|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 16g||6%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||0%|
|Total Sugars 15g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Many cocktails call for simple syrup, a combination of just sugar and water, which adds sweetness to the drink. Gomme syrup is a drink sweetener that was commonly used instead of simple syrup in many classic cocktail recipes. While some people may refer to simple syrup as gum syrup, true gum syrup contains an emulsifier known as gum arabic, a natural gum made from the sap of two types of the acacia tree.
The taste of gomme (the French word for gum) syrup is neutral, just like regular simple syrup, but it does take a little longer to make. The advantage of gomme syrup is that it adds a silky texture to drinks and softens the alcohol's flavor. This is especially true in alcohol-dominant cocktails, and the reason why it works so well in classics like the fancy whiskey and brandy daisy. It can be used in coffee as well and is a popular option at coffee bars in Europe and parts of Asia, including Japan. Use gomme syrup in any cocktail that calls for simple syrup; some adjustments may be needed, but you can generally start with an equal amount or slightly less.
Gum arabic also prevents the syrup from crystallizing, which is helpful for long-term storage. Gomme syrup will keep in the refrigerator for about five months. You can extend the shelf life to about six months by adding 1 tablespoon of vodka before storing it.
"It was easy to find food-grade gum arabic online and the recipe worked well. I used a small whisk to combine the gum arabic powder in near-boiling water. You might find it still has some lumps, but you'll strain it at the end. I like that it softens harsh alcohol flavors in cocktails." —Diana Rattray
3/4 cup water, divided
1 ounce (about 1/4 cup) powdered, food-grade gum arabic
1 cup sugar
Gather the ingredients.
Heat 1/4 cup of the water to near boiling. In a glass container, combine the hot water and gum arabic. Stir well and allow it to stand until the powder has dissolved. This will take a few hours. When ready, the gum arabic will have soaked up the water and become a sticky paste reminiscent of glue. Stir again until it becomes smooth. Set aside.
In a saucepan, combine the sugar with the remaining 1/2 cup of water. Heat to maintain a slow boil and stir constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Lower the heat to a simmer and add the gum paste. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring continually, until a very thick syrup forms. Use a spoon to remove any foam buildup on the surface.
Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Strain through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve.
Bottle in a glass container with a tight seal and store in the refrigerator. Use in your favorite drinks and enjoy.
- The color of the syrup will vary with the gum arabic you use. Some will produce a light, nearly clear syrup, while others may result in a darker syrup similar to honey or agave nectar.
- Gum arabic is relatively expensive and can be inconsistent, so it's a good idea to start with small batches (like this recipe) and try it out in a few cocktails. Once you find your ideal syrup formula, you can make larger batches.
Make Flavored Gomme Syrup
Just like simple syrup, you can add flavor to gomme syrup. It's a great mixer that some cocktail recipes rely on. A classic pisco punch, for instance, uses pineapple gomme syrup, and raspberry gomme syrup is an excellent alternative to raspberry liqueur in drinks like the Floradora. There are a couple of ways to add flavor to gomme syrup, and it will require some experimentation.
- Steep fruits, herbs, spices, or citrus zest in the syrup as it cools (they can be added while simmering). The infusion time needed will range from hours to days, depending on the ingredient and quantity used. Taste it regularly and strain the syrup once it reaches your desired flavor.
- Use fruit juice as a portion of the water. Start small by adding just 1/8 cup to the boiling water (not the gum paste).
- Add a subtle flavoring with orange flower water, rose water, or a flavored extract. Ensure the ingredient is food grade and add it to the cooling syrup in very small amounts (about 1/8 teaspoon at a time) to taste.
How Is Gum Arabic Used in Food?
Gum arabic is colorless, odorless, and water soluble, derived from certain types of acacia trees. It is commonly used as a stabilizer, emulsifier, and thickening agent in foods, and to stabilize flavors in beverages. Gum arabic has many uses beyond food, including in the manufacturing of watercolor paints and incense. For that reason, it is important that the gum arabic you buy for syrup is food safe. It can be found at many natural food stores or baking specialty stores and, just to be safe, it's best to purchase it from a food source. If you want to try gomme syrup, without hunting down gum arabic, you can find bottled gum syrup from a few specialty syrup producers.