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Demerara Syrup

Last Updated on November 24, 2022

The Demerara sugar used in rich Demerara Simple Syrup is an alternative to the standard granulated sugar. With a layer of caramel flavoring, it sweetens your drinks beautifully. But what is Demerara Syrup and how to make it at home?

a bottle of demerara simple syrup

Demerara Syrup

demerara syrup in a bottle

Rich Demerara syrup is a simple syrup recipe made with Demerara sugar and water. You may have had it if you’ve purchased cocktails from the bar or ordered an old-fashioned Lemon Drop Martini. Or, like we used it in our Bacardi Rum Punch and Peanut Butter Whiskey Drinks.

Now, some ask if Demerara Syrup is the same as simple syrup and the simple answer is yes. Regular simple syrup is a mixture of 1 cup of water and 1 cup of granulated sugar. Demerara syrup recipe is similar. The only difference is it calls for Demerara sugar.

So, what is the difference between Demerara syrup and simple syrup? Demerara syrup will have a light-to-dark brown color as Demerara is brown sugar- light brown sugar to be exact. Manufacturers package Demerara sugar under Turbinado sugar. Sometimes adding extra caramel flavoring to enrich the flavor and shipping it off to large grocery stores.


Turbinado is another name for sugar cane sugar. Turbinado stays close to its natural state and has a slight caramel taste. This is why you’ll often hear Demerara sugar referred to as Turbinado and vice-versa, as they are both natural raw sugars with caramel flavoring.

What is Demerara Sugar

Demerara Sugar vs Turbinado Sugar

The term ‘Demerara’ comes from Demerara sugar, which is sugar found and exported from Demerara, Guyana.

‘Demerara’ pronunciation is ‘de-mer-rah-ri’. Demerara sugar is unrefined cane sugar. This means that the cane sugar is extremely close to a pure raw state unlike many commercial brand sugars.

Before the early 1800s, Demerara, Guyana was under Dutch rule and produced cane sugar along the Demerara River. Demerara sugar is highly valued for its super sweet flavoring- containing more than 10% molasses. After the 18th century, Guyana fell under British rule. This transition ramped up Demerara’s sugar cane production until it became an international hit.

Substitutions for Demerara Sugar

demerara syrup cocktails

Raw brown sugar, turbinado sugar, evaporated cane juice, caramel sugar, and certain agave sugar are all substitutes for Demerara sugar. Although Demerara sugar is no longer just produced in Guyana, I like that the name is still used in honor of the original Demerara River production.

The only tweaking you may need to do is to the sweet factor. If you’re going for an overly sweet appeal like in icings, or glazes, add more sugar to your mix. Turbinado sugar and caramel sugar syrup mixes would be best.

However, substitutes like agave syrup and evaporated cane juice are extremely sweet. Agave syrup and evaporated cane juice is sweeter than the previous substitutes. So, you may need to scale back during the Demerara syrup blend and complete a few taste tests. Adding too much agave syrup, for example, can cause an extreme spike in blood sugar that is often very overwhelming for most dessert eaters. Agave syrup sneaks up on you and you don’t realize how sweet it is until it is too late so, proceed with caution.

Ingredients you need

Making Demerara syrup is simple and easy! All you need is Demerara sugar and water- that’s it!

demerara simple syrup ingredients

Usually, the ratio of sugar to water for simple syrup is 1:1. I tried this ratio a few times, but found it to be too thin and watery. We use the ratio of sugar to water in this rich simple syrups is 2:1 instead of 1:1, which allows you to add sweetness to cocktails with less dilution, also to achieve a maple syrup-like consistency. Which works beautifully on iced coffee, tea, Demerara syrup cocktails like the Margarita cocktail, Manhattan, Mojitos, and Moscow Mules.

How to Make Demerara Syrup?

making regular simple syrup
  1. Add demerara sugar and water to a small saucepan over medium heat.
agave vs demerara syrup

2. Stir until once demerara sugar is dissolved in the water then turn off the heat. Do not bring it to a boil.

simple syrup

3. Let cool down, then pour into glass bottles (with a funnel) and seal tightly with a lid. Store in the refrigerator.

Do you have to refrigerate it?

Yes, I recommend refrigerating homemade Demerara syrup in an air-tight container for no longer than four (4) weeks. Because Demerara sugar is in its raw state, it turns sour quicker contrary to popular belief. And you can taste the difference between fresh Demerara syrup and syrup that has been sitting for more than a month. Ditto for unrefrigerated Demerara syrup.

FAQ

Q: Is Demerara syrup the same as simple syrup?

The ratio and ingredients of Demerara syrup are the same as those of simple syrup. Demerara syrup uses demerara sugar instead of white sugar, which is less refined and provides a caramel flavor.

Q: Demerara Sugar vs Turbinado Sugar

Neither of these sugars are highly refined (most of the molasses is left behind). Demerara has a molasses-like flavor, while turbinado has a subtler, caramel-like taste.

Q: Demerara Cane Sugar vs Brown Sugar

Similar to some soft brown sugar varieties, demerara sugar has an amber color and a mellow flavor. Demerara sugar, however, has a coarse texture and a large crystal size, whereas soft brown sugar has a soft texture and fine crystals.

Q: Why is Demerara sugar healthier?

There are trace amounts of vitamins and minerals in Demerara sugar, which is less processed than regular white sugar. Although both types of sucrose are composed of sucrose, they have equal calories and have similar effects on blood sugar. Despite being slightly healthier than refined sugar, when it comes to consuming, moderation is the key.

Q: Where to buy Demerara sugar?

Usually, you can find Demerara sugar in large grocery or supermarket baking aisles (sugar section). In specialty food stores like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, you might also find it in the health food aisles.

rich demerara syrup in a bottle

Hope you like this homemade Demerara Syrup!

More Vegan Sweets

demerara syrup in a bottle

Demerara Syrup

Cocktails, coffee liqueurs, and even brandy all use Demerara Simple Syrup on the rim. But what is Demerara Syrup and how to make it at home?
5 from 6 votes
Print Pin Rate
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 250 ml
Calories: 61kcal
Author: SHU-CHUN

Ingredients

  • 2 cup Demerara Sugar
  • 1 cup Water

Instructions

  • Add demerara sugar and water to a small saucepan over medium heat.
  • Stir until once demerara sugar is dissolved in the water then turn off the heat. Do not bring it to a boil.
  • Let cool down, then pour into glass bottles (with a funnel) and seal tightly with a lid. Store in the refrigerator.

Nutrition

Serving: 10ml | Calories: 61kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Sodium: 0.1mg | Potassium: 0.5mg | Sugar: 2g | Calcium: 0.2mg | Iron: 0.01mg

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