Sago at Gulaman with sago pearls, grass jelly, and brown sugar syrup is a tropical cooler you’ll love year round. It’s refreshing and delicious as it is fun to eat!
It’s been a while since we had a beverage recipe here on the blog so I thought I’ll feature one of the most iconic Filipino refreshment, Sago’t Gulaman.
I first posted this samalamig way back in 2014, but I am updating it today with a couple of tips my aunt from the Philippines taught me on how to make it tastier as well as quickly and easily.
How to Make Gulaman Syrup
The gulaman drink is sweetened with a simple syrup made of equal parts brown sugar and water.
To make the syrup, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clear and no longer cloudy. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely.
In a large pitcher, combine 4 cups cold water (or to taste) and simple syrup. Stir in a teaspoon or so banana essence or vanilla extract to enhance flavor and aroma.
For a deeper color, make sure to use dark brown sugar. For a more authentic taste, you can substitute about 8 ounces of panutsa for the brown sugar.
The recipe card below has detailed instructions on how to make this refreshing cooler from scratch, and as you can see, it does take a few series of steps to pull together. Admittedly, it can be a bit complicated to prepare for daily enjoyment.
The tip my aunt taught me aside from adding banana essence to the brown sugar syrup is using grass jelly! This black gulaman is available at most Asian supermarkets and inexpensive at about $3 for a large 19-ounce can. Not only does it have the perfect jiggly consistency, but it also matches the amber color of the drink well.
You can also use already cooked sago packed in bottles and sold at most Filipino and Asian grocers. With these two key ingredients ready with zero effort, all you need to do is a 5-minute arnibal syrup!
I tend to make my brown sugar syrup very sweet as the added ice will dilute the mixture. If you’re skipping the ice, adjust taste by adding more cold water as needed.
Want more tropical refreshments? Try creamy buko shake or this cucumber lime smoothie!