Cocktail Party

The Ballzooka

March  8, 2023
1 Ratings
Photo by Food52
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Serves 1
Author Notes

Some of my fondest childhood memories involve Nerf guns. Despite the irony—I have a pacifist disposition (I’ve never been in a physical fight) and am disgusted by our country’s lack of gun control—my friends and I spent many a blissful sleepover party engaging in elaborate indoor and outdoor Nerf wars. So much so that I recreated the experience for my 40th birthday last year in the Catskills.

Growing up in the '90s, my favorite of Nerf equipment was the Ballzooka: a multi-chambered device that pumped out up to 15 neon yellow-green balls in rapid succession. The foam Ballzooka balls are no longer being made, making them a precious (and expensive) commodity on Ebay, so I needed an alternative. Instead of overpaying for 30-year-old toys, why not concoct a drink—lifted from my book, Saved by the Bellini—that fills you with the same joy and frivolity that you felt way back when you could lob foam darts at your friends with reckless abandon?

The key to this drink is the Midori-infused tapioca pearls. In order to get the right chewy consistency, you'll want to be faithful to the instructions on the package. But the key difference is, instead of cold water, you use Midori. Tapioca pearls most commonly come in a black or dark brown shade, but green ones are not hard to find online. That said, the drink will taste just fine with the darker variety.

Although this drink heavily leverages childhood nostalgia, it is certainly not for kids, given that it is primarily based on an overproof Jamaican rum like Wray and Nephew. Also, watch out for the caffeine content in Mountain Dew. You’re only using two ounces, but those sensitive to the combination of alcohol and caffeine (like me!) might want to limit their intake. —John deBary

What You'll Need
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The Ballzooka
  • 1/3 cup packaged green tea tapioca pearls
  • 1/2 cup Midori
  • 1 1/2 ounces overproof Jamaican rum
  • 3/4 ounce blue curaçao
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 ounces Mountain Dew
  1. Make the tapioca pearls: Prepare tapioca pearls according to the package directions, but instead of cooling them in water, use Midori. Let the pearls absorb the liqueur for 15 to 20 minutes until green-yellow in color.
  2. Place the soaked tapioca pearls in the bottom of an old fashioned glass, then fill with ice. In a shaker, combine the rum, curaçao, and lime juice. Add ice and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Strain into the prepared glass and then top with Mountain Dew. Serve with a bubble tea straw.

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