Joshua Ivanovic of JungleBird, Kuala Lumpur shares his recipe for his Pina Colada in a pod for the ultimate garnish. By Holly Graham.

On a recent trip to rum den JungleBird in Kuala Lumpur, I shared the many cocktails I had on Instagram, but one seemed to really pique the attention of bar industry professionals – the white sphere atop a clarified Pina Colada. Lots of bartenders asked what it was, so Joshua has kindly shared his method and recipe.

“Spherification is one of those techniques you learn when you first dabble with molecular mixology, except I never really dabbled with molecular mixology until this,” says Joshua. “We had the idea for the clarified sparkling Pina Colada when writing our current menu to coincide with the relocation of JungleBird back in October 2020, which is a long time to keep the same menu,” says Joshua, going onto explain that half of that time the bar was shut due to COVID, and half of the time borders have been closed so out-of-towners are only just trying the drinks. 

The entire Rummin’ Round the World menu is a collection of classic cocktails native to key rum producing nations, either lesser known such as the Haitian creams or the iconic Pina Colada from Puerto Rico. Each serve has been re-designed to reflect the more modern look and feel of the new space, while staying true to the classic recipe in terms of flavour profiles. “The purpose of the sphere is to do just that,” explains Joshua. “A not-so-subtle nod to the creamy liquid you would expect from a Colada, wrapped up tidily in a bite sized, thin jelly-skinned pop of pineapple and coconut.” The sphere is served on a mini wooden spoon to make sure the aforementioned pop doesn’t arrive prematurely inside the crystal clear Pina Colada the team spent the last two days clarifying.

Pina Colada sphere recipe:
50ml Plantation Pineapple rum
150ml Coconut cream
15 drops Citric/malic acid solution
60ml Pineapple juice
5g Sodium alginate
7g Calcium lactate
1L Water

Blend sodium alginate and water. Pour into a plastic container, cover and chill for one hour. Blend the other ingredients and pour into a plastic gastro sauce bottle. Chill for one hour then fill 15ml half sphere silicone molds. Freeze for three hours then using a bar spoon, gently scoop from the molds and place in the sodium alginate water solution, turning each sphere for 20-30 seconds until evenly coated. Finally transfer to a clean water bath and store chilled. Consume within three days.