Heston Blumenthal fans may have noticed he made some rather dinky little cocktail balls in a recent episode of Heston’s Feasts. Juliet Lawrence Wilson has been hard at work in the Gintime Laboratory and worked out some step-by-step instructions for you to try this at home. The good news is that it’s far easier than you might think!
Gintime Cocktail Balls
- A pipette or a turkey baster to make the droplets
- A fine sieve
- Bowls and spoons
- A plastic freezer-proof container
- Vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons jelly flakes
- 150 ml base liquid (fruit juice or tonic water)
- 50 ml alcohol (naturally we are using gin!)
Pour about 200ml of vegetable oil into the freezer proof container and place in the freezer for 30-40 mins. Meanwhile make the jelly. Place the base liquid you are using in a small pan and sprinkle the gelatine flakes on the top. Heat slowly without stirring then simmer for 3-5 mins until the flakes have dissolved. Remove from the heat and add the gin. Allow to cool slightly.
Remove the oil from the freezer and immediately start dripping the liquid jelly into the cold oil. The oil will set the jelly immediately into lovely round balls. After about 20 droplets, remove the jelly balls from the oil with a spoon and place in a sieve. Give them a good rinse under the cold water tap and the oil will come away from. Repeat the process until you have enough balls. You may need to refreeze the oil and gently heat the jelly mixture so that it becomes liquid again. If you are making a large batch it is a good idea to have several containers of oil in the freezer so you can work quickly and bring out a new one when the previous one has warmed up too much. Place the balls in a container and refrigerate until needed. They will last for a day in the fridge so you can make them in advance.
I used traditional Japanese Agar flakes in this recipe but you could also use gelatine leaves if you prefer, simply follow the instructions to make the amount of jelly you need, using one part alcohol to three parts base liquid. Remember to only add the base liquid to the gelatine before you simmer it and add the remaining alcoholic liquid after heating, otherwise the alcohol will boil off and the cocktail balls will taste a bit bland.
Fantastic Flavour Combos
For the light pink balls in the Prosecco I used a mixture of rhubarb juice with gomme syrup and lemon for the base liquid and for the darker ones in the martini glass I used blackcurrant juice. Strawberry, cucumber and lemon juices would all work well with gin as the alcoholic kick! Go on, experiment…