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Chris Amirault

Uses of Gum Arabic

43 posts in this topic

but WTF do you want to incorporate gum arabic into cocktails?

There's a flavor element -- as noted above, it's a bit malty, which is an added bonus in some drinks. But the gum arabic thickens the drink to give it a silkier mouthfeel.

from what i understand it also helps keep very saturated syrups from falling out of solution. never tried more than 2:1 so i can't say how high you could go. someone here probably could, though.

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Oh.

Distinctly outta my league, but thanks.

That may be the most polite "piffle" I've ever seen... :biggrin:

Why would a stabilized simple syrup be out of you league?


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Just made one of Toby Maloney's 41 Jane Does, with a slight adjustment to switch to gum and lower the syrup ratio. After some hardcore dry and ice shaking both, the gum syrup creates a great mouthfeel both in the drink itself and in the stable meringue, which has sustained itself for a remarkably long while. That is to say, these damned bubbles are tiny, and they ain't popping.

If I were making drinks at a bar on a regular basis, I'd build the menu to be sure to have several, if not most, egg white drinks amenable to the gum syrup. The next experiment is a straight-up Pisco Sour, to see how the malty syrup plays with the edgy pisco.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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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.


Small Hand Foods

classic ingredients for pre-prohibition era cocktails

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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:

4281665832_5e3cedf10b_o.jpg

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

4281665978_512df2ebd9.jpg

4281666140_99c4943613.jpg

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.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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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

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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.

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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.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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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?


Todd A. Price aka "TAPrice"

Homepage and writings; A Frolic of My Own (personal blog)

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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.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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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.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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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.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Random question: does gum arabic require heat to activate?


Pip Hanson | Marvel Bar

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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

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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.

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