In the world of sweeteners, two liquid options stand out: simple syrup and brown rice syrup. Often dubbed “sugar syrup,” simple syrup is a versatile liquid sweetener used in a variety of cold beverages. It effortlessly blends into cocktails, iced coffee, sodas, and more. Alongside its drink-sweetening abilities, simple syrup finds its way into the realm of culinary delights by adding a delectable glaze or drizzle to desserts. On the other hand, brown rice syrup offers an alternative with its thick and sugary consistency. Comprised of maltotriose, maltose, and glucose, this natural sweetener is refined sugar-free and showcases layers of distinctive flavors. As we dive deeper, we will explore and compare these two sweeteners to determine which one takes the crown in terms of taste and versatility.
Comparing Brown Rice Syrup vs Simple Syrup
|Brown Rice Syrup
|Depends on ingredients
|Pantry shelf life (unopened/sealed)
|1 – 6 months
|Best for baking
|Granola, cereals, low fructose desserts
|Cocktails and other beverages
Differences Between Brown Rice Syrup And Simple Syrup
Basic simple syrup is made by combining equal parts of pure cane sugar and water. However, many commercial simple syrups contain less sugar or use artificial sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, or high-fructose corn syrup. Simple syrup, in general, is a liquid form of sugar commonly used to sweeten various cold drinks such as cocktails. Its liquid form makes it easier to blend into cold beverages compared to regular sugar.
Brown rice syrup is derived from natural and nutrient-dense brown rice. It is a liquid alternative sweetener with a unique composition compared to honey. Brown rice syrup primarily consists of maltotriose, maltose, and glucose. While brown rice syrup is also in liquid form, it has a slightly less viscous texture than honey and is milder in sweetness. Food manufacturers often use brown rice syrup to produce granola, cereals, ice cream, and salad dressings.
Taste and Culinary Uses
Classic simple syrup offers a delightful yet straightforward sweetness primarily derived from sugar. Flavored simple syrup takes the concept further by infusing ingredients during the boiling or cooling process. This extra step allows for a wide range of flavors, such as vanilla, ginger, mint, cinnamon, and lemon.
These flavored syrups find their place in various culinary creations, adding character to specialty cocktails, quick lemonades, flavored iced teas, and hot or iced coffees. They are also renowned in coffee shops, where they are used to craft flavored coffee drinks. Beyond beverages, they serve as terrific toppings on pancakes and baked goods.
Brown rice syrup brings a milder taste, often described as slightly nutty or even with hints of butterscotch. Its unique profile makes it an ideal partner for recipes that call for whole-grain flours, such as whole wheat. The nutty characteristics of brown rice syrup beautifully complement the flavors of these flours. This versatile sweetener can be used as a sugar substitute or flavor enhancer in sauces and beverages, extending its culinary applications beyond baking alone.
Are Brown Rice Syrup and Simple Syrup Substitutes for Each Other?
You can substitute brown rice syrup for simple syrup at a 1:1 ratio. Brown rice syrup is a little more viscous than simple syrup, though, so it may take a bit of extra stirring to get it to blend the same way.
Nutritional Profile And Health Benefits
Simple syrup (2 tbsp):
- Calories: 80
- Carbohydrates: 19 g
- Sugars: 19 g
- Comparison: Cane sugar = 65 calories
Brown rice syrup (2 tbsp):
- Calories: 150
- Total Carbs: 37 g
- Sugars: 17 g
- GI: 98
Simple syrup can provide a quick burst of energy due to its high sugar content but offers little in terms of nutritional value. On the other hand, brown rice syrup has distinct health benefits. Unlike other sweeteners containing fructose, it lacks fructose, a sugar that can adversely affect liver function and metabolic health.
When it comes to the diet suitability of sweeteners, simple syrup, depending on the sugar used, may or may not be vegan-friendly. While the original simple syrup is not keto or paleo, there are options to either purchase or make a keto-friendly or paleo-friendly simple syrup. However, simple syrup is not Whole30-approved, regardless of the ingredients.
Brown rice syrup offers a suitable alternative for individuals following specific dietary restrictions. It is vegan-friendly and can be consumed by those following a low-fructose diet. However, it is not recommended for those on a keto, paleo, or Whole30 diet.
How to Store Brown Rice Syrup and Simple Syrup
For simple syrup, place it in an airtight container and keep it refrigerated until ready to use. While basic simple syrup can stay fresh for up to 4 weeks, flavor-infused syrups should be used within a week or two for optimal taste. Store-bought syrups may have a longer shelf life. For brown rice syrup, store it in a tightly sealed container in a cool and dry place. While refrigeration is unnecessary, storing it in the fridge, even after opening, can extend its shelf life.
Price and Availability
Simple syrup prices can vary, depending on size and type, starting from 4 USD and increasing. Brown rice syrup ranges from a few dollars to 20 USD per pound. Both can be found these days at supermarkets or online.
The simple syrup industry faces environmental impact challenges, particularly related to ingredient sourcing. Most syrups rely on sugar extracted from sugarcane or sugar beets, which can damage the environment. To mitigate this, look for Fair Trade or organic syrups. This approach helps reduce deforestation, water pollution, and soil degradation.
On the other hand, brown rice syrup has raised concerns regarding occasional traces of arsenic. While these levels may not immediately jeopardize health, choosing brands certified as arsenic and heavy metals-free is crucial, especially when used in baby formula.
Brown Rice Syrup vs. Simple Syrup: The Ultimate Verdict
I prefer simple syrup for sweetening drinks purely because of its versatile range of flavors and ingredients. Don’t like cane sugar? Make a honey simple syrup, or a fruit based one. With brown rice syrup, you’re stuck with the same flavor and can’t really alter it. The versatility of simple syrup makes it a far better choice for those with particular dietary requirements or tastes. Therefore, it is my pick as the winner!
Rice syrup presents considerable drawbacks, such as a high glycemic index, insufficient nutrients, and the potential for arsenic contamination. Despite its fructose-free nature, rice syrup doesn’t seem that great.
If you need an alternative to simple syrup, three popular options can likely be found in your home: honey, maple syrup, and agave. To transform honey or agave into syrup, simply mix them with warm water.
Simple syrup is easier to measure accurately and blends harmoniously into cold drinks without being grainy, ensuring consistent flavor throughout.