Syrups, Nectars, Drops

On my quest to discover all liquid sweeteners in stores across the United States,

I found hundreds of products and list them here

There is A LOT to see here.

Scroll down to explore it all or, if you are short on time, make your choice below: 

Stevia | Liquid
Stevia leaf extracts are food ingredients with GRAS status. The leaf extracts go through a great deal of processing and purification until they become palatable and free of impurities. They provides zero calories and are 200 to 400 times sweeter than table sugar. Find here brands of liquid stevia. The most common carriers include glycerine, erythitol, alcohol, and cellulose. Some are sold as dietary supplements and allow health claims on labels.
Monk Fruit | Liquid
Monk fruit, also called luo han guo fruit, is a small green fruit of the Chinese plant Siraitia grosvenorii Swingle. The sweet components in the fruit, referred to as mogrosides, are 230 to 425 times sweeter than table sugar.
Artificial Sweetener | Liquid
Liquid artificial sweeteners made with sucralose or saccharin
Syrups with Less Sugar
Contain a syrup (caloric sweetener), which is blended with a reduced calorie sweetener and/or a high intensity sweetener.
The predominant ingredient is a caloric sweetener: honey, maple syrup, agave. Contain a natural high intesity sweetener (stevia). Provide 25 to 50% less calories than the syrup replaced. Twice as sweet as the syrup it replaces, i.e., half tsp of these blends is equal to one tsp of the syrup replaced.
Lite Table Syrup
Contain corn syrup (or high fructose corn syrup) blended with a reduced calorie sweetener and/or a high intensity sweetener
The predominant ingredient is corn syrup or high fructose corn syrup.
Contain high intesity sweeteners (stevia, monk fruit, sucralose). Provide 25 to 50% less calories than the syrup replaced. Often twice as sweet as the syrup it replaces, i.e., half tsp of these blends is equal to one tsp of the syrup replaced
Low-Digestible Syrup
Tabletop Sweeteners that contain carbohydrates that are slowly, partially, or not digested at all
Provide 25 to 90% fewer calories than sugars
Include polyols, rare sugars, and some dietary fibers.
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Click the Try it button of each sweetener to be linked to them on Amazon

where you can read reviews, labels, Q&As, and price.

ZERO CALORIE

< 5 cal per serving

0 Net Carbs  .  0 GI  .  0 Sugar

 
 
 
 

REDUCED CALORIE

​Two groups:

(1) Syrup Blends

(2) Low-Digestible Sweeteners

 

SYRUP BLEND

50% fewer calories than the syrup it replaces.

Contain honey, agave nectar, or corn syrups.

Not calorie free. Not sugar free.

 
 

LOW-DIGESTIBLE SWEETENERS

25 to 90% fewer calories than table sugar.

​Often less sweet than table sugar.

Offer digestive benefits and issues.

Zero to low GI. Sugar Free.

CALORIC SWEETENERS

aka Syrup or Liquid Sugar

  • Explore here liquid sweeteners obtained from tree saps, flower nectars, cereals, and fruits

  • Sources include cane, beet, agave, coconut & maple trees, sorghum, corn, barley, brown rice, dates, and fruit juice

  • Contain two major portions: sugar and water; i.e., is a solution of one or more sugars in concentrated form

  • The sugar portion is mainly composed of glucose, fructose, and/or sucrose, no matter where the syrup comes from

  • Honey is about 80% sugar. Maple syrup has about 66% sugar. Agave is 68 to 77% sugar. The remainder is mostly water.

  • These syrups contain trace amounts of other compounds that give each syrup their unique flavor and color  

  • When it comes to digestion, these syrups are absorbed in our body as glucose and/or fructose

  • With only one exception, these syrups are not a significant source of nutrients other than calories from sugars

  • The only syrup that contains an appreciable amount of minerals is cane molasses, but its consumption is very low.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT CALORIC SWEETENERS

All syrups are processed but some more than others

One is not necessarily better than another 

Each one is useful for some applications and not to others 

Each and every one has its own distinctive qualities

Choose them for reasons such as their unique flavor, your satisfaction, or culinary benefits, but not based on their nutritive value.

Mild Molasses
Mild molasses comes from the first boiling toward the production of sugar crystals. They are mildly bitter and sweet. They are also referred to as first-boil, light, golden, barbados or robust molasses.
Dark Molasses
Dark Molasses is a by-product syrup remaining after the crystallization of Sucrose from cane in Sugar Mills. It is referred to as 'second molasses' because it comes from the second boiling toward the production of sugar crystals. It is also known as medium or full (flavored) molasses. It is darker in color, has more pronounced flavor, slightly more bitter taste and is slightly less sweet than the first molasses.

