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Uses of Gum Arabic


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42 replies to this topic

#31 slkinsey

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Posted 10 January 2010 - 05:34 PM

You can normally get it already in fine powder form. Definitely to not want the large crystals.
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#32 feste

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Posted 13 January 2010 - 11:24 AM

And it's powdered, Chris? I have a package from a Caribbean grocery labelled gum arabic that's in lumps. It looks like some kind of dried resin. Can I just bash it up?


The first time I made gum syrup I used the resinous chunks. It took forever (3+ hours)to dissolve over a low simmer and in the end I had no way of knowing how much water had evaporated. Made some beautiful syrup, though. Powdered is far, far more convenient.
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#33 Chris Amirault

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 06:12 AM

Got a bottle of George T. Stagg 2009 bourbon, which clocks in at 141.4 proof. Wanted a simple Old Fashioned using the Jerry Thomas decanter bitters, but something unexpected happened.

To recreate, here's the booze & bitters:

Posted Image

Added a few drops of gum syrup, stir, and:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Am I right to assume that this has something to do with the high (>70%) ABV? It happened with Everclear (95% ABV) just now as well.
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#34 slkinsey

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 06:36 AM

Ah yes, I forgot to mention that. Gomme syrup does not do well with straight extra-high proof spirits. Gum arabic is highly soluble in water but not soluble in most other solvents, including ethanol. This means that it it is soluble in water-ethanol mixtures only up to about 60% ethanol (i.e., 120 proof).

The practical implication is that if you want to make a drink with overproof booze and gomme syrup, you should stir the booze with ice for a while before adding the gomme.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#35 Tri2Cook

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Posted 17 January 2010 - 08:01 AM

Interesting. Does the reaction do anything texture or flavor related or is it just an appearance thing?
It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

#36 Chris Amirault

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Posted 19 January 2010 - 10:53 AM

It's hard to say: I found it so visually off-putting -- and with a mortgage-payment bourbon, no less -- that I can't be sure if the lousy mouthfeel was real or not. But it didn't have that silky quality I was hoping for; it was more like the feel of Pernod with water, only thicker.
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#37 TAPrice

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 07:42 PM

Cocktail Kingdom is selling a 16 oz bottle of "Scrappy's Gomme Syrup" for $16.95. Is that a good price, given the cost of gum Arabic and the trouble to make the syrup? And is this syrup any good?
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#38 slkinsey

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 06:52 AM

I can't comment as to the quality of the syrup, but that strikes me as a pretty high price for what is for all intents and purposes fancy simple syrup.

Consider this: For 23 bucks, you can buy a pound of gum arabic powder from these guys. That will make a lot more than 16 ounces of gomme syrup.
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#39 Chris Amirault

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 08:39 AM

I agree with Sam. I've been batching it regularly using the one of those Frontier pound packages that I keep sealed in a ziplok bag, and it's basically one 2-minute step added to a rich simple.
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#40 Chris Amirault

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 05:38 PM

Have settled into a recipe that combines the insights here. It's for ~750 ml, as I'm making it for a bar.

With an immersion blender, combine until smooth:

120 g gum arabic powder
150 ml hot (200F) water

(Don't worry about a few lumps.) Then, with the same immersion blender, combine until smooth:

230 g cane sugar
230 g demerara sugar
230 ml hot (200F) water

Combine the two syrups with a bit more immersion blending. Fine strain into a clean bottle.

And now, the reward: a Sazerac.
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#41 Kohai

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Posted 03 May 2010 - 10:19 PM

Random question: does gum arabic require heat to activate?
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#42 Mattmvb

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 02:08 PM

I don't have any experience of using it in it's raw form, but I've gone through a heck of a lot of gomme in my time. A large number of bars in the UK use gomme in place of simple, leading to an annoyingly large number of bartenders who don't know thee difference and will refer to simple as gomme.

At my bar we mostly use simple (well actually we get through roughly equal quantities of simple and 1:1 demerara sugar syrup, same principle though!), it's always handy to have a bottle of gomme to hand though. It has a very useful property of saving drinks that aren't quite right but not bad enough to throw away and start again. I basically mean those drinks you come up with on the fly that almost end up how you want but are slightly thin in either texture or flavour. A dash of gomme can really perform wonders in fixing these. Of course you have to be careful in not upsetting the balance too much, you may need to add a dash of one or more other ingredients to maintain it. I'm certainly not advocating this a fix all, but in certain situations it's a handy hint.

I was quite surprised with the price someone mentioned above. The last time I bought gomme was Sept, it came in at £28.06/case (12x750ml) - very roughly $45. I can't comment on any difference in quality of course, the brand I was buying was Combier who for me have the best price vs quality ratio of syrup producers available here (also the only one I know on a mass produced scale who actually use almonds in their orgeat)

Cheers,

Matt

#43 Tri2Cook

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Posted 06 March 2011 - 01:02 PM

There's a recipe on the Willpowder site for a "gum syrup, modern version". It's 1:1 simple syrup with a small amount of locust bean gum (2 grams in 1 kg of syrup) instead of the arabic. I haven't tried it yet but I think I'm going to. I'm thinking it will be more neutral in flavor than the arabic syrup... whether or not that's a good thing remains to be seen.
It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.