You can purchase tapioca pearls in various sizes and colors at an Asian market. They also have some that are filled with different flavors. The ones below were different colors (although did not look exactly like the picture on the bag), but tasted like nothing, really. I was told by the lady working at the market though, that you can purchase tapioca pearls with flavorings added. The kids weren't too wild about the flavorless ones, so we'll probably try the flavored next time.
The bag says to boil until soft and then let sit for 5 minutes. I boiled them for around 15 minutes and then let them sit covered for 5. In the meantime, make a simple syrup - 1:1 ratio sugar to water and heat to dissolve. After the tapioca pearls are soft, drain and rinse in cold water. Drop them in the sugar water solution (cooled).
For the smoothie, we used a mango, orange, guava juice from a carton and blended it with some crushed ice and about 1/4 cup milk per glass. Add a couple of spoonfuls of tapioca pearls with a little of the sugar water, then pour the smoothie mixture over them.
* Other ideas for tapioca bubble drinks -
- black tea or coffee with creamer and ice blended (traditional version)
- juice with carbonated flavored waters (pineapple juice with lemon or lime?)
- champagne with flavored simple syrup (champagne with some marachino cherry juice) I would think the carbonation would make the tapioca pearls bounce up and down in the drink which would be fun.