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In cooking, a syrup or sirup (from Arabic: شراب; sharāb, beverage, wine, via Latin: sirupus) is a thick, viscous liquid consisting primarily of a solution of sugar in water, containing a large amount of dissolved sugars but showing little tendency to deposit crystals. The viscosity arises from the multiple hydrogen bonds between the dissolved sugar, which has many hydroxyl (OH) groups, and the water. Syrups can be made by dissolving sugar in water or by reducing naturally sweet juices such as cane juice, sorghum juice, or maple sap. Corn syrup is made from corn starch using an enzymatic process that converts it to sugars. Technically and scientifically, the term syrup is also employed to denote viscous, generally residual, liquids, containing substances other than sugars in solution.
A variety of beverages call for sweetening to offset the tartness of some juices used in the drink recipes. Granulated sugar does not dissolve easily in cold drinks or ethyl alcohol. Since the following syrups are liquids, they are easily mixed with other liquids in mixed drinks, making them superior alternatives to granulated sugar.
A basic sugar-and-water syrup used to make drinks at bars. Simple syrup is made by stirring granulated sugar into hot water in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved and then cooling the solution. Generally, the ratio of sugar to water can range anywhere from 1:1 to 2:1. Syrup can be used as a sweetener. However, since it gels readily when pectin is added, its primary culinary use is as a base for fruit sauces, toppings, and preserves.
Flavoured syrups are made by adding flavouring matter to a simple syrup. For instance, syrupus aromaticus is prepared by adding certain quantities of orange flavouring and cinnamon water to simple syrup. This type of syrup is commonly used at coffee bars, especially in the United States, to make flavoured drinks.
Gomme syrup (or gum syrup; gomme is French for "gum") is an ingredient commonly used in mixed drinks. It is also commonly used as a sweetener for iced coffee in Japan. Like bar syrups, it is a 2:1 sugar and water mixture, but has an added ingredient of gum arabic. Gomme syrup is made with the highest percentage of sugar to water possible, while the gum arabic prevents the sugar from crystallizing and adds a smooth texture.