Jolly Rancher Vodka Tutorial

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It’s time again for childhood and adulthood to collide in a most delicious way! You can infuse vodka with Jolly Rancher candies, much the same way we make Skittles Vodka. Actually, this process is much easier, and the results are fabulous: tasty and gorgeous to look at. You can whip up batches of five Jolly Ranchers Vodka flavors in only twelve to fourteen hours with minimal labor on your part, so they make wonderful, affordable, memorable gifts, too.

Jolly Ranchers Vodka

The Materials:

Jolly Ranchers Vodka

I bought more than I actually needed: a 1.75 liter bottle of vodka and a 3.75 pound bag of Jolly Ranchers. With this, I could easily have made two batches (that is, two flasks in each Jolly Ranchers flavor) and still have had a bit left.

Here’s what you actually need:

  • A regular 750 milliliter bottle of vodka. A liter of vodka (see comment here). You may have to buy a 1.75 liter bottle to get it. No need to spend much on the vodka – just choose one that goes down reasonably smoothly, for minimal interference with the intense Jolly Rancher flavor. I used Svedka, and it was very nice.
  • 12 Jolly ranchers in each flavor you want to infuse (that’s 60 Jolly ranchers all together). The 3.75 pound bag I bought had at least 40 of each flavor, so a couple of pounds of assorted Jolly Ranchers ought to do it.
  • Five flasks to pour it in. (You can get these at Amazon – they hold 8.5 ounces, which is a nice amount.)
  • Optional: a funnel to assist with pouring the vodka into the narrow necks on the flasks.
  • Optional: something like a plastic sheet or newspaper over your counter, because little bits of Jolly Rancher fall out of the wrappers and stick to everything.

Jolly Ranchers Vodka

Related: Starburst Vodka Tutorial

Step 1: Sort the Jolly Ranchers

Separate your Jolly Ranchers by color/flavor.

Jolly Ranchers VodkaThat’s watermelon, apple and cherry in front, with grape and blue raspberry in the back. As you can see, you don’t necessarily get equal numbers of every flavor in an assortment bag. I got more of the grape than any other flavor, and less of blue raspberry. But even with the blue raspberry, I had more than enough to do the whole experiment twice.

Step 2: Put Jolly Ranchers in flasks

Put twelve Jolly Ranchers of each flavor into each flask. Yes, you can put them directly into the flask instead of into a mixing container. The reason? Because you’re not going to have to skim anything out of it, like you do with waxy candies like Skittles. Every bit of the Jolly Ranchers – which are mostly corn syrup, sugar, flavorings and colors – belongs in the final product here. And that’s why this process is so much easier than a lot of candy infusions.

Once you’re done, you should have five flasks with beautiful colored candies in the bottom.

Jolly Ranchers Vodka

Step 3: Pour the vodka

Next up, you pour the vodka into the flasks over the candies. Stick a funnel (optional) into the neck of each flask, and pour your vodka down it. I filled mine to the top of the neck.

Jolly Ranchers Vodka

As you can see, they start taking on the color of the vodka immediately, as it begins breaking down the candies. There’s no need to shake them or anything – just let them sit for about eight to twelve hours, and all the candy will dissolve completely with no mess, and nothing stuck to the glass.

Related: Vodka Gummy Bears

Your almost finished product will look like this:

Jolly Ranchers Vodka

I had been worried that the watermelon and cherry would come out too close to the same color. But as the picture here shows, the cherry is a nice deep red and the watermelon comes out a lighter red – sort of a coral, or a cross between pink and orange. Even next to each other, they don’t look like the same color.

Step 4: Chill!

Put your flasks into the freezer and let them chill for a couple of hours. Now they’re really ready for use.

Chilled Jolly Ranchers Vodka

What you have in your flasks now is nearly pure vodka, so they’re very strong on the alcohol. The flavors are exactly what you’d expect: at first, you just taste the Jolly Ranchers in liquid form, exactly like the candies always tasted. Then the vodka kicks in with its characteristic flavorless burn. You can definitely drink these straight up as flavored martinis or shooters, and they’re a lot of fun.

