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Liber and Co. bring back rhubarb shrub; debut gum syrup

Staff Writer
Austin 360

When local company Liber and Co. released their first seasonal shrubs last fall, they helped make home cocktail production more user-friendly.

The company will move into a new 3,000 square foot facility this December that will increase their production capacity five-fold. The office, warehouse and custom syrup production room will provide enough space to expand their portfolio offerings.

In the meantime, fans will be happy to learn that they have re-released the popular seasonal Rhubarb and Ginger shrub.

This year, they decided to slightly alter the recipe and use Champagne vinegar made from California grapes instead of coconut vinegar. “It’s a little bit of a lighter flavor than the coconut,” co-founder Chris Harrison said. “We’re still using coconut for the grapefruit [shrub], because we felt like it still worked in that context, but we thought [the Champagne vinegar] complemented the Rhubarb better. “

The seasonal shrub can be found on shelves now at a variety of HEB locations around Austin, East End Wines, Wiggy’s, Urban Wine + Spirits, Beverage World and King Liquor.

The company has also released a brand new product to their line this fall, a traditional gum syrup. Gum syrup, or gomme syrup, is essentially just simple syrup (sugar and water) with the addition of a stabilizer called gum arabic.

Co-founder Adam Higgenbotham says gum syrup is a popular and versatile way of upgrading a cocktail, because gum arabic adds a thicker viscosity and mouthfeel when compared with simple syrup. “If you were at a nice hotel or a nice restaurant, and you were going to have an Old Fashioned, there’s a noticeable difference if it’s an Old Fashioned with gum syrup,” he says. “It doesn’t weigh the drink down the way high fructose corn syrup would, but it gives it body, mouthfeel.”

On the bottle, they list a recipe for the Sazerac cocktail; one drink Harrison feels particularly benefits from gum syrup because it softens the harsh edge of the rye whiskey and rounds out the flavors. Harrison says gum syrup is also beneficial in egg white or cream cocktails, because the gum acts as an emulsifier as well, helping to incorporate the cream and sugar elements more thoroughly with the other ingredients.

The gum syrup can be purchased on the Liber and Co. website.