The darker grades are stronger in flavor & contain less sugar than lighter grades
Blackstrap Molasses
Blackstrap Molasses is a by-product of the refining process of cane sugar. It is the syrup left when no more sucrose can be crystallized. Also known as third or final molasses as it comes from the third and last boiling carried out in a Sugar Mill or a Sugar Refinery. Blackstrap molasses
is the least sweet, the most bitter, and the darkest of all the cane molasses.
Simple Syrup from Cane
Simple syrup is simply a solution of sucrose in water. Simple syrups often contain about 50% sugar (sucrose) and 50% water; or 1 part of sugar for 1 part of water by weight.

Commercial simple syrups may have additional ingredients that act as a preservative and help prevent crystallization (in cases where the syrup is more concentrated)
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UNREFINED CANE SYRUP

  • Also known as 'traditional', 'home style' or 'open kettle' cane syrup or molasses

  • Historically produced close to cane fields by slow simmering the clarified cane juice in open kettles

  • It is not a by-product of the cane sugar refining process 

  • No sugar crystals are removed from it during the production process 

  • Contains 25-30% sucrose and 50% invert sugar (fructose & glucose)

 

REFINED CANE SYRUP

  • Cane Syrup means any type of liquid sweetener derived, directly or indirectly, from cane. Explore here four types of refined cane sugar in liquid form

  • Contain two major portions: sugar and water; the sugar portion is mainly sucrose but also 'invert sugar' (the term used to refer to glucose plus fructose, which are obtained when sucrose molecules break down)

  • Cane molasses also contain a myriad of compounds that together contribute to their characteristic brown color and flavor which are products of 2 browning reactions: caramelization and a complex series of chemical reactions collectively known as Maillard reaction 

Traditional Cane Syrup
Traditional cane syrups & molasses are produced close to cane fields by slow simmering clarified cane juice in open kettles. They are not a by-product of the cane sugar refining process as they do not have sugar crystals removed from them.
Traditional Cane Molasses
Traditional cane syrups & molasses are produced close to cane fields by slow simmering clarified cane juice in open kettles. They are not a by-product of the cane sugar refining process as they do not have sugar crystals removed from them.
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INVERT SYRUP

aka Golden Syrup

  • Invert Syrup is made by boiling table sugar - sucrose from cane or beet - with an acid or the enzyme invertase. The sucrose molecules break down into its components parts: glucose and fructose.

  • Inversion is the technical term for the sucrose molecule splitting. Invert Sugar is the term used to refer to a mixture of equal parts (50:50) of glucose and fructose, originated from sucrose. Invert sugar is only encountered as a syrup.

  • Invert Syrup is a blend of sucrose + invert sugar (glucose + fructose). If about 90% of the sucrose is inverted, the resulting syrup is called full invert. If about 50% of the sucrose splits, the syrup is called medium invert. 

  • You can buy invert syrups in bakers and pastry chefs stores. Look for it in grocery stores as golden syrup or simply buy honey, which is a natural source of invert sugar (but is comes with its characteristic flavor).

  • You can make your own invert syrup by heating up granulated sugar in water with an acid such as lemon juice or cream of tartar for about thirty minutes. 

  • Invert syrups are less prone to crystallization than a sucrose solution. It is used when moisture absorption and retention is important. It can be brushed on baking goods after baking them to help seal in moisture.

  • The most common invert syrups contain 30 to 40% sucrose and 50% invert sugar (25% fructose & 25% glucose), being slightly sweeter than table sugar. A invert sugar with about 75% sugars (sucrose + fructose + glucose) is as sweet as table sugar.