Related: Salted Caramel Vodka Recipe

You could also mix them into some cocktails:

  • Make a Raspberry Kamikaze with Blue Raspberry Jolly Ranchers Vodka in place of the chambord. You’ll end up with a blue cocktail instead of a deep red one, but the taste is very similar and fantastic.
  • Replace the vodka in a Tokyo Iced Tea with Apple Jolly Ranchers Vodka. It’ll go nicely with the kiwi liqueur.
  • Try a Grape Russian Tea with Grape Jolly Ranchers Vodka instead of the grape schnapps.
  • Replace the grenadine in a German Cherry Bomb with Cherry Jolly Ranchers Vodka. It makes for a chocolate covered cherry sort of flavor.
  • Make a Love Bite with Cherry Jolly Ranchers Vodka in place of cherry liqueur, except on top of the other layers instead of at the bottom.
  • Make a Laffy Taffy, but with Watermelon, Apple and Raspberry Jolly Ranchers Vodka instead of the schnapps and DeKuypers the recipe calls for.
  • Mix any of the flavors with some mineral/soda water or 7-up or Sprite.
  • A touch of Rose’s Lime contrasts nicely with the Watermelon, Grape, Blue Raspberry or Cherry.
  • You can definitely serve these over ice or simply water them down a little if the straight vodka’s too strong, but you don’t want to dilute the flavor with another flavor.

Cheers!

Comments

  1. This process was simple and the colors are fantastic! I think different vodka will have a different effect on the candy because I used Smirnoff which was on sale and today (3 days later) there’s still a quarter inch of sticky candy at the bottom. When I turn the bottle upside down it drips like melting wax. Kind of a neat effect actually. I haven’t tasted it yet and I’m sure it tastes wonderful but for a nice clear fully dissolved vodka you might have to wait longer depending on what vodka you use. I wholeheartedly recommend this!

    • Genevieve says:

      Smirnoff is my vodka of choice because I’m gluten sensitive. I’ve noticed it too but I just shook the bottle a every few hours or so and all of it dissolved eventually, I think it just takes longer.

  2. If I were using a larger bottle – say, a 16-oz one – would you recommend that I double the number of Jolly Ranchers in each?

    Thanks for the great idea! These would make fabulous gifts.

    • So I made these in pint jars and i have to say it’s tasty with 15 jolley ranchers each. I’ve added more to the watermelon since the taste isn’t as strong we’ll see what happens if it’s awesome i may add more to the rest but the blue raspberry is a tad sour and the cherry does taste a little like cough medicine so i may leave those with 15 and use them as mixers in other drinks. (I also haven’t had a chance to chill them which i think will help A LOT so maybe i’ll do that before condemning them :p)

    • Ok sorry that i never came back, i was busy drinkin :) So definately stick with 12 – 15 each, i used 24 in the watermelon and it’s waaaaaaaaaaaaay to soury, sugary, and gross. Don’t use more than 15 unless you’re making more than a pint. (I’ve also decided since the watermelon is to sweet i’m gonna make groovy bears with it).

  3. Amazing idea, i never thought of doing this :)
    ^Kay I was wondering the same thing because all i could find were 1 pint (or 16oz) jars. I’m currently trying it with 15 jolley ranchers in each (i think that may be to few but i figured i’d rather add more than make it to sweet) just so you know making 5 pints will use almost all of the vodka leaving just enough for a celebration shot at the end :p I’ll let ya know tomorrow if it’s dern tasty or if more ranchers need to be added.

    • Can u use plastic water bottles instead of the flasks?

      • This question has come up before, and the answer is: we don’t know! The plastic could taint the flavor. If anyone’s tried it with plastic, they didn’t report back to say how it turned out.

        • Last summer I made skittles vodka and I made it in plastic water bottles and then transferred it to glass olive oil bottles and it didn’t change the flavor at all! The vodka and skittles were in the water bottle for about 15 hours all together.

  4. What is the candy/vodka ratio? I believe the starburst vodka is 2.5/3 candies per ounce of vodka…. Do you have any idea of the ratio for the Jolly Ranchers?

    • according to the tutorial it’s a ratio of 12/8.5 or about 1.4 candies per ounce. (i made a pint {16 ounces} of each and used 15 for each which is about 1 candy per ounce and it turned out pretty tasty.

  5. Just did this. Been about 2 hours and the vodka already tastes AMAZING! Curious about starbursts.

  6. I would like to make these as hostess gifts for the holidays. Do these have to stay refrigerated once we have put them in the freezer? Will the darker colors stain people’s lips?

    • Hi Anne,

      You don’t have to keep them refrigerated – they’re vodka, sugar and flavoring, so nothing’s going to spoil. I haven’t had the darker colors stain my lips or tongue. My guess is, even though maybe the original candy would have, it’s “watered down” by the vodka enough that it won’t do that. Have fun! :)

  7. I found you do need to give them a good shake every now and then, otherwise the sweets don’t infuse into all the alcohol and you get a cool layered effect. Doesn’t take much, just a quick shake or even just a simple turn upside down for a second after about 4 hours will do the trick, just to circulate the vodka.

    I did a timelapse of the dissolving process, but because I didn’t shake it, it didn’t look that good. Might have to have another go.

  8. Do I need to sterilize the bottles or anything?

    • I just washed them. Unless you have reason to think they’ve got some bad germs in them, I don’t think sterilizing is necessary.

  9. Does it leave a bad burn? We are making them this weekend? I just dont want a kick butt burn too bad.

    • It totally depends on what vodka you use. That’s why I say pick one that’s “drinkable” to you, that you can drink straight without too much burn. The candies soften the burn a little, but not much. Svedka worked well for me, but if it’s too much burn, try Three Olives or something like that.

  10. I’m in Australia and haven’t heard of Jolly Ranchers are they just hard boiled lollies? Is there any other lollies you could recommend using that I might be able to get in Australia? I did see your skittle one but this one seems much easier and less fuss.

    Cheers Dale

    • Hi Dale,

      Yes, they are just hard candies similar to a translucent lollipop. We don’t have another brand here that’s quite the same, but any sort of translucent hard candy will work, so just pick flavors you like and go for it!

  11. Eric Toombs says:

    The concentration of 12 jolly rancehrs per 8.5 US fluid ounces that was recommended by this post works out to 48 jolly ranchers per litre, for all the people out there who use sensible units of measurement.

    • Eric Toombs says:

      Note that the concentration I gave was for the final volume. I am doing the first bottle in a measuring container so I can figure out the average volume of a single jolly rancher and so I can see if the volume changes a bit as the jolly ranchers dissolve. I am expecting a small change.

      Incidentally, at 6.0 grams per jolly rancher (a 198g package contains 33 jolly ranchers), this works out to a mass concentration of 290 g/L. A different candy will weigh a different amount, so if you are using a different candy, this concentration should be a good guideline for both taste and for making sure all of it dissolves.

      • Eric Toombs says:

        After doing the first bottle in a measuring container, I found the volume of a single jolly rancher to be about 3.6 mL. This means to get a final concentration of 48 jolly ranchers per litre, you need 58 jolly ranchers per litre of vodka.

        Which concentration you use to calculate the right number of jolly ranchers to dissolve depends on which volume is known—the initial volume or the final volume. For example, in this tutorial, the jolly ranchers are put into 8.5 USfloz bottles, then the bottles are filled all the way up, so the final volume is known. Thus the 48 JR/L concentration was used to calculate the number of required jolly ranchers.

        But when I was mixing my batch, I had very big bottles, but a limited amount of vodka. So I divided the vodka evenly between the bottles. This meant I knew the initial volume, but not the final volume. So I used the ratio of 58 JR/L to calculate the number of jolly ranchers needed to get a final concentration of 48 JR/L.

        I hope that’s clear…

  12. My boyfriend and I did this for all our friends last Christmas and they were a huge hit.

  13. Do anybody know where can I get get those bottles they make the jolly rancher vodkas tutorial in

  14. jermyia says:

    Can you put them in the freezer right after you done putting in together?

    • Do you mean, before the candies have melted into it? I’m not sure if they’ll still melt – I haven’t tried that myself!

  15. Do you think this would work with rum? I really can’t do vodka 😝 .. Im assuming any clear liquor would work, but wondering if anyone has actually tried it.

  16. This looks absolutely delicious. I’ll by trying it soon and post the results!

  17. Can you use something besides the flask to put this in? I don’t have time to order and receive them

  18. Im making this right now with svedka. I wanted to know if there was a better vodka I can use it with and if I can use captain morgan as a white rum for next time.

    Also I have a question with measurement. Im using Mason jars and I put 12 jolly ranchers in the jar and filled up to the 8 oz line. I wanted to know if its supposed to be 8 or 8.5 oz. Im not sure if im supposed to measure the liquor or measure it with the jolly ranchers in it.

    • You can definitely use rum of any sort! I used Svedka because it was the cheapest vodka I thought was good enough to make this drinkable. You can definitely use a vodka you consider smoother or higher quality, and it’ll be even tastier.

      It doesn’t make any difference whether you use 8 or 8.5 ounces. Once it’s infused, if you think it needs more Jolly Ranchers, you can add them! And if you think it needs more vodka, you can add that (although you might have to put it in a different container to do that). This is a pretty casual “recipe”, and it’s all to taste.

  19. These are so bright and beautiful!

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