Best way to instantiate an empty HashMap?

I’ve been doing this:

	#set ($products_map = $rx.string.stringToMap(" = "))
	$products_map.remove(" ")

But is there a cleaner way? This seems to generate a syntax error:

#set($products_map = {})

I believe that JEXL allows you to create empty maps, while Velocity for some reason does not.

There is also the $rx.string.stringToMap() function. If you pass it an empty string, you’ll get an empty map.