I would like to make alcoholic boba. IS THIS POSSIBLE?
March 25, 2014 2:03 PM   Subscribe

Tapioca balls in drinks. Also known as boba. I recently saw a bar advertising alcoholic drinks WITH boba in them. And I said "Well that's dumb. Anyone can do that. Why not put the booze IN the boba?" To which a friend said "well that's impossible." And I said, "Oh yeah? Well I'm going to do it." And then I realized I know nothing about this. So to you. Can booze be injected into a tapioca ball? Can they be soaked in booze? Would that work? Would they soak it up? What would be the best way to make booze filled bobas?
posted by rileyray3000 to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I would take a look at the modernist pnatry. In particular their spherificstion kits. The emulsification and the gelatin sections seem promising as well.
posted by phil at 2:06 PM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Web search for alcohol + tapioca suggests that one should cook the tapioca according to package instructions, then soak overnight in alcohol of choice. Sounds less complicated than making Jell-O shots, and potentially more entertaining.
posted by asperity at 2:13 PM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

How large a tapioca ball? Smaller will probably be easier.

IME tapioca tends to absorb liquids quite readily provided (a) time, and (b) heat. (Heat also adds the thickening for tapioca pudding, but I'm assuming you just need the tapioca pearls to suck up the alcohol here.) If I were trying to make alcohol-infused boba, I would start by soaking several sizes of previously cooked boba in the fridge with an alcohol mixture and testing them at 12 hour intervals. (You could also try uncooked boba, but in my experience even the medium-pearl stuff gets only slightly softer over 12 hours of soaking.)

If that doesn't work, or doesn't work well enough for your purposes, I am guessing that using a charger plus alcohol plus already-cooked boba would probably do the trick. Basically the same thing as this process only instead of eating the flavored alcohol, you'd be eating the alcohol-infused boba. I've heard of using this technique to infuse alcohol into things like cucumber slices, and I can't imagine boba would be any less successful.

(I think the charger would be the better method here, but they are somewhat expensive, so I'd try the fridge first.)
posted by pie ninja at 2:26 PM on March 25, 2014

I think it might help you to search using the term "popping boba". Around here, popping boba is like regular boba, but is filled with juice which explodes in your mouth. From what I've seen on the internet, making them yourself is crazy labor intensive. Good luck!
posted by tinymegalo at 2:31 PM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Tapioca balls absorb liquids pretty quickly, so you could probably let it soak in alcohol. Except, it tastes and looks disgusting - it'll be a mushy mess and it definitely won't be the same texture as it is when it's fresh. I know, because I've left bubble teas sitting overnight with the pearls still in them.
posted by cyml at 2:32 PM on March 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

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