# Determining sugar content of liqueurs

My girlfriend and I have been experimenting with making different flavors of chocolate truffles. One difficulty with this is that different flavorings have different amounts of sugar, meaning we need to adjust the amount of other sweetening in the truffle to keep it from being overly sweet or bitter (usually by changing the ratio of unsweetened to semisweet chocolate). Obviously getting the sweetness exactly right is going to take some experimentation, but we'd like to be able to start by making the total amount of sugar in each truffle the same, no matter what flavor it is.

We can figure out approximately how sweet most flavorings are are by using their "Nutrition Facts" labels. Unfortunately, alcoholic drinks don't come with these labels, which means we need a different strategy for liqueur-flavored truffles. Neither of us drinks very much alcohol, so we don't have a very good intuition for which potential flavors might be sweeter. Googling gives several sites with widely varying numbers, and I don't know which ones to trust. For example, this site claims an ounce of Kahlua has 11.2 g of sugar, while this site claims it's 15 g.

Is there a good way to determine how much sugar is in a given liqueur? Ideally, I would like either a pointer to a reliable source, or a simple experiment I could do myself to determine sugar content.

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The amount of liqueur you should be using in a truffle should be small enough that you don't really need to worry about adjustments in the chocolate to balance sweetness, even across extremes like bourbon to khalua. For example, 15 g of sugar is about a teaspoon and a half, spread across the entire batch. – SAJ14SAJ Feb 4 '14 at 6:45
@SAJ14SAJ: The base recipe we're using gets about 100 g of sugar from chocolate, and calls for 2 oz of liqueur. Are you saying that a 30% difference in sugar content is irrelevant, or are your truffles sweeter and/or less alcoholic than that? – Micah Feb 4 '14 at 7:02
No idea if this would work (hence just a comment) but I wonder if diluting and measuring using a blood glucose meter would be an option? – PeterJ Feb 4 '14 at 7:46
In my practical experience, and in the truffle class I took at Peter Kumps, it simply doesn't come up as an issue. Unless you are doing blind tastings to compare truffles, humans are not highly accurate sweetness detectors. We are good at presence, not magnitude. And if you are that obsessed, you won't be using unsweetened chocolate which is generally poorly conched, and you will be custom making each mix and balancing it by taste, not by formula. – SAJ14SAJ Feb 4 '14 at 7:56
Even if you could accurately determine the concentration of sugar in different liqueurs, that wouldn't answer your question. The overall sweetness of the liqueur is determined not just by the sugar content but my the strength of flavor, sweetness and bitterness of the other ingredients too. Some ingredients are a lot sweeter than others without added sugar, some things are extremely bitter or astringent. Your best bet is to gauge the sweetness of the liqueur by taste, not by the numbers. – Jolenealaska Feb 4 '14 at 9:13