Cane Syrup
Invert syrup made from cane sugar is a syrup containing mainly refined sugar and 'invert sugar' in water | To produce 'Invert sugar', an acid or the enzyme invertase is added to a syrup made by dissolving refined sugar in water | The sucrose molecule (from the refined sugar) then breaks down into its component parts, glucose and fructose | The resulting syrup is called 'full invert' if about 90% of the sucrose is broken down or 'medium invert' if about 50% of the sucrose
Organic Invert Syrup
Invert syrup made from cane sugar is a syrup containing mainly refined sugar and 'invert sugar' in water | To produce 'Invert sugar', an acid or the enzyme invertase is added to a syrup made by dissolving refined sugar in water | The sucrose molecule (from the refined sugar) then breaks down into its component parts, glucose and fructose | The resulting syrup is called 'full invert' if about 90% of the sucrose is broken down or 'medium invert' if about 50% of the sucrose
Invert Syrup
Invert syrup made from cane sugar is a syrup containing mainly refined sugar and 'invert sugar' in water | To produce 'Invert sugar', an acid or the enzyme invertase is added to a syrup made by dissolving refined sugar in water | The sucrose molecule (from the refined sugar) then breaks down into its component parts, glucose and fructose | The resulting syrup is called 'full invert' if about 90% of the sucrose is broken down or 'medium invert' if about 50% of the sucrose
Beet Syrup
Invert syrup made from beet sugar is a syrup containing mainly refined sugar and 'invert sugar' in water | To produce 'Invert sugar', an acid or the enzyme invertase is added to a syrup made by dissolving refined sugar in water | The sucrose molecule (from the refined sugar) then breaks down into its component parts, glucose and fructose | The resulting syrup is called 'full invert' if about 90% of the sucrose is broken down or 'medium invert' if about 50% of the sucrose
 

SYRUPS FROM OTHER SOURCES

  • Sweeteners produced from plant saps (other than cane and beet listed above), cereals, and fruits

  • Sources include agave, coconut and maple trees, sorghum, flower nectar, corn, barley, brown rice, dates, and fruit juices

  • Are in fact a solution of one or more sugars in concentrated form

  • Are mainly composed of glucose, fructose, and sucrose, no matter where they come from (other sugars include maltose, galactose)

  • May contain trace amounts of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, but ...

  • Are not a significant source of nutrients, other than calories from sugar. 

Agave Nectar
Agave nectar (or syrup) is a sweetener made from various species of agave, most famously blue agave - a succulent plant mainly from Mexico that is also a source of tequila. It is made by extracting the sap from the hearth of the plant. The sap is processed into a blend of fructose (55-90%) and glucose. It is 30-40% sweeter than table sugar. Sweetness = 1.3 - 1.4. Provides 20 Cal/ teaspoon; 60 Cal/ tablespoon
Coconut Nectar or Syrup
Coconut nectar is made by extracting dilute juice from the tropical palm tree, and then boiling off most the water. The major component of coconut sugar is sucrose followed by glucose and fructose . It is claimed to be the most sustainable sweetener in the world.
Sorghum Syrup
Sorghum syrup (or sorghum molasses) is made from the juice extracted from sweet sorghum cane, a cold tolerant cousin of sugarcane. The juice is traditionally concentrated in open pans in artisanal way. It is about 70% as sweet as table sugar; Sweetness = 0.7. Provides ~ 70 Cal per tablespoon; 20 Cal per teaspoon
Brown Rice Syrup
Rice Syrup is made by breaking down the starch in brown rice into sugars maltose & glucose, plus a carbohydrate a little bit larger than sugars called maltotriose. Maltose is two glucoses linked together; maltotriose is 3 glucoses. As it it digested as pure glucose, is promoted to consumers willing to limit fructose. It is 70% as sweet than table sugar. Sweetness = 0.7. Provides 25 Cal per teaspoon; 75 Cal/ tablespoon
Barley Malt Syrup
Malt or malted barley syrup is made from barley that has been sprouted, converting the starch in the cereal grain into the sugars maltose & glucose, plus another carbohydrate, maltotriose. Maltose is two glucoses linked together; maltotriose is 3 glucoses. As it it digested as pure glucose, is promoted to consumers willing to limit fructose. Has been around for thousands of years. Is about half as sweet as table sugar. Sweetness = 0.5. Provides about 20 Calories per/teaspoon; 60 Cal /tablespoon
Cassava Syrup
Tapioca Syrup is made from the starch of the cassava tuber or yucca root (also known as manioc). Since there isn't cultivation of a genetically modified tapioca, the syrup is advertised as a non-gmo sweetener. Contain glucose and maltose. It is less sweet than table sugar. Sweetness = 0.5-0.7. Provides about 20-25 Calories per/teaspoon; 60-75Cal /tablespoon
Date Syrup
Date sugar is made by drying dates. According to some commercial brands, it is an one-to-one replacement for white sugar or brown sugar but in fact date sugar does not dissolve as they do. It is less sweet than table sugar. Provides 10-15 Cal per teaspoon.
Fruit Juice Concentrate
Fruit Juice Concentrates (FJC) are made by evaporating most of the water of a fruit juice, usually from grapes, apples or pears. Contain different proportions of fructose, glucose and sucrose depending on the fruit used. Provide 40-60 Calories pe tablespoon. A typical FJC is sweeter than table sugar.
Table Syrups & Corn Syrup
Also known as “Table sirup”, “Sirup”, “Pancake sirup”, “Waffle sirup”, “Pancake and waffle sirup”, or “___ sirup”, the blank being filled in with the word or words that designate the sweetening ingredient in the syrup, except “maple”, “cane”, or “sorghum”. The word “sirup” may be spelled “syrup”. Sweet ingredients vary but most contain high fructose corn syrup.
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Honey
Most honeys have more fructose (~40%) than glucose (~30%), maltose (0.5-3.5%) & sucrose (~1%). Plus 4% of other carbohydrates & trace amounts of minerals, vitamins, enzymes. Is nectar concentrated by honeybees to 17% water. Mankind's 1st sweetener dating back at least 26,000 years. Cane sugar production is ~400 y/o. Typically tastes up to 50% sweeter than table sugar. Sweetness = 1-1.5. Provides 20 Cal/teaspoon or 60 Cal/tablespoon.
Maple Syrup
Syrup made by extracting dilute juice from the maple tree, and then boiling off most the water. Maple Syrup has about 30% water, 60% sucrose, and small amounts of fructose and glucose. The syrup is about 90% as sweet as table sugar; (Sweetness = 0.9) and provides about 16 Cal/ teaspoon or 50 Cal /tablespoon.
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TABLE SYRUPS

