At minibar, a six-seat restaurant within the Café Atlántico in Washington, D.C., many menu items sound familiar: Philly cheese steak, conch fritters, corn on the cob, and mojitos. But the mojito doesn't come in a glass. It is served as a bite-sized sphere on a spoon. Calcium chloride is mixed with the traditional rum, lime, mint, and sugar. A dollop of this concoction is dropped into a bath of water and sodium alginate, a gum extracted from algae—which encloses the orb of flavor in a membrane. After a minute, it is rinsed with water to stop the gelling, transferred to a canister, then charged with carbon dioxide. A few hours later, the sphere is slightly carbonated, built to flood the taste buds in a fizzing burst of flavor.
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