Tequila Spherification Bubbles Recipe

After recently experiencing Taiwanese Bubble Tea, I’ve become quite interested in using different textures to create an unusual take on the dish or drink. 

Spherification is the process of shaping liquid into pearls, the most common method of doing this a liquid is mixed with sodium alginate and dropped into a cold solution of calcium chloride or calcium carbonate. This process sets the outside of the liquid causing a soft shell whilst keeping the centre liquid.  Sounds simple right and not scary at all ??? Well, it is! For many years restaurants such as El Buli and The Fat Duck has used them on their menus. More recently cocktail bars have been making flavoured pearls add contrasting textures to their drinks, such as peach pearls in champagne for a new take on bellinis. 

Before you all run to the hills thinking I have lost my mind and this is the furthest thing away from food and home cooking, let me explain a bit about the ingredients used and why.  Here comes the science bit….

Sodium alginate is extracted from seaweed and is widely used in the food industry as a thickener for drinks and ice creams. And comes tasteless so doesn’t affect the liquid you which to make into pearls.  

Calcium Chloride is commonly used as a firming agent in food, commonly for tofu and canned vegetables. This will help us to create a shell which will withstand light handling without setting the whole liquid drop. I bought a relatively cheap kit from Cream Supplies to get the feel for it and they will look to get more bits of kit from them. (Also super crazy fast delivery!)  
So when faced with the question, what liquid do I want to create pearls with, there’s only one answer. TEQUILA! That’s right, tequila! Whoop! Whoop! As mentioned in my Easter post, I and my brother love tequila. In fact, it’s become one of our favourite spirits to have a long drink- honestly, try it with ginger beer, lemonade and even pineapple juice. Yum!
We had a lovely family bbq this weekend around the FoodNerd rentals and instead of having a nice bottle of red wine with dinner, my bro and I decided a jug of margaritas was the way to go. So I had to hand the ingredients and the taste for margaritas was in my system, just short of a few limes so used a combination of limes and lemons. So here’s my very geeky deconstructed Margarita’s that I made with my brother and Flounce.
FoodNerd Family BBQ

Small steaks and margaritas all around

Margaritas with Tequila Pearls

Tequila Bubble Ingredients

All the bits and bobs

Tequila Bubble Ingredients

All mixed in

Tequila Bubbles Setting

Setting the outside

Tequila Bubbles

Pearl Mountain

Tequila Bubbles

Our First Pearl

Tequila Bubbles

Tequila Pearls

Mini Margaritas with Tequila Bubbles

Mini Margaritas

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Tequila Spherification Bubbles

  • Author: foodnerd4life
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x



Sodium Alginate Bath

3g Sodium Alginate

325g Water

Calcium Chloride Bath

5g Calcium Chloride

1L Water


100ml Tequila

50g Lime Juice

50g Cointreau


  1. Dissolve sodium alginate in the water, using a stick blender to get the powder in solution (could take 5-10 minutes). In a pot, bring the solution to a boil and then let cool to room temperature. In a separate bowl, dissolve the calcium chloride in the water.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the tequila, Cointreau and lime juice with the sodium alginate solution in a roughly 2:3 v/v ratio (liquid of choice: sodium alginate solution).
  3. Using a pipette or syringe, gently squeeze the liquid out drop by drop into the calcium chloride bath. Small spheres will form. Let the spheres “cook” for about 1 minute before removing them from the bath using a slotted spoon. Rinse with water before serving.
  4. Drop into a shot glass, salt-rimmed and then top with more tequila and enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Drinks
  • Method: Science

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  1. Stormplum
    31 August, 2012 / 10:57 am


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