Over the last 2 years i`ve been making so many different syrups, all from simple, demerara, all kind of spiced to bellpepper or kaffirlime syrups but never for some reason did i make gomme syrup. I read about how to make it long ago written by Paul over at Cocktail Chronicles. What interests me with gomme and made me now finally make it is its viscosity. Its said to lend a silky mouthfeel and is especially suited for the old school cocktails like for instance the Sazerac.
When making syrups i used to only heat up the water and sugar to get it to dissolve but i have changed my mind concerning this. I discovered that sometimes after a time some of the syrups got moldy. It didn´t happen too often and i use them up fairly quick but it did happen. Now i have learnt that one important thing when making syrups is that it should be properly boiled for 2 minutes. If boiled to long it will become caramel and if not sufficiently boiled it will after some time become apt to mold. Another important thing is to use a good quality sugar, the better sugar the better syrup.
I didn`t find any gum arabic powder but i found it in the form of small “crystals” or “stones” that looked almost like amber, very beautiful indeed. I threw them into my sturdy thai mortar and started to beat the hell out of them, (they are very hard) to finally get them pulverized.
2 oz gum arabica powder
2 oz hot water
( but i added an extra 0.5 oz water)
I used the recipe from Pauls site and mixed 2 oz of the gum powder with 2 oz hot water plus an extra 0.5 oz i threw in, and then i putted that aside, stirring occasionally while i cooked my dinner meal. After some 20 min or so i took a look at it and it was all dissolved and turned into a brown sticky “soup”. Curiously i took a teaspoon to taste just a little and i can´t say the flavor was very nice but oh what a mouthfeel, pure silk.
So now when that was done it was time to make the syrup, i first used 7 oz white sugar and 1 oz raw sugar to 4 oz water and brought to a light boil for 2 min. Then i added the gomme and mixed it all together and made another tasting.
The weird flavor from the pure gomme was now mixed into the syrup and i think it actually does give a bit of flavor to the syrup, or rather a sort of warmness. The mouthfeel is amazing, its very viscous, and it really is like silk. I can´t wait to try this gomme in cocktails both old and new to see how it differs from simple syrup because differs it does even though of course simple syrup is an acceptable substitution for gomme. I`ve had commercial gomme before but it wasn`t like this homemade syrup. The gum arabic used with a simple syrup acts as an emulsifier and it was used to keep the sugar from crystallizing. At the same time it lended a silky texture to the cocktails. I really like this texture and as soon as i can get some Peychauds bitters i`m going to make a Sazerac, but for now i make another drink.
2:1 simple syrup
8 oz white sugar ( i also added 1 oz raw sugar)
4 oz water ( here i also added one extra oz)
As you can see i often tweak the recipes a bit to my liking but that´s not really nessecary. Usually when i make simple syrups i tend to prefer the 1:1 formula to the 2:1 simply because when they get cold in the fridge it slows the pour. But this gomme syrup i wanted to make more like a 2:1 syrup even though i added an extra ounce water.
The food grade gum arabica is a natural gum made of hardened sap taken from two species of the acacia tree; Acacia senegal and Acacia seyal. It is used primarily in the food industry as a stabilizer, but has had more varied uses in the past, including viscosity control in inks.
Currently over 70% of the world’s supply of Gum Acacia is produced and exported by the Sudan. Other major supplying areas are Chad and Nigeria and in small quantities from mali, Mauritania, Senegal and Niger. The uses of gum arabica dates back some 5000 years to the time of ancient Egypt
The gum is only produced by trees that are in an unhealthy condition as gum yelds are improved by such natural factors like poor soil, hot weather, lack of rain etc.lessening the vitaly of the trees. Larger yelds of gum are actually produced by trees that are damaged and thus the bark is stripped from a tree and later the workers returns to remove the tears of gum formed in the wound of the scars. Within 3 – 8 weeks, the gum will start to collect in the wound. A young tree will yield 400 – 7000g annually.