Rum Punch Cocktail Pods: Reverse Spherification Is Sodium Cool
By Scott Bradshaw
When I mention molecular gastronomy, people either have no clue what I’m talking about or they roll their eyes and walk away. Okay yes, it’s a bit pretentious, very process-driven, and science-nerdy. Let’s face it though: It’s so damn cool. (Did you get the joke above? So-dium cool? I thought that was very clever.)
Dip your toe into the molecular pool just a tiny bit with this easy reverse spherification method that lets you make, for lack of a better term, drink or cocktail pods. It’s just science. When sodium alginate comes in contact with calcium lactate gluconate, it forms a membrane that is edible. We are going to add calcium lactate gluconate to a drink of your choice, be it kid-friendly or an adult beverage, and then we are going to turn that drink into a solid by freezing it. We will then add the frozen calcium lactate gluconate–laden drink into a water solution containing sodium alginate. And bam! We have a self-contained bubble of fun.
Pop one in your mouth, bite into it, and get ready for it to explode in your mouth. I made several of these and used them as cocktail-filled bubble gum–flavored bubbles on top of my Blibber-Blubber Dubble Bubble Fudge Cake. When you cut into them, some will pop, making this self-saucing.
Pro Tip: Saying “self-saucing Blibber-Blubber Dubble Bubble Fudge Cake” out loud in public will get you more attention than that Instagram selfie you’ve been thinking about posting.
Bubble Gum Rum Punch
6 ounces rum
6 ounces pineapple juice
2 ounces sweet and sour mix
4 ounces bubble gum elixir*
4 ounces calcium lactate gluconate
- Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend to dissolve the calcium lactate gluconate. Portion this into silicone molds and freeze until ready to use.
Tip: The general rule is to add 2 percent calcium lactate gluconate of the total weight into the drink to get a proper reaction.
Reverse Spherification Cocktail Pods
5 grams sodium alginate
1 liter distilled water, plus more for dipping
1 batch bubble gum rum punch
- Use an immersion blender to combine sodium alginate and distilled water in a large bowl. If you don’t have an immersion blender, use a regular blender. It is important to use distilled water. The water will be very cloudy with small bubbles of air, so let it sit for 24 hours for them to dissipate.
- Warm the sodium alginate water bath to about 125°F in the microwave and prepare 2 bowls with cold plain distilled water.
- Gently slip 1 frozen cocktail pod into the sodium alginate bath and gently stir the water with a spoon. Be careful not to touch the pod with the spoon or let it rest on the bottom of the bowl until the membrane has formed.
- Pick up the pod with a slotted spoon, wipe the bottom of the spoon with a paper towel, and transfer it to the first bowl of cold water. Rinse thoroughly by stirring the water with a spoon and move the pod into the second water bath. Use a different spoon than the one you used in the sodium alginate bath for these steps.
- Serve immediately or store in a bowl filled with a holding liquid made up of the cocktail without the calcium.
*You will find the bubble gum elixir recipe and the rest of the Blibber-Blubber Dubble Bubble Fudge Cake in the March/April 2022 issue of ACD.