Sugarcane juice is used to make a range of spirits including Rum and Cachaça, but it’s also an interesting raw ingredient for summer cocktails.

Sugar cane is a perennial grass native to temperate, tropical regions including Southeast Asia, New Guinea, and India. As the world’s largest production crop by quantity, sugar cane is now grown all over the world with Brazil as one of the largest growers. Inside the hard hull, sugarcane pulp is comprised of 12-16% soluble sugar, 63-73% water and a small percentage of non-sugar carbohydrates.

The canes are juiced or consumed raw before being used for a range of products including a number of spirits. The most well-known sugar cane-based spirit is Rum, but Cachaça, Basi and Falernum are also made from fresh sugarcane juice.

Close up Sugarcane

Freshly Cut Sugarcane

When juiced or eaten raw sugar cane is less sweet than you might imagine, it’s still sweet of course, but has floral and grass shoot notes and a refreshing finish. The juice itself is often billed as being good for health and has been used to treat hemorrhaging, inflammation, jaundice, and urinary tract problems. It’s also thought to help pregnant woman and has small, but notable amounts of iron, magnesium, vitamin B1 and riboflavin.

When working with cocktails, sugar cane presents a unique flavor profile that works with a range of spirits but particularly light rum, floral forward tequila, and citrus forward liqueurs. To bring out more sweetness and flavor, try roasting or grilling cut sugarcane. Grilled sugarcane also makes for a stunning garnish and a slight smoky flavor.

Sweet & Smokey Sugarcane

Sweet & Smokey Sugarcane

Sweet & Smokey Sugarcane

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz. Rum
  • 1/4 oz pineapple juice
  • 1/4 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. grilled sugarcane juice*
  • Simple Syrup to taste

Preparation: Place all ingredients in a shaker and mix until chilled, adjust sweetness as desired. Double strain into a glass of choice and garnish with lime or wedge of grilled sugarcane.

*Grilled Sugar Cane

Cut sugar cane lengthwise and grill until distinct char lines form. Set aside sections to use as garnish and juice the rest.