Sunday, July 1, 2012

Gomme Syrup - The Easy Way

This isn't David Wondrich. This dude is a gum arabic producer in Niger.
As tending bar is evolving into what borders the culinary arts, we are discovering cocktail recipes from the likes of Professor Jerry Thomas. Some of these antique recipes call for some off-the-beaten-path ingredients - recipes "lost" in the alcohol black hole known as Prohibition and American industrialization. David Wondrich, author of Imbibe! and Punch, has done an enormous amount of research to revive these recipes. Without repeating what other people have said, I'd like to add a tip to one recipe in particular - gomme syrup.

So, as you may have found on other blogs like Cocktail Chronicles that have done all the hard work and given you and I the recipe for gomme syrup, I'd like to make the process a little bit simpler for the masses. By the way, Cocktail Chronicles is a fantastic blog.

This is what gum arabic looks like...on a tree.
I'm a firm believer in cold processing simple syrup. I've mentioned my method here. To me, it makes all the difference in the world when it comes to the viscosity of the cocktail that you are using it in. Mixologists are using gomme syrup today to add not only flavor and sweetness to a cocktail, but a velvety viscosity as well. Let's make it simpler, shall we?

Cocktail Chronicles has this recipe split up into two parts; 2:1 simple syrup and arabic gum syrup.

Arabic Gum Syrup
Put the arabic powder and room temperature water in a bowl and whisk until combined. It took only a few minutes. 

Simple Syrup
Add the sugar and room temperature water in a canning jar and shake the hell out of it until the sugar  dissolves. There may still be minute sugar granules floating around. Don't worry. We'll take care of that in a second.

When you're tired of whisking and shaking that Ball Caning Jar, combine these two syrups in a small sauce pan and put over low heat - DO NOT BOIL. Using a regular old kitchen metal spoon, stir the syrup until you can't feel any of the sugar granules on the bottom of the pot. This takes about 45 seconds. Remove from heat. Let cool at room temperature for a bit. You want to wait long enough for the white foam to form on top of the syrup.

When the foam forms on the top, scoop it off with a spoon. Then, use a conical cocktail strainer and strain into a jar or capped bottle of your choice. I just use a Ball Jar. POW! It's ready to use.

So, lets recap:
Cold shake sugar and water
cold whisk arabic gum and water
combine both syrups in a sauce pan
over low heat, stir until you can't feel the sugar granules
let cool
scoop off  foam - This is just tiny bubbles. No need to get grossed out by it. 
Strain into a bottle

This whole recipe will take about a mere 10 minutes not including the cooling time. I don't know how long I let mine cool. I left it on the counter and then ran out to do an errand. You can do the same, that is, if you have errands to do.

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