Sugar-Free Sour Puss Liqueur
A few weeks ago, I was looking in the fridge.
My eyes fell on a bottle of sugar free cranberry cocktail, and I immediately thought to myself about how nice a candy apple martini would be, right about then.
With low carb cranberry juice cocktail being a thing, it COULD be doable...
You know, aside from all of the alcohol ingredients - apple flavored vodka, sour apple pucker, and butterscotch schnapps - being full of sugar.
I googled to see if anyone had started marketing sugar free liqueurs yet.... not so much!
While I’m not much for drinking lately*, I’m also not a fan of denying myself - or being denied! If there weren’t any sugar free options at LCBO, I would just have to make my own!
At least then I’d have the opportunity for a candy apple martini, should I choose to have one!
Of the three spirit / liqueur items needed, the Sour Apple Pucker - or Sour Puss - sounded like the most fun to play with, so here we are!
* Nothing diet related, alcohol just tends to make one of my ears feel really stuffy. I’m autistic, ear issues are my Achilles’ heel... so I usually go out of my way to avoid anything that makes them feel “off” in any way!
Developing Sugar Free Sour Puss
As a former cake artist who’s also written a book on cooking & baking with alcohol - The Spirited Baker: Intoxicating Desserts & Potent Potables - that includes a lot of information on liqueur making, I was uniquely positioned to DO THE THING.
Also? I managed to have almost everything I needed - including the acid and flavours - right on hand! Only had to order some glycerine, which is cheap and easy to obtain.
I worked out the rough ratios on paper, based on ABV, flavour, and mouthfeel.
My first attempt was SO close. It was actually passable on its own, and the very subtle difference was really only discernable when tasted side by side with the real thing.
They even looked the same!
I made a couple of minor adjustments to come up with the recipe in this post.
Low Carb Sour Puss FAQ
What is Sour Puss?
Sour Puss is a North American brand of artificially flavoured liqueurs. It comes in a variety of flavours - each a brightly coloured, candy-like fruit flavour. The addition of acids gives each liqueur a sour kick, hence the name.
The green apple flavour is the same sort of product as Dekuyper’s Sour Apple Pucker, and I’ve used them interchangeably in my Candy Apple Martinis, just using whichever was available.
How many carbs are in sour liqueurs?
Carb count varies between brand, but Sour Puss specifically has 11 grams of carbs - gross AND net - per ounce, while Dekuyper’s Sour Apple Pucker has 9.4 grams per oz.
In contrast, this recipe contains 6 total grams of carbohydrates per serving.
All carbs - except for 1/10 gram per serving - come from sugar alcohols, therefore the net carbs are >1 gram per serving.
What flavour is blue sourpuss?
Sour Puss describes its blue flavour as “sweet/tart aromas of blue popsicle with spicy, candied cinnamon aromas; sweet/tart citrus with sweet, spicy cinnamon flavours; not too hot - with lower alcohol.”
Ok, for one, in NO WAY does it taste like a blue popsicle. That’s not even a stretch, it’s just SO nowhere near reality. I’d say “not in the same ballpark”, but it’s really not in the same city.
Secondly - let me get on my soapbox here - the fact that they made their blue flavour citrus - rather than Sour Blue Raspberry or like a Blue Freeze flavour - is criminal.
... so when I made my homemade Sour Puss, I righted that injustice. My sour blue liqueur is blue raspberry flavoured, as it should be!
Sugar Free Sour Puss Ingredients
Sugar substitute - I use a monkfruit / erythritol blend for this, I find it has the best results.
Water - Distilled is best, as this can help mitigate the risk of crystals ... at least to some degree.
Citric Acid - Citric acid is what brings the punch of sour flavour to the mix. I use it a fair amount, so it’s a good thing to have on hand - especially when low carbbing!
(It’s a small, but very important part of my Keto Orange Chicken recipe, for example!)
Vodka - The flavor oil adds a ton of flavour, the acid adds a bite - and the sugar sub / glycerine smooth things out - so if you’re not using top-shelf vodka... no one will really notice!
Flavour - I use Lorann flavor oils (they’re not actually oil) for the best results. They dissolve well, are very potent, and have a much more accurate flavour than grocery store extracts and such. (More on the flavours in a bit!).
Glycerine - You may be used to hearing about its use in soaps, but glycerine is a sugar alcohol, and an important ingredient in food - and liqueur - production. It’s about 26 times more sweet than sugar, and is what adds body to liqueurs.
Use a food grade glycerine to give the liqueur a more authentic mouth feel.
Food Colouring - I use gel paste, specifically ChefMaster, which is the option more readily available here.
If you’re in the USA, I recommend Americolor gel paste colourings.
That said, regular grocery store type liquid food colouring will work just fine - I just don’t keep any on hand!
Keto Sour Puss Flavours and Colours
In my initial batch of 5 flavours, here’s what I used:
My First Round
Raspberry: Lorann Raspberry Flavor Oil, and a little “Super Red” gel colouring.
Apple: Lorann Green Apple Flavor Oil, a little Neon Green gel colouring, with just a touch of Leaf Green gel colour, for accuracy. (I’m fussy like that!)
Blue Raspberry: Lorann Blue Raspberry Flavor Oil, and a little Sky Blue gel colour.
Grape: Lorann Grape Flavour Oil. I did not end up adding any colouring to this one, as the colour of the flavour oil was SO intense on its own!
Watermelon: Lorann Watermelon Flavour Oil, and a bit of Rose Pink gel colour. This one turned kind of orange though!
The Rest of the Sour Puss Line
Interested in making some of the other Sour Puss line flavours?
Lemon: Lorann Lemon Flavour Oil, with yellow food colouring.
Tangerine: Lorann Tangerine Flavour oil, orange food colouring.
Pineapple Coconut: This one is hard to suggest, as I’ve never come across this flavour in person. You could mix a bit of Lorann Pineapple Flavour Oil with some Lorann Coconut Flavour Oil, but I wouldn’t know what ratio you'd use.
Want to do your own thing? Here are some suggestions of other Lorann flavours that would work well in this recipe, with links to purchase:
Apple (More of a red apple)
Tropical Punch (Passion Fruit)
Note: Where there's an option, you'll want to use the "Super Strength" version, as that's what this recipe was developed around. The other styles / brands aren't as concentrated.
How to Make Sugar-Free Sour Puss Liqueur
Full recipe follows - at the end of this post - but here's the pictorial overview:
In a small pot, heat water, sugar substitute, and citric acid - whisking often - just until the sugar substitute has fully dissolved into the water.
Be VERY sure that all of the crystals have fully dissolved - including those on the sides of the pot. Swirling the pot helps!
Remove from heat, allow to cool to room temperature.
Once cool, add vodka, flavour, and glycerine, stirring well to combine. Tint with food colouring, as desired.
Transfer to a clean, airtight bottle, store somewhere cool and dark.
Tips for Making Sugar Free Sour Puss Liqueur
If you follow the recipe as stated, it’ll turn out for you. That said, there are some tips to keep in mind, to ensure success. (It’s good to know the hows and whys!)
- This recipe makes a small batch, for a few reasons:
Vodka is EXPENSIVE here in Canada, and it’s hard to justify large batches - especially when I don’t drink much at all!
I wanted to have a nice variety of liqueurs to choose from, and would much prefer smaller batches and more variety.
1 batch makes enough to fill a 200 ml bottle, with a little left over to sip on. Perfect!
That said, this recipe is easily scaled up. Double it, make a 3x batch - whatever suits your needs!
- I use these 200 ml glass flask bottles for most of my keto liqueurs, and love them!
- You can vary the amount of citric acid used, to suit your taste. ¾ teaspoon makes a fairly accurate liqueur. ½ would make a less sour version, and 1 teaspoon plus makes more like a “Warheads” type liqueur.
- When I say to make sure there are no sugar crystals left, that everything should be fully dissolved, I mean it!
Swirl the hot liquid to catch any crystals on the side of the pan, ensure everything is fully dissolved. This is your best way to prevent crystals forming.
Actually, let’s talk about that a bit more...
Erythritol Crystals in Keto Sour Liqueur
Erythritol has a habit of dropping out of solution, when cooked into a liquid, and this is especially true for a recipe like this, where there is a high erythritol:water ratio.
Some people will tell you that you can avoid it by using powdered erythritol, but that’s not actually accurate.
Whether you start with powdered or granular erythritol, once it’s dissolved - that is, becomes a solution - it’s all the same thing. The size of the crystals it started out with no longer matters.
Starting out with a powder makes it such that the sweetener will dissolve more easily in the first place, but that’s about it.
The thing is, you can make the same recipe several times, using the exact same ingredients, and crystallization won’t necessarily happen every time.
In this case, I made 5 versions, using the same ingredients (from the same containers!), the same morning, in the same conditions... and only one of the 5 crystallized:
Isn’t it pretty, though? That’s almost a FEATURE, rather than a bug!
Anyway, there are a few ways you can deal with it:
Mitigate it as much as possible, to start
With this particular recipe, that means making sure everything is fully dissolved. Any stray granules - or bits of powder - that aren’t fully dissolved can act as a seed for crystal formation.
Get rid of the crystals after they form
If you end up with crystals and do NOT want them, you can gently heat the peach liqueur to re-dissolve the crystals.
Be gentle with it, don’t bring it to a full boil, and don’t allow it to simmer for long - this will affect the alcohol content. (Which you may not even care about, TBH, but figured I’d mention it!)
Just deal with it.
I’ll be honest, this is generally how I’ll deal with crystals.
When it comes to making accurate replicas of things I want to drink, I just accept that crystals can just be a fact of life when it comes to using sugar substitutes. I pour it off the crystals, and move on.
Because any crystals in the bottle will settle / grow on the crystal formation at the bottom of the bottle, the free floating liquid is perfectly smooth. Well, so long as you don’t dislodge any!
On that note, crystals really only form to a certain point, then stall out. These pictures were taken a week after making the liqueur, and they look the same as they did the day after making it.
If we were to put the bottle in the freezer, or give it a hard shake, though... more would develop.
More Sugar Free Liqueur & Cocktail Recipes
Looking to stock a keto liquor cabinet? You don’t have to limit yourself to full-octane basic spirits - you CAN easily make liqueurs! Here are a few more recipes for you to try:
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Sugar-Free Sour Puss Liqueur
- ¼ cup Water
- ¼ cup Sugar Substitute
- ¾ teaspoon Citric acid
- ½ cup Vodka
- 1 teaspoon Lorann Flavour Oil
- ½ teaspoon Glycerine
- Food colouring
- In a small pot, heat water, sugar substitute, and citric acid - whisking often - just until the sugar substitute has fully dissolved into the water.
- Be VERY sure that all of the crystals have fully dissolved - including those on the sides of the pot. Swirling the pot helps!
- Remove from heat, allow to cool to room temperature.
- Once cool, add vodka, flavour, and glycerine, stirring well to combine. Tint with food colouring, as desired.
- Transfer to a clean, airtight bottle, store somewhere cool and dark.