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Friday 23 March 2012

The boy and his poison: Molecular Gin and Tonic

Those are indeed tiny balls
of blue tonic water
I have a vivid memory of being bought a chemistry kit as a child and spending many a rainy day leafing through the experiment book looking for anything that involved the bunsen burner, bright flares or explosions. Suffice to say secondary school chemistry didn't quite live up to the pyrotechnic promise of my introduction to the subject so until last Friday I thought my pipette and stirring spoon days were behind me. That was until an unexpected package was dropped off at my office promising a cocktail revolution.

First off, let me clear something up, as a rule I'm wary of any term like 'molecular mixology'. It's a technique which has developed in response to its foodie neighbour molecular gastronomy (think Heston) but in drink terms it’s currently mostly focused on playing with textures, density and viscosity either of elements of a cocktail or the cocktail as a whole. Picture mojito bubbles, martini bites, Bailey's suspensions or airs of margarita.

I'm mostly all about simple, perfectly crafted drinks but that doesn't mean I don't have a sense of fun and fun seems to be at the heart of what Molecule-r's 'Cocktail Revolution Kit' is all about. Containing stylishly boxed sachets of mad-professor-esque ingredients like Sodium Alginate and Calcium Lactate, a clutch of tools and a DVD of step-by-step recipes, my kitchen looked like a lab when I started playing at the weekend.

I popped my molecular-mixology cherry with a reverse-spherification recipe, I made a deconstructed gin and tonic replete with citrusy bubbles of blue tonic water suspended in ice cold gin. Cue thirty minutes of larking about with pipettes, hand mixers, stirring and laughing… chemistry was never that much fun at school. The end cocktail looked amazing but more importantly was an absolute joy to make which is this kit’s biggest strength. So, don't worry about the name, and next time you want to do something unique for a dinner party or you’re at a loss for something to buy the cocktail lover in your life why not give it a whirl.

You can pick up your cocktail chemistry kit from Selfridges from today for just £49 and there’s a gastronomy one too if food is more your thing.

You'll need
  • 50ml of gin
  • 400ml of tonic water
  • 5ml of blue curacao
  • 50g of calcium lactate
  • 20g sodium alginate
Then make
  • Put the tonic, curacao and calcium lactate in a large bowl and blend with a hand mixer
  • In another bowl, add the sodium alginate to a litre of water and stir
  • Using a pipette (or two) transfer the tonic into the sodium alginate bath drip by drip
  • Chill the gin and pour it into a small glass, then transfer the tonic bubbles into it using a slotted spoon


  1. The ingredients make me really happy. "50ml gin, 50g calcium lactate"

  2. Oh my god, that just looks like so much fun.

  3. cocktails for my inner science nerd ...i'm in :-)

  4. I have a rule never to drink anything that is blue but I would definitely make an exception for this!

  5. I'm guessing you could try this with other drinks - so, orange, pink or green bubbles? Or all of the above?
    Drinks were never before so interesting... Sounds like so much fun!


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