aka pancake syrup, waffle syrup or simply 'syrup'

  • Blend of liquid sweeteners; predominant ingredients are often corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup (HFCS)

  • By law, table syrups may contain other ingredients (emulsifiers, stabilizers, color additives, salt, preservatives, flavorings)  

  • Their ingredients list often states "2% or less of" cellulose gum, salt, caramel color, natural and artificial flavor, molasses, sodium benzoate, sorbic acid, citric acid, sodium hexametaphosphate, mono- and diglycerides

  • The brands of table syrup most used by Americans include Aunt Jemina, Mrs. Butterworth, Log Cabin, and Hungry Jack.

  • They contain 8 to 10g sugar and 50 to 60 calories per tablespoon (15mL)

  • Log Cabin Syrup is promoted to consumers for not being made with HFCS; it contains refined sugar or brown rice syrup instead

  • Karo is predominantly corn syrup. Other ingredients: salt, vanilla, refiners (cane) syrup, caramel flavor, sodium benzoate.

 

 

CORN SYRUPS

  • Contain mainly glucose and maltose (glucose linked with glucose); plus small amounts of other sugars

  • It is less sweet than table sugar

  • Is produced by breaking down starch; corn is the most economical and abundant source in America

  • Starch, a complex carbohydrate consisting entirely of glucose molecules joined together, is split into glucose (= hydrolysis)

 

 

HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUPS (HFCS)

  • Contain almost equal amounts of fructose and glucose

  • Approximately as sweet as table sugar

  • Produced by, first, breaking down starch into glucose (process called 'hydrolysis')

  • Part of the glucose is then converted into fructose by enzymes (process called 'isomerization')

Corn Syrup & HFCS
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LIQUIDS & SYRUPS

On my quest to discover all liquid sweeteners on store shelves, I found hundreds of products and list them here

  • Syrups are viscous ("thick") liquids that may be zero calories or not.  Nectars are sweet liquids produced by plants and turn into syrups when concentrated; ex: honey (flower nectar collected and concentrated by bees).

  • Caloric sweeteners contain mainly sugar + water; ex: agave nectar, honey, maple syrup, coconut syrup, pancake syrup, date nectar, barley malt syrup, tapioca syrup, cane syrup, simple syrup, molasses. 

  • Zero calories sweeteners have stevia, monk fruit, sucralose, or saccharin dissolved in water; syrups contain gums to make them viscous; preservatives are often added to mantain freshness. 

  • Reduced calorie liquids available in stores include: (1) Blends with less sugar and (2) Low-Digestible sweeteners. The Blends with Less Sugar have a syrup as main ingredient (honey, agave, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup) blended with a high intensity sweetener (stevia, sucralose, aspartame, or acesulfame K). "Lite" pancake syrups have less sugar (one-third fewer calories) than their original version. Low-digestible sweeteners have soluble fibers (yacon syrup or isomaltooligosaccharides), rare sugars (allulose) or polyos (sorbitol). 

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Date Syrup

Date sugar is made by drying dates. According to some commercial brands, it is an one-to-one replacement for white sugar or brown sugar but in fact date sugar does not dissolve as they do. It is less sweet than table sugar. Provides 10-15 Cal per teaspoon.

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