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Which Liqueurs Crystallize When Dehydrated?

A Note About Dehydrating Honey-Based Liqueurs

SolidLiquidsProjectSquareLogoIn the Solid Liquids Project I found that liqueurs sweetened with honey do not crystallize. (At least the honey-sweetened liqueurs that I tried.) I theorized on why and how we might over come this in this post

However, in reading an unrelated book, I think I found the real reason these liqueurs are not crystallizing.

I was reading Bi-Rite Market's Eat Good Food: A Grocer's Guide to Shopping, Cooking & Creating Community Through Food and found the following in the section on honey:

Honey is a super-saturated solution, which means it has a tendency to crystallize (come out of solution) and turn solid over time. Because of this, most producers filter and pasteurize their honey to prevent crystallization and create a more uniform product

Eureka! If it's one thing alcohol producers want, it is products that are consistent and don't spoil or separate in the bottle. My guess is liqueur producers who use honey use pasteurized honey, and that this is why liqueurs sweetened with honey have not crystallized in my experiments. 

The Solid Liquids Project index is at this link



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Paul Baxter

Isn't the 'filter and pasteurize' process for the most part designed to remove tiny solid particles that could serve as sites for seed crystal formation, you might try re-introducing some of these potential sites by adding a small amount of sugar crystals or perhaps a roughened glass bead?

Camper English

Early on I added sugar crystals to a honey liqueur an wasn't able to make it work. I am also agitating the liquid on the stovetop to form nucleation sites to no avail. So that hasn't worked for me yet.

I am starting to think (could be totally wrong) that in many liqueurs there is something in there- the honey or the other ingredients- that prevents crystalization of whatever sweetener is used. Thus the problem might be not always with the sweetener, but with other ingredients that prevent it from crystallizing. A theory, anyway.


In general, the problem is actually honey contains fructose (and other sugars). They tend to strongly prevent the crystallization of sucrose (which is why you add a bit of corn syrup to the sugar when you make fudge or liquid caramel). The sugars are somewhat similar (so they associate with each other), but different enough to block the regular repetition require for crystallization. I'd suggest freeze drying and then crumbling. There are probably some new molecular gastronmoic techniques as well.

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