Gomme syrup once had been a common ingredient in classic cocktails. But, along with many other once-popular cocktail ingredients and recipes, it vanished because of prohibition.
When prohibition ended, shortly before WWII, Gomme syrup came back in a way. However, the key ingredient, gum arabic, was hard to get and expensive.
As a consequence, what was then called Gomme syrup, often didn't include gum arabic at all. No wonder the syrup didn't get far with its vital element missing. Simple syrup took its place instead.
While simple syrup still is the #1 sweetener in today's cocktail recipes, the rising demand for craft cocktails and the increasing interest in mixology also brought back Gomme syrup.
You can find it again on shelves in the supermarket, on bar menus, and you can also make this versatile cocktail ingredient at home.
What is Gomme Syrup?
Gomme syrup goes by many names. You might know it as Gum Syrup, Gum Arabic, Indian Gum, Gum Acacia, the list goes on... and some might not know it at all.
It's an ingredient that can be used as a sweetener in drinks and in food. However, that's not the only feature.
Gomme syrup functions as a thickening agent and as an emulsifier. It also keeps the sugar from crystalizing and creates a beautifully smooth and silky texture.
Most of the terms mentioned above are not only names for the syrup but also refer to the star of the mixture: the gum from the acacia trees.
What is Gum Arabic?
Gomme is the French word for gum and simply refers to the natural gum that forms when the sap of certain species of acacia trees dries.
It came to Europe and the rest of the Western world via Arabia. -Hence the French name Gomme Arabic.
Gum arabic has an amber color, and more than 80% of the worldwide resources come from Sudan.
It has a neutral flavorless taste, is soluble in water, and is edible - also in its natural form.
Besides being an amazing, 100% natural stabilizer, the gum from the acacia tree also has a list of health benefits.
It improves calcium absorption, decreases cholesterol, supports the kidney and the liver, and improves probiotic and antioxidant activities.
A true jack of all trades, this golden-colored gum. Hard to believe it's still relatively seldom used in modern mixology.
Ingredients for homemade Gomme Syrup
Gomme syrup is basically a richer version of simple syrup with all the extra benefits the acacia sap provides.
Meaning, like for regular simple syrup, you need water and sugar. Caster sugar works just fine.
The ratio for homemade Gomme syrup is often slightly different from simple syrup, though. Where you usually go with equal amounts of sugar and water, you now add a little more sugar.
And, of course, you need gum arabic. It usually is available in nuggets and in powder. I recommend powder because it's easier to mix that with the sugar and the water.
Check that the label says 100% food-grade, as gum arabic also is used for photography, painting, pyrotechnics, and a lot of other stuff.
Gomme Syrup in Cocktails
Gomme syrup gives your drink a smoother mouthfeel, brings sweetness, and helps blend all ingredients together.
It also softens the alcoholic bite you get from boozy cocktails. A prominent example of this is the Pisco Punch which people used to drink like it was lemonade in the late 1800s.
You can basically use it as a substitute in all cocktails calling for simple syrup. Usually, because a Gomme syrup recipe contains more sugar, you have to reduce the amount accordingly.
- 1 saucepan
- 1 whisker
- 1 sealable container
- 1 Jigger
- 10 oz sugar
- 7 oz water
- 3 oz gum arabic powder food grade
- Whisk the gum arabic powder into 3 oz of water.
- Let this mixture sit for about 24h until the gum is fully dissolved. If it's not there after 24h, wait a few hours more.
- Once the gum has soaked up all the water, add the remaining water and the sugar into a saucepan.
- Heat up the mixture while stirring until the sugar is dissolved -no need to boil the mixture.
- Now, without reducing the heat, add the gum-water-mix into your sugar syrup and fold it under until you have a smooth and nicely blended mix.
- Let your Gomme syrup cool down before bottling it and storing it in the fridge. - It's good for at least five months.