I've been hearing a lot about agave nectar lately and have been eyeballing it in the store for the last few months, but wasn't sure if it was worth purchasing. Basically, agave is more fructose than glucose and, as such, has a relatively low glycemic index which is important if you have special diet considerations.
In addition, the agave nectar products (at least the ones I've seen) are organic and kosher and pretty much give you the sweetness of sugar, but impart none of its own flavor. So, if you like the sweetness of honey, but don't like the way it makes everything taste like honey, then you'll like agave. How do I know this? Well, I had the opportunity to give it a try at my favorite tea bar in Ballard. I was impressed how much it tasted like sugar, went into the solution fairly quickly, but didn't leave an aftertaste or other flavor.
One other cool thing is that it has a long, stable shelf life and will not solidify. It pours quickly even when cold and it blends and dissolves readily in or on all foods. The claim is that it has approximately 1.4 times the sweetening power of white sugar, but I've found that it's more like 1:1.
So, if you are concerned about your consumption of sugar and/or glucose, you might want to give agave syrup a try. And, since it's basil time of the year, I thought I'd throw in a recipe mixing in a flavorful combination, a Basil Gimlet made with agave syrup.
This recipe was adapted from Rye in San Francisco and it is one of their most requested cocktails:
6 fresh basil leaves
3 ounces Gin (I use local Dry Fly or Aviation)
3/4 ounce agave nectar
1 small lime, cut into eighths (or about 1 ounce fresh lime juice)
Method: In a shaker, muddle the fresh basil and the lime pieces. Remove the lime, squeezing out the remaining juice. Add in agave nectar, gin and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into martini glass. Garnish with fresh basil leaf.
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