I kept trying to think of something fun and different to do for my halloween cocktails this year, and this is what I came up with : Using tapioca pearls for fun cocktails!
This instructable explains how to cook the pearls, how to color/flavor them, and ideas for using them. If you have more ideas, I'd love to hear them in the comments or on my blog!
PS: Also, you can see the final ones I used at our Halloween Party HERE. I did shooters in test tubes and also had balls served in martini glasses to add to drinks.
Step 1: Make the Tapioca Pearls
First I made a test batch with about 1/4 c of pearls-- adapting a recipe for making pearls for bubble tea:
1. The ratio should be a minimum of 7:1, water to tapioca pearls.
2. Boil water in a large pot.
3. Add in the tapioca pearls to boiling water.
4. The tapioca pearls should float in the water.
5. Boil for about 25 minutes depending on the tapioca pearl with the cover on.
6. Turn the heat off and let the tapioca sit in the water for 25 minutes.
Don't rinse, just move on to the next step.
They may not be totally clear. On my first batch following the above directions there was a spec of solid in the center, but I liked that as it gave me more of an egg look. My second batch, which these pictures are from, I forgot about them and left them in the water longer, and they were totally clear and jelly like.
You can see in the next step how many pearls that made, so adjust your amount to cook accordingly.
Step 2: Color/Flavor Experimentation
So you now need to pick how you are going to flavor/color the pearls... You can use anything. For bubble tea, you soak in a sugar syrup. You can easily make your own sugar syrup and color with any food coloring, or you can try some of the experiments below.
My experiments, for your use in choosing your soakers:
You're supposed to soak them in a sugar syrup, and I had on had some really bright blue drink mixer, which I figured would be perfect. Voila, bright blue translucent drink pearls with a slightly sweet flavor. Next I tried several other 'soakers' to see what I would get. I figured a red flavor would be nice, so I soaked some in grenadine. I also mixed some of the grenadine and the blue syrup to get a black/purple color. And hey, we're making drinks, so how about soaking in alcohol! So I tried green creme de menthe, black rum, jagermeister, and orange liqueur.
From top, clockwise:
Green Creme de Menthe
Mix of grenadine and blue drink mix syrup
(center) Blue drink mixer syrup
Step 3: Results
From top, clockwise:
Grenadine - Pink, large, and translucent
Creme de Menthe - Green Large and mostly translucent
Grenadine/blue mixture - Grey/black, translucent
Jager - Smaller, firmer opaque tan.
Black Rum - Smaller, firmer opaque tan
Orange liquer - Creamy white, small & firm
Blue - Blue, large, and translucent
Note that (with the exception of the creme de menthe), the alcohol soaked pearls became smaller, harder, and opaque. The others are more transparent and jelly like. Interesting effects, you could obviously work with either result. The alcohol ones are still chewy.
Step 4: Making Your Drinks!
I could see just having dishes of these at your drink station for people to add their own, or you can prepare some creepy cocktails like these:
They can basically be added to any drink or shot where the flavors will work. They also don't have a ton of taste, so they won't mess up a drink.
Add to a basic martini or cosmopolitan, for example.
#Basic black and white balls for a 'Caviar' martini.
#Frog Egg Shooter - Whitish opaque pearls (these were the orange liqueur ones) in a Midori shot
#Fish Egg Shooter - Your favorite clear pink shooter with a mix of pink and white balls.
#Or how about Grasshopper Eye Shooter (basic Grasshopper* recipe with Green Creme de Menthe balls)
#Blue berry-flavored balls in a Grand Marnier shot. The blue is my favorite -- I think these would also be fabulous in a vodka tonic...
*Grasshopper from cocktails.about.com:
- 3/4 oz cream
- 3/4 oz creme de cacao, white
- 3/4 oz creme de menthe, green
2. Shake well.
3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Doh! After posting this, I found a similar instructable here. I knew someone else had to have thought of this before. Well, hopefully this added to your knowledge...!