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Dots-brand gumdrops
Type Confectionery
Main ingredients pectin, granulated sugar, flavoring
Variations Spice drops
Cookbook: Gumdrop  Media: Gumdrop

Gumdrops are a type of candy. They are brightly colored pectin-based pieces, shaped like a narrow dome (sometimes with a flattened top), and often coated in granulated sugar. They come in (usually artificial) fruit and spice flavors; the latter are also known as spice drops.


Gumdrops first appear in the 19th century United States, purportedly as early as 1801, though the name isn't known in print until 1859, appearing in an ad in the Illinois State Chronicle in Decatur, IL that year, for a candy shop owned by a George Julier. By that time, a gelatin-based, rubbery candy akin to modern gummies went by that name, but also a more pasty candy with a potato starch base.[1]

By 1915, a candy manufacturer named Percy Truesdell was producing a candy more like the modern gumdrop. He came to be known as "the gumdrop king".

At the end of the 19th century, the term "gumdrop" was being used to refer to sweetness or a sweetheart. By the mid 20th century, "goody gumdrops" was a term of excitement, sincere or ironic.

One of the oldest types of gumdrops still produced are "spice" gumdrops, using the traditional spices to flavor them, including clove, anise, allspice, spearmint, cinnamon, wintergreen.[2]


Gumdrops, spice drops, and their variations are used in baking, candy crafting, decorating, and for eating out of hand to mouth. They are often used for decorating cakes and cupcakes. Around Christmas time, this candy is an ingredient used in making gingerbread houses, amongst other confections. These candies are similar to Dots.[3]

In popular culture[edit]

February 15th is National Gumdrop Day.[4]

The Apollo 9 Command module was nicknamed "Gumdrop".[5]

The board game Candy Land includes a "Gumdrop Pass" and "Gumdrop Mountain".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Invention of the Gumdrop
  2. ^ Gumdrop Fun Facts
  3. ^ Augusten Burroughs (October 27, 2009). You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas. St. Martin's Press. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-4299-4375-8. 
  4. ^ February 15, 2016 – NATIONAL GUMDROP DAY
  5. ^ Evans, Ben (August 25, 2010). Foothold in the Heavens: The Seventies. Springer Praxis Books / Space Exploration Series. New York: Springer-Verlag. p. 100. ISBN 978-1-4419-6341-3. 

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