Mojito Spheres

These impressive little cocktail spheres are sure to be a hit at your next party!   The worst thing is that they are gobbled up quickly so I recommend making two batches.  This recipe is adapted from Modernist Cuisine.  Go to their reader forum for tips and tricks on how to master this trick.  Also check out my page on reverse spherification.

You have the choice of carbonating the spheres or leaving them flat. The flat version allows the true taste of the mojito to shine through and allows those guests unfamiliar with the spherification process to really enjoy the surprising technique. Carbonation adds an extra zing but can lead to the guest focusing more on the bubbles than the cool pop and flavor of the liquid. I recommend carbonating half and letting your guests choose which they prefer.

Mojito Spheres

 Ingredients – Makes approximately 40 tsp size spheres

 Sodium Alginate Bath – for submerging the spheres

  • Distilled water – 1,000g (really you just need enough to fill up the dish you’ll be making the spheres in. Just be sure to weigh the amount to proportion out the sodium alginate
  • Sodium alginate – 5g (or 0.5% of the distilled water weight)

Hint:  When measuring out small weights always use a scientific scale that is sensitive enough to measure 0.1 grams.  I use a piece of foil to hold the ingredient when weighing.

Equipment for Spherification
Mojito Liquid

  • 20 mint leaves
  • 350g white rum
  • 350g lime juice (ideally fresh)
  • 250g distilled water
  • 12 tbsp of sugar (use more or less depending on personal taste)
  • 11.2g Calcium lactage gluconate
  • 1.6g Xanthan gum

Garnish

  • Miniature mint leaves
  • Grated lime zest

 

Preparing the sodium alginate bath

  1. Blend the sodium alginate into the distilled water in a high sided container using an immersion blender. As the sodium alginate is quite gummy this may take time and may require periodic cleaning of residue from the blender. Unplug the blender before using your hands to scrape off the alginate!
  2. Place in the refrigerator uncovered and let rest for 24 hours so that the air bubbles dissipate.  Alternatively you can use a Chamber Vacuum Sealer to immediately remove all the air.

Adding Sodium Alginate

 

Mixing Sodium Alginate

Prepare the Mojito mixture

  1. Place the lime juice and distilled water in a high sided container and add the mint leaves. Muddle for about 1 minute until the mint leaves have released their oils into the mixture. Strain, discarding the mint leaves.
  2. Add the sugar and rum and stir vigorously until all the sugar is dissolved. Sugar can be added to taste.
  3. Weigh out 350g of the mixture into a tall sided container. Store the remaining mojito mix in a lidded container in the refrigerator until needed.
  4. Add the Calcium lactate glutonate to the 350g of mojito mix blending thoroughly.
  5. Add the Xanthan gum and after hydrating for about one minute mix with the immersion blender.
  6. Leave in the refrigerator for at least an hour and up to 24 to release any air from the solution. This will result is more aesthetically pleasing spheres.

 

Making the Spheres

 

Non Carbonated Mojito Spheres

  1. Remove the sodium alginate, the Mojito / calcium / xanthan mixture, and remaining Mojito from the refrigerator. Prepare a clean bath of water for rinsing the spheres.
  2. Pour the sodium alginate into a large flat based dish sized so that the sodium alginate reaches almost to the top.
  3. Scoop a teaspoon full of the Mojito / calcium / xanthan mixture wiping the bottom of the spoon clean
  4. With a quick twist of the wrist drop the mixture into the sodium alginate solution.  See the video below for helpful hints on creating a perfect sphere
  5. Repeat placing spheres far enough apart in the sodium alginate bath they they will not touch.

Wait 5 minutes then carefully remove the sphere from the solution with a slotted spoon and place into the clean water bath to rinse

While these spheres are rinsing make the remaining spheres per the steps above.

At this point the spheres can be placed in the plain Mojito mixture until serving time

Garnish with miniature mint leaves and lime zest and serve on tasting spoons ideally over a bed of shaved ice

Mojito Spheres

 

Carbonated Mojito Spheres

  1. Follow steps above
  2. Place the plain Mojito mixture into a whipping siphon ensuring it is less than half full
  3. Place the spheres you wish to carbonate gently into the whipping siphon
  4. Charge with one CO2 cartridge (not the NO2 typically used with whipped cream) and let rest for at least 2 hours.
  5. Discharge the CO2 by holding the siphon upright and pressing the trigger to release all the pressure. Remove the top and gently pour out the spheres in the plain Mojito liquid.
  6. Garnish with miniature mint leaves and lime zest and serve on tasting spoons ideally over a bed of shaved ice

 

Comments

  1. Leven says

    hey there,

    thanks for the great recipes/ideas.

    i tried making the mojito spheres, and i’m having a problem. when i drop the spheres into the alginate water, they float and refuse to sink. so i end up with “spheres” that are more like pancakes or footballs. they’re still tasty though.

    i think it could be two things:
    1) the alginate solution seems quite thick. is that normal? i used distilled water so it should be calcium free.
    2) no matter how long i let the mojito mixture rest, it still has a LOT of air bubbles. i tried to remove some from the surface, but there are still a lot throughout. that could be part of why they’re floating. any idea why?

    thanks!
    Leven

    • Bethanie says

      Hello Leven. Thanks for the message. Couple ideas on what might be happening. 1) The sodium alginate should have the consistency of thick water and feel slightly gelatinous. If you pour it, it should flow freely though, not like syrup. I’ve noticed that having the sodium alginate at room temperature (as opposed to refrigerated) does help improve the viscosity slightly. 2) Having air bubbles is most likely your culprit, as you note. This makes the spheres float on the surface of the liquid. I’ve never had the issue of the bubbles not dissipating after 24 hours though. Are you leaving the liquid uncovered and for at least 24h? If you happen to have a chamber vacuum sealer, you can use that to remove any trace of air, though that isn’t too common. 3) The other thing I can think of is the density of your mojito mix. The xanthan gum is supposed to give it the weight to penetrate the alginate. You may want to try adding a touch more xanthan gum to give them a bit more weight so they’ll sink. Hope this helps. Let me know how it goes and if I can help in any other way.

  2. Leven says

    thanks bethanie!

    i tried again before i got your reply, and i had pretty good success.

    this time i actually used *less* xanthan gum since i thought the thickness of the solution might be holding in the bubbles, so to speak. i added about 1.0g instead 1.6. i still had some bubbles after 24 hours but not nearly as much overall

    also, i froze the mojito mix in a hemi-spherical silicone ice cube tray. i thought they might have trouble freezing, but they ended up solidifying quite well despite the alcohol. (my freezer is at -5 deg F)

    i used the same sodium alginate bath as the first time (1.5l distilled water and 7.5g sodium alginate fwiw)

    they sunk a little better, and the freezing definitely helped a lot. i coaxed them around and they generally came out nice and spherical. i did fail a few times taking them out too early…. with the frozen spheres i found i had to leave them in the bath approx 10-12 minutes for them to thaw enough and get viable “walls.”

    in the end it was a great success, and my guests loved them

    thanks again for the idea and inspiration

    –Leven

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