Create your own gomme syrup, a silky addition to cocktails made with gum arabic 😋 Learn how to make gomme syrup at home and enhance your drinks
What Is Gomme Syrup and How Is It Used?
Gomme syrup, also known as gum syrup, is a versatile cocktail ingredient used to add sweetness, texture, and flavor to drinks. Gomme syrup is made by combining sugar, water, and gum arabic. The gum arabic gives the syrup a thicker, silkier texture than regular simple syrup. While it can be purchased pre-made, gomme syrup is easy to make at home.
What is Gomme Syrup Made Of?
The main ingredients in gomme syrup are:
- Sugar – Granulated white sugar is most commonly used. You can also use brown sugar, honey, or maple syrup for a different flavor profile.
- Water – The water is typically heated to help dissolve the sugar.
- Gum arabic – A natural gum harvested from acacia trees that acts as a stabilizer and emulsifier. It gives gomme syrup its distinctive smooth, viscous texture.
Gum arabic is the key ingredient that sets gomme syrup apart from regular simple syrup. It is a complex polysaccharide that comes from the sap of acacia trees. The gum arabic powder is dissolved in hot water before being incorporated into the simple syrup.
Is Gomme Syrup the Same as Sugar Syrup?
Gomme syrup is often confused with simple syrup because they are both sweet syrups made from sugar and water. However, they have some key differences:
- Gomme syrup contains gum arabic, which gives it a thicker, silkier texture. Simple syrup does not contain any emulsifiers or thickeners.
- Gomme syrup has a more viscous, syrupy consistency compared to simple syrup.
- Simple syrup can be made easily by mixing granulated sugar with hot water. Gomme syrup takes more time and effort to dissolve the gum arabic powder.
- Gomme syrup is considered to have a more subtle, rounded sweetness compared to regular simple syrup.
So in summary, while both are sweet syrups, gomme syrup has a richer mouthfeel and flavor due to the addition of gum arabic.
What Does Gum Syrup Taste Like?
On its own, gum syrup has a relatively neutral flavor. It tastes sweet, though not as cloyingly sweet as simple syrup. The gum arabic gives it a smooth, silky texture and rounded sweetness.
Gomme syrup highlights rather than overpowers the flavors of the spirits and other ingredients in a cocktail. The viscosity provides a luxurious mouthfeel. It helps soften the alcoholic bite of drinks, while allowing the flavors to shine through.
Many bartenders prefer gum syrup over simple syrup in cocktails because it blends more seamlessly into the drink. Simple syrup can sometimes make cocktails taste overtly sweet or syrupy.
Why Is It Called Gum Syrup?
Gomme syrup is named after the French word “gomme,” meaning “gum.” The name refers to the gum arabic, which is derived from the sap or gum of acacia trees.
Gum syrup was originally called “gomme syrup” by French bartenders and chefs. They discovered that adding gum arabic to simple syrup created a superior product for cocktails and desserts.
The English translation “gum syrup” is now commonly used. It distinguishes this specialty syrup from regular simple syrup by emphasizing the inclusion of the gum arabic.
Does Simple Syrup Contain Alcohol?
No, simple syrup does not contain any alcohol. It is just a mixture of sugar and water.
Simple syrup is classified as a non-alcoholic beverage ingredient. It is often used to sweeten and balance flavors in cocktails, lemonades, iced teas, coffee drinks, and other non-alcoholic beverages.
There is some confusion because simple syrup is such a ubiquitous cocktail ingredient. However, it does not itself have any alcoholic content. The alcohol comes from the spirits and liqueurs used in cocktails, not the simple syrup.
How to Drink Gomme Syrup
There are several delicious ways to drink gomme syrup:
- Cocktails – Gomme syrup can be used in place of simple syrup in any cocktail recipe. Try it in Old Fashioneds, Sours, Cobblers, Juleps, and tropical drinks.
- Lemonade or Iced Tea – Add a splash of gomme syrup to balance flavored lemonades, iced teas, or fruit punch.
