Say hello to one of the easiest and quickest vodka infusions ever: Candy Cane Vodka. It works a lot like the Jolