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
Tequila Spherification Bubbles Recipe
- 3 Limes juiced
- salt or sugar for the rim
- 2 Shots Triple Sec
- 100 ml Tequila
- 2 g Sodium Alginate
- 6 g Calcium Carbonate
- 300 ml Bottled Water
- In a tall jug measure out the tequila and using a stick blend mix in the sodium alginate, until there are no lumps and set aside.
- In an another bowl pour 100ml of the bottled water and stir in the calcium carbonate until the liquid is clear again. Set up a third bowl and pour in the remaining bottled water, this is to rinse off the pearls, then next to that bowl, a pile of kitchen towel to drain the pearls. So you should have a nice production line now.
- Using a pipette that came with my kit, pull up some of the tequila mixture and drop little drops in to the bowl with the calcium carbonate. Leave to set for 1-2 minutes.
- Using a slotted spoon gently remove the pearls and place into the water bowl, then drain on to the towel. Repeat this process until you have a mountain of lovely pearls. After half an hour the pearls will set solid and lose their liquid middles. But they are heat stable so you can bake with them in muffins or cakes like you would with raisins.
- So to make the deconstructed margaritas, I sugar rimmed a shot glass (as we were getting a bit merry at this stage) spooned in some of the tequila pearls, then added 2 parts lime juice to 1 part triple sec. Next I want to make Cosmos with cranberry juice pearls in vodka and orange juice. I really was simple and think would look stunning in a champagne flute. Enjoy!