- Coffee Drinks – Stir a teaspoon or two of gum syrup into hot coffee, iced coffee, espresso drinks, and tea lattes.
- Fruit Juices – Sweeten and add body to fresh fruit juices by incorporating a tablespoon or two of gomme syrup.
- Desserts – Use gum syrup to glaze cakes or fruit, sweeten whipped cream, or drizzle over ice cream sundaes.
- Cocktail Rimming – For a fun garnish, rim the glass with gomme syrup instead of simple syrup or sugar.
The options are endless! The smooth, silky gomme syrup can enhance both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.
How to Make Gum Syrup at Home
Making homemade gomme syrup allows you to control the quality of ingredients and customize the flavor. Here is a simple recipe to make about 1 1⁄4 cups of basic gomme syrup:
Ingredients for Homemade Gomme Syrup Recipe:
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1⁄4 cup gum arabic powder
- In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Heat over medium, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
- In a separate container, combine the gum arabic powder with 1⁄4 cup hot water. Whisk together thoroughly until the powder is fully dissolved. Let sit for 2-3 hours.
- Add the cooled sugar-water mixture to the gum arabic mixture. Whisk well to fully incorporate.
- Return the mixture to medium-low heat. Simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring often, until a smooth, silky syrup forms.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Transfer gomme syrup to an airtight container and refrigerate.
- Use a fine mesh strainer when adding the gum arabic mixture to ensure there are no clumps.
- Avoid boiling the syrup mixture, as this can cause excessive foaming.
- For longer shelf life, add 1 tbsp vodka before refrigerating.
- Customize your gomme syrup by adding spices, citrus zest, herbs, vanilla, or other flavorings.
- The gum arabic powder can be tricky to fully dissolve. Be patient and let it sit for a few hours before finishing the syrup.
Homemade gum syrup may take a little extra effort, but it lets you control the quality and customize the flavor. Try experimenting with different additions like fresh ginger, rosewater, peppermint, or fall spices.
What Cocktails Use Gum Arabic Syrup?
Gomme syrup is used in many classic cocktails that originated in the 19th century when the syrup was in common use. The silky mouthfeel and rounded sweetness balances strongly alcoholic cocktails.
Here are some popular cocktails that traditionally use gum syrup:
- Old Fashioned – The bitters and whiskey shine when softened by gum syrup instead of simple syrup.
- Sazerac – The anise and herbs play nicely with the gomme in this New Orleans staple.
- Vieux Carré – This rye and cognac cocktail needs the subtle sweetness of gum syrup.
- Ramos Gin Fizz – Gomme syrup contributes to the luscious texture of this gin sour.
- Derby – Mint juleps and mint syrup pair beautifully with gomme syrup in this classic.
- Jack Rose – Gomme balances the tart apple flavor in this crisp, refreshing cocktail.
- Corpse Reviver No. 2 – The botanicals and citrus are perfectly complemented by gum syrup.
Any cocktail that calls for simple syrup can be upgraded by substituting gomme syrup. Its versatility allows it to enhance both spirit-forward and fruit-based cocktails.
Gomme Syrup vs Simple Syrup: Which to Use?
So should you use gomme syrup or simple syrup in cocktails? Here are some general guidelines:
- Use gomme syrup for spiritous cocktails like Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, and Sours to soften their alcoholic impact.
- Choose simple syrup for very juicy or sour cocktails where the fruit flavors should dominate.
- For well-balanced cocktails with citrus, herbs, or spice, gomme syrup adds texture without overwhelming other flavors.
- Simple syrup works for large batch or casual drinks where the syrup won’t be as noticeable.
- Infused simple syrups allow the flavorings to shine, while gomme syrup highlights the spirits and main ingredients.
For the smoothest, most integrated cocktails, gomme syrup is usually the best choice. But simple syrup can also work well depending on the flavors and desired taste.
In summary, gomme syrup adds body, texture and subtle sweetness to cocktails and other beverages thanks to its gum arabic content. With some powdered gum, sugar, and hot water you can easily whip up homemade gomme syrup to enhance both classic and creative cocktails. Give this versatile syrup a try!