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.
Margaritas with Tequila Pearls
Sodium Alginate Bath
3g Sodium Alginate
Calcium Chloride Bath
5g Calcium Chloride
50g Lime Juice
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- Drop into a shot glass, salt-rimmed and then top with more tequila and enjoy!
- Category: Drinks
- Method: Science
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