Brown, unrefined sugar is eaten all around the world—Africa and Asia have their jaggery, Mexico has piloncillo, we have our fancy coffee shops with moist muscovado—but nobody consumes it the way Colombians do. Despite having the highest brown sugar consumption per capita in the world and a production of almost a million and a half tons per year, sugar production is still done almost 100% manually in mills like this one. For now, that is.
'panela' on Serious Eats
We've already had a string of exceptionally hot, humid days here in NYC, so the need for something refreshing and delicious that isn't necessarily boozy is especially acute. Limeade is just different enough that it seems like an impressive addition to a summer picnic lunch or dinner party, but is still ridiculously easy to make from scratch. Here are three fresh takes on limeade that are just as good as the original.
A full-bodied, caramely limeade sweetened with panela.
Piloncillo is as minimally-processed as you can get your sugar, short of chewing it out of sugar cane yourself. It's the product of cane juice boiled down to a thick, crystalline syrup, usually poured into cone-shaped molds to harden (the name piloncillo derives from "pylon"). What you get is a sugar rife with impurities that puts plain old brown sugar to shame. Modern brown sugar is just purified white sugar with some molasses mixed in. This is the real deal.