But an occasional piece of cheesecake in a moderate sized portion will not do you a bit of harm, it's all about managing the material. Still it's easy to miss that message of moderation."

It does pay to be mindful of bar mixers, warned Jeffery. And it pays to be smart about how we look for sugar. When you show people a Pina Colada and a Screwdriver and ask which one has more, the answer is overwhelmingly the Pina Colada. But the truth: it's the screwdriver because of all of the orange juice.

"And let's look at the future too: Alcohol (or ethanol) is regulated because it is addictive and causes damage. Some may argue that sugar does too. Could we imagine a day when sugar is regulated as well? Should we be more proactive about use of sugar, and be exploring new ways to bring better balance to cocktails, in the way that some clever bartenders are exploring tasty low alcohol-by-volume cocktails? If we get too crazy about sugar, will the future be filled with no sugar/no fun cocktails?"

ency 61 image

Sugar and sugar syrup image 1