My baby HATED gripe water. He gagged and spit it out every time. It smells like black licorice which was enough to make me gag! Mylicon drops (the Little Tummies stuff) worked WONDERS. Seriously stops my screaming baby almost immediately and he loves the taste of it. And you only have to give your baby an itty bitty amount whereas the gripe water you have to give a lot, which is annoying in the middle of the night!
That black stuff sounds like Kolik Calm. Different.
Gripe water is essentially sugar water, and it's clear. Tastes delicious. And we give about 5mL which is not much IMO.