Creepy Bubble Halloween Cocktails




About: Dabbler in All Things Creative...

Add some fun texture and creepy appeal to your halloween cocktails and shots!

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.

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Step 1: Make the Tapioca Pearls

Ever had Bubble Tea? It's made with large tapioca pearls, and has a really interesting look. I figured there's no reason we couldn't make some fun halloween drinks/shots/cocktails with the tapioca pearls. A trip to the local Whole Foods yielded a bag of large pearls. You can also find them online, and I would expect at Asian markets. You want large tapioca pearls - I used Reese brand. Note you have to have the pearls, not instant tapioca or anything like that. You'll likely find them near the puddings in the grocery store.

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

For Bubble Tea, you rinse the balls. I just drained the water and left some of the thick liquid sticking to the balls. This seemed to give it more of a creepy feel.

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
Orange Curacao
Black Rum
(center) Blue drink mixer syrup

Step 3: Results

After soaking (I soaked overnight) this is what I got:

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!

Now that you have your pearls, you can do anything you want with them!
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
  • 3/4 oz cream
  • 3/4 oz creme de cacao, white
  • 3/4 oz creme de menthe, green
1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
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...!

Step 5: Finally...

Drink and Enjoy!

See the test photos on flickr Here
and this gorgeous one Here

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    17 Discussions


    5 years ago on Step 5

    I guess dipping them into solution of Vitamin B is enough to make them glow bright under blacklight lamp(or,UV lamp,but those black tube lamps are much better to see).

    Known drinks that contain Vitamin B:

    Red Bull,and ALL multivitamin drinks. They can't omit this!

    Also,why Vitamin B?

    They're edible,returns to the nature when disposed of,and also,they're vitamin.


    7 years ago on Step 2

    What a great idea! Definitely going to give these a try. Thanks for sharing!



    8 years ago on Step 4

    Your ible does add a lot of helpful information with the different kind of balls you make. I'm guessing the different reaction between the liquor infused ones is due to relative alcohol percentage. Correct me if I'm wrong (not exactly a heavy drinker) but I believe Creme de Menthe would have a much lower alcohol content than the others - certainly than the rum. The alcohol likely reacts with the pearls in some way, but the lower alcohol content of the Creme de Menthe prevented the reaction.

    Could you tell approximately how much alcohol was absorbed by the pearls? Because it could be useful for individuals who don't like the taste of alcohol and could have them floating in a cocktail with a low alcohol percentage, or even no alcohol, and they wouldn't taste the flavour of the alcohol as much.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    As a hint for the future (as it'd be helpful in this recipe and for other "edible fake blood" recipes)...

    To take the pinkish tint from grenadine and darken it, add a very small ammount of green food coloring. For a bottle of grenadine, that's around 2 to 3 drops PER BOTTLE. For homemade red dyed concoctions, it tends to be less than a drop of green.

    It darkens and takes the pink tint from red dyed foods to make it more "blood" looking. If anyone dyes their pearls using the grenadine+green mix, i'd love to see it.

    1 reply

    so we're making a variation of bubble tea. you can find bubble tea straws online that are fat enough to suck up the bubbles. it's kind of fun, as long as the tapioca is fresh and highly flavored, otherwise they end up sort of like little balls of tasteless goo. you can find other recipes, even kits that have lots of different flavors, ranging from clear fruit teas to smoothie type drinks that have milk (or substitutes like almond or rice milks) added in. ....the opaque milky ones look kind of neat with the colored pearls peeking out in the bottom of the glass. bubble tea type drinks are incredibly popular in quite a few areas of the country and are HUGE overseas in Asian countries. normally they're made fresh, to your order but they used to make a bottled premade tea. that was the first experience i had with it and i was sooo unimpressed. it was tasteless weak tea with small "bubbles" in it that were colored but not flavored...and no straw, so when you tried to drink it you ended up bombarded by the bubbles as they fell forward when you tipped the bottle to drink. i personally don't like having to try to drink around gooey chunks when having a drink. eventually i found a place that made them fresh where you could choose your flavor of tea, even mixing flavors and you can put in any flavor of bubble you want. i personally love making tropical type mixes with fruity flavors in the liquid and coconut flavored pearls. YUM!
    great job on the instructable! i'm love introducing bubble tea type drinks in the hopes that people will want them enough to get more shops that make them started around the country so we can all get our fix without having to go the somewhere on the east or west coast to get it! bubble teas for everyone!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    I made these for a halloween party and no one would put them in their drinks because they looked so gross, lol. I soaked them in thawed juice concentrate overnight and they looked really good.

    Thanks for the great idea!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    i have a great idea!!!! go to your local hobby shop and by a bunch of beakers or flasks to put your drinks in. Wash first before you serve your mad scientist concoction!!! *i.e. dress up as a mad scientist* good shtick


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for all the nice comments!

    You can see the final ones I did for halloween HERE. I made the red balls redder by using grenadine with additional red food coloring.

    No need to wait for Halloween either...
    You could totally do these for a holiday party too. Make red balls, and put them in a green liqueur for a holly berry look.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    These look awesome.. I'll have to find the pearls somewhere so I can try this for next year's Halloween party. :)


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Fantastic! Thank you for testing the pearls in strong alcohol! It wouldn't have occurred to me beforehand but I suspect those pearls were firmer and smaller due to the hydrophilic (water absorbing) nature of ethanol. Can't wait to play with this so thanks again!


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Tonic water lights up under UV light. Might try soaking the pearls in there for another effect.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    omg i think that they look really nice yum add some hot glue to the glass to make a web would make it cool


    10 years ago on Introduction

    What an awesome idea!!! Having a halloween party this year and will be making these fun little drinks!!! thanks for sharing Tissuepapers


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Glad you like it! I added a little addtional info, and a way cool picture of my first batch that a photographer friend of mine took.