Given the AGLC’s lamentable position on infusions and house made bitters, bartenders in Alberta are left with fewer choices when it comes to producing consistent, large batch ingredients for service. However, as the saying goes, limitations breed creativity, and our province’s more archaic laws are currently inspiring some of our country’s most creative and trailblazing bartenders to find legal ways to compensate for proven techniques they aren’t allowed to employ.


House made syrups and shrubs, and the flavors they allow us to incorporate into recipes, play a tremendous role in our cocktail programs at To The Lost, Forgotten Alley, and Gusto. Creating new syrups that showcase unique and interesting flavours has become a bit of an obsession with the team, and we take any chance we can to experiment with new combinations. And while flavoured syrups can be a great way of modifying the profile of a cocktail, they can also be used to bolster the textural components of a drink.


Gum or Gomme Syrup is essentially a simple syrup with an added emulsifier, (typically gum arabic or xanthan gum) which acts to increase the body of the syrup, making it richer and smoother. The gum arabic or xanthan gum also prevents the sugar from crystallizing, allowing for a higher sugar to water ratio, again reinforcing a silkier, richer mouthfeel in the finished cocktail.

(See below for recipe)


 Author : Mathew Buck

Author : Mathew Buck

We couldn’t be happier about the cocktail renaissance finally taking hold Central Alberta, and we want to make sure that we do it right, so it’s important for us to take the time to pay respect to classic recipes, ingredients, and techniques with the hope of passing our passion on to our fantastic guests. Starting December 1st, To The Lost, Forgotten Alley, and Gusto will begin using gomme syrup in select recipes, both classic and signature.  

Gomme Syrup-
12 oz. superfine sugar
6 oz. water, divided into 2-oz. and 4-oz. portions
2 oz. gum arabic/gum acacia

In a small plastic container, combine gum arabic and 2 oz water. Stir with a chopstick to combine, then cover. Let sit for 48 hours, or until the gum arabic has been completely dissolved by the water.

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and remaining 4 oz water. Heat gently until sugar begins to dissolve, then fold in the gum arabic mixture. Remove from heat immediately, let cool and bottle in a plastic squeeze bottle. Keep refrigerated for up to 1 month.

Recipe courtesy of Jeffrey Morgenthaler,