As most people have discovered, table sugar is slow to dissolve in cold drinks. Whether you’re sweetening iced coffee and iced tea or making a sweet cocktail, there are better products to use than conventional granulated sugar.
Pick up some superfine sugar, or make your own.
Superfine sugar is simply table sugar that is ground into smaller grains, which dissolve quickly. You can make it in the food processor by pulsing table sugar until it’s very fine. Keep superfine sugar in a separate sugar bowl to bring out when you’re serving iced coffee and tea.
Simple syrup is typically used by bartenders to sweeten drinks. It’s a mixture of half sugar and half water, stirred over medium-low heat until it dissolves. Cooled to room temperature, it’s a quick sweetener.
There’s also a sugar-free simple syrup made with stevia.
The healthiest alternative is to use no sugar. Refined white sugar makes no positive contribution to our nutrition and has a downside everyone is familiar with.
A better choice than sugar is agave nectar, a low-glycemic natural sweetener from the agave plant. Agave nectar has a glycemic index (GI) of 32; half that of table sugar (GI 60-65). Honey has a GI of 58, pure maple syrup has a GI of 54. (Here’s more information on agave.)
WHY DOESN’T SUGAR DISSOLVE FASTER?
It’s simple chemistry: Substances dissolve faster in hot water. Hot water molecules have more entropy (move faster) than cold water molecules, enabling hot water to more quickly break down the sugar molecules in the solution.
MORE COLD DRINK TIPS
Don’t Dilute The Iced Coffee/Iced Tea
We’ve been to delis where iced coffee (or tea) is made by pouring the hot stuff over ice. They probably figure that with the added sugar and milk, people won’t notice how dilute the coffee is.
At home, you can:
Iced tea pitcher and photo from TeaForte.com.
Try Flavoring Ice Coffee & Iced Tea
Here are more iced coffee tips and recipes.
Try this recipe for ultra-rich vanilla iced coffee with shaved chocolate.