Are you a cocktail enthusiast looking to elevate your home bartending game?
Have you ever heard of gum syrup?
This unique ingredient has been used in cocktails for over 150 years and can take your favorite drink to new heights.
But what exactly is gum syrup and how does it differ from simple syrup?
In this article, we’ll explore the origins and properties of gum syrup, its benefits in cocktails, and how to make it at home.
Get ready to impress your guests with a silky mouthfeel and perfectly blended beverages.
What Is Gum Syrup?
Gum syrup is a type of simple syrup that is made by combining sugar and water in a 2:1 ratio, but with the addition of gum Arabic. Gum Arabic is a natural resin that is harvested from the Acacia tree, primarily found in Northeast Africa. The resin is essentially a hardened sap that can be melted and dissolved into a liquid or powdered for easier dissolution.
Gum Arabic has been used for centuries for its various natural properties and has been a feature ingredient in cocktails for over 150 years. The gum, which is primarily made up of fiber and protein, acts as an emulsifier in the syrup and ultimately in your cocktail. This means that all of the components of your beverage are uniformly blended, a characteristic that top bartenders have sought for over a century.
The Origins And Properties Of Gum Syrup
Gum Arabic, also known as gum acacia or meska, is the essential ingredient in gum syrup. It is a fine white powder made from the hardened sap of two species of the Acacia tree; Senegalia (Acacia) senegal and Vachellia (Acacia) seyal. Gum Arabic has a high acidity level (4-4.5), which offers preservative properties. It is commonly used as a stabilizer, emulsifier, and thickening agent in foods, and to stabilize flavors in beverages.
Gum syrup was widely used in the mid-1800s and has remained a popular ingredient in cocktails ever since. The addition of gum Arabic to simple syrup gives it a silky and more luxuriant mouthfeel when compared to standard simple syrup. This is because gum Arabic is essentially a thick, insoluble fiber that adds viscosity to the syrup without significantly altering its flavor.
The use of gum syrup in cocktails has been praised by top bartenders for over a century. Whether in a classic stirred cocktail like an Old Fashioned or in a shaken sour like the Daiquiri, gum syrup takes your favorite drink to new and elevated heights by adding weight and a silky mouthfeel. Gum Arabic acts as an emulsifier, ensuring that all components of your cocktail are uniformly blended. This results in a more balanced and harmonious flavor profile.
Gum Arabic has many uses beyond food, including in the manufacturing of watercolor paints and incense. For this reason, it is important to ensure that the gum Arabic used in gum syrup is food safe. It can be found at many natural food stores or baking specialty stores, but it’s best to purchase it from a food source just to be safe.
The Benefits Of Using Gum Syrup In Cocktails
Gum syrup has several benefits when used in cocktails. Firstly, it adds a silky texture to drinks, which can be especially advantageous for alcohol-dominant cocktails. The addition of gum Arabic also softens the alcohol’s flavor, making it more palatable and enjoyable. This is why gum syrup is a popular ingredient in classic cocktails like the fancy whiskey and brandy daisy.
Another advantage of gum syrup is that it prevents the syrup from crystallizing, which can be helpful for long-term storage. Unlike simple syrup, gum syrup has a longer shelf life due to the presence of gum Arabic. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five months and can be extended up to six months by adding a tablespoon of vodka before storing.
Gomme syrup can be used in any cocktail that calls for simple syrup, with some adjustments possibly needed. Generally, you can start with an equal amount or slightly less. It is also a popular option in coffee bars in Europe and parts of Asia, including Japan.
How To Make Gum Syrup At Home
Making gum syrup at home is a simple process that requires only a few ingredients and some patience. Here is a step-by-step guide to making your own gum syrup:
1. Gather the ingredients: You will need 1/4 cup of gum Arabic powder, 3/4 cup of water, and 1 cup of granulated sugar.
2. Heat 1/4 cup of water in a saucepan until it is almost boiling, which should take about 3 minutes.
3. In a separate container, combine the hot water with the gum Arabic powder and stir until the powder is fully integrated. This may take a few minutes, and it is okay if there are some small white clumps remaining.
4. Let the mixture sit for 2 to 3 hours until it becomes more like a gel. Stir again to smooth out the mixture, and it is okay if there is still a small layer of white foam.
5. In another saucepan, combine the remaining 3/4 cup of water with the granulated sugar and heat until it forms a syrup, which should take about 7 to 10 minutes. Make sure to stir constantly to prevent burning.
6. Turn off the heat and slowly stir in the gum mixture. Simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes while stirring briskly, making sure not to bring it to a boil.
7. Once you have a very thick syrup with a fine layer of white foam on top, remove from heat and let cool.
8. Stir again once cooled and skim off any small clumps or thick foam that may have formed.
9. Transfer the gum syrup to a glass jar or bottle and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 months.
By following these simple steps, you can make your own gum syrup at home and add a silky richness to your cocktails. Remember that gum syrup can be substituted for standard simple syrup with almost no noticeable difference, but it does add a more viscous mouthfeel to your drinks. Enjoy experimenting with this classic cocktail ingredient!
Gum Syrup Vs. Simple Syrup: What’s The Difference?
While both gum syrup and simple syrup are sweet syrups commonly used in beverages, desserts, and food preparations, there are some key differences between the two.
Simple syrup is made by dissolving sugar in water, usually in a 1:1 ratio. It is a thinner consistency due to the lack of gum Arabic. Simple syrup is commonly used to sweeten cold drinks like iced tea, lemonade, and coffee. It is also used to moisten and sweeten desserts such as cakes and pies. Compared to gum syrup, it has a lighter color and a less complex flavor.
Gum syrup, on the other hand, is made by combining sugar and water in a 2:1 ratio with the addition of gum Arabic. The gum gives the syrup added weight, softens the alcohol’s flavor, and acts as an emulsifier, making it easier to blend into different cocktail mixtures. Gum syrup adds a silky texture to drinks, making it especially useful in alcohol-dominant cocktails like the fancy whiskey and brandy daisy. It can also be used in coffee and is a popular option at coffee bars in Europe and parts of Asia, including Japan.
In terms of shelf life, gum syrup has a longer shelf life than simple syrup due to the gum Arabic preventing crystallization. Gum syrup will keep in the refrigerator for about five months, but this can be extended to about six months by adding 1 tablespoon of vodka before storing it.
Popular Cocktails That Use Gum Syrup
Gomme syrup has been a popular ingredient in classic cocktails for decades, and it continues to be a staple in modern mixology. Here are some popular cocktails that use gum syrup:
1. Old Fashioned: The Old Fashioned is a classic whiskey cocktail that requires gum syrup as its sweetener. The combination of whiskey, bitters, and gum syrup creates a perfect balance of flavors and textures.
2. Brandy Daisy: The Brandy Daisy is a refreshing cocktail that features gum syrup as its sweetener. The combination of brandy, lemon juice, and gum syrup creates a smooth and silky texture that perfectly complements the brandy’s bold flavor.
3. Rio Grande: The Rio Grande is a fruity cocktail that features gum syrup as its sweetener. The combination of tequila, peach liqueur, blue curacao, pear juice, lime juice, lemon juice, gomme syrup and lemonade creates a deliciously sweet and tangy flavor with a silky texture.
4. Gin Fizz: The Gin Fizz is a classic cocktail that features gum syrup as its sweetener. The combination of gin, lemon juice, and gum syrup creates a frothy and refreshing drink that is perfect for any occasion.
5. Whiskey Sour: The Whiskey Sour is a popular cocktail that requires gum syrup as its sweetener. The combination of whiskey, lemon juice, and gum syrup creates a smooth and tangy flavor with a silky texture.