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Monday, May 14, 2012

Molecular Mixology - the Mojito and the Screwdriver

I got a molecular mixology kit from one of the online deal companies. Have you heard of molecular mixology? Maybe not. But I bet you've heard of foams, emulsions, spherifications, gelifications, etc. used in molecular gastronomy. Imagine the same thing for drinks.

The kit comes with 5 different types of sachet packets with various powdered substances that you mix to create the various concoctions, plus a CD with recipes and instructions.

I've been dying to try it. So this weekend we had company coming over and I decided to try two of them, the Mojito and the Screwdriver. The Mojito was a spherification, and it took me awhile to realize that there was no actual drink you dump the sphere into, but the sphere IS the drink.

Here's what you need to make the Mojito:
After muddling the sachet, lime wedges, lime juice, rum, club soda, sugar and mint, I strained it and poured the mixture into the ice cube tray, topping it off with mint leaves. You're supposed to use a round mold, but I didn't have that. I'm not sure what difference it would make, other than aesthetics.
Put the tray in the freezer and wait until the cubes freeze. When you're ready to take them out, you mix another sachet with water and let it sit for 15 minutes. You then dump the cube into the solution for 3 minutes, rinse it in water, and slurp it from a spoon. By 3 minutes, though, the cube had not only unfrozen, but started turning to a gelatinous mess.
At that point, it was bottoms up. My husband I gagged - the gelatin was pretty nasty, and I didn't taste much of the rum/soda, only the gel and the mint. Our guests like it and had seconds. They're Aussies. Maybe that has something to do with it? Either that or they're just really good dinner guests.

Here's what you need for the screwdriver.

You make two solutions, one with the orange juice, and one with the vodka. You use a hand blender and mix each of them, and then wait 5 minutes.
The next step is to layer the two, putting the glasses in the refrigerator for 15 minutes in between each layer. This is to allow the gel to set, so when you pour the next layer on, it will stay. I found it took longer than 15 minutes to set, and at times I put the glasses in the freezer.

Here are the drinks with two layers, the vodka on top, the OJ on the bottom.

You can see that the top of the OJ layers not only got foamy, but some of the layers bled together. My mistake was not ending with a layer of OJ on top. When we took our first sips, we basically got a shot of vodka. While it makes total sense, the drink was gloppy and gelatinous. Kind of like jello, only with vodka. We ended up mixing more orange juice in to make it palatable. While the drink looked really good, I didn't like the taste of it and really hated the gelatin.

Won't make these two again, but there are several more I still want to try! Stay tuned.


  1. Once we added the juice it tasted much better! And the second was even better, and the third more betterer, and the betterest forth more...
    In the interest of science I think we need to be there for mixology part II!!!

  2. I think you're our only friends who would actually try my drinks. I think my husband will now decline!