There are two candies I could never get behind: Licorice in any form (you ain’t foolin’ me, Good & Plenty), and Candy Corn. I don’t know why but the flavour of licorice makes me recoil and candy corn…it’s just blandly sweet to me!
But I’m a trooper and I like experimenting with interesting creations, so I decided to give these two another chance…in cocktail form. BONUS: They are super easy to make, so not crazy weird ingredients here!
The first cocktail I took a crack at was the one flavoured with licorice. I grabbed licorice Twizzlers at the store and took them home. I decided to infuse vodka with them, so grabbed my absolute favourite bottle of the season, the Potion Elixir bottle from CB2 (made in Italy!!) which can hold just over 3 oz, or with 2 large Twizzlers cut up and placed inside, with vodka poured over, 2 ounces of liquid - PERFECT for a cocktail!
And the bottle is perfect for Halloween, too, because it looks like a magic potion!
After allowing the licorice to steep for a day in the bottle, I was able to easily pour out the contents into a shaker when I was ready to shake. Here’s the recipe:
The Black Widow
2 oz. licorice-infused vodka (going booze free? Follow the asterisk** below)
1 oz. cherry juice
1/2 oz. 100% cranberry juice
1/4 - 1/2 oz (to taste) Demerara simple syrup
A squeeze of fresh lime juice
1 - 2 drops of Clove Bitters (for aromatics)
Shake above everything but the Clove Bitters) vigorously with ice, and strain into a glass. Mine came out quite dark, but if you want yours to be more black, add some black food-grade dye. Dot with the Clove Bitters. I garnished mine with an orange round piped with a chocolate Jack O’ Lantern pumpkin face using these pens!
The result is something rich, only slightly licorice-y, and surprisingly refreshing! I think the Clove adds a little depth on the nose!
**You can infuse the licorice Twizzlers into the juice itself. Just place the two juices + licorice into a saucepan on high heat, bring to a rolling boil, then turn the heat off, and let sit for 5 minutes.
But the fun didn’t stop there, because I had candy corn staring me down. I took a nibble of one and bleeech, so cloyingly sweet with such little flavour. I do like the buttery mouthfeel they have, so I decided to play with that, using dry ingredients to offset the sweetness. Here’s the recipe:
2 oz. Dry Gin (nothing too botanical, so no Bombay Sapphire here!)
1/2 oz (to taste) Candy Corn Simple Syrup (easy to make: slowly melt 6 pieces of candy corn with 2 Tbsp of water in the microwave).
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Dry Bubbly (think cheap Champagne) to top
Shake all but the Champagne with ice, vigorously, for 12 seconds. If you find that your cocktail is too syrupy, no worries, as you will be topping with Bubbly). Strain into a glass lined with licorice (it keeps it’s shape and can easily line most glasses) and a square ice cube. Fill with bubbly and top the ice with a few candy corn.
The resulting cocktail has a brightness from the gin and lemon, but is nicely contoured with the candy corn. The bubbles make for an extra kick, and I served it in a metal cup to keep super cold!
And that’s it! Keeping it simple, because between the Trick-or-Treaters and the scary treats you’re baking, and the decorations, the costumes…lawdy, you just need a simple cocktail.