Slideshow: Mike Yen's Modernist Bloody Mary at Ave 5 in San Diego

Reverse Spherification Station
Reverse Spherification Station
Glasses full of a sodium alginate solution sit on the bar, ready for the bloody mary. The chemical reaction between the sodium alginate and the cocktail (which contains calcium lactate) causes the surface of each cocktail to gel while the center remains liquid.
Bloody Mary in a Bottle
Bloody Mary in a Bottle
The squeeze bottle contains a Bloody Mary made with heirloom tomatoes, garlic, black pepper, horseradish, mustard, salt, Ketel One vodka and calcium lactate powder.
Shrimp in the Middle
Shrimp in the Middle
A small piece of grilled shrimp is placed into the Bloody Mary mix.
Take A Dip
Take A Dip
The finished shot is carefully submerged into the sodium alginate bath, where it immediately begins to take on a spherical shape.
10 Minute Intermission
10 Minute Intermission
The gelling process takes about 10 minutes.
Little Tomatoes
Little Tomatoes
The finished bloody mary spheres are topped with a stem and greens made from a mix of juiced celery, salt, and gelatin (in custom-made silicone molds).

The chemical reaction between the sodium alginate and calcium lactate forms a thin shell of gelatin around the outside of the shot, making it look solid, but once your teeth make contact with it, the thin, gelatinous "skin" breaks, releasing a flood of spicy, boozy, heirloom tomato juice. It's almost exactly like biting into a cherry tomato (with a tasty grilled shrimp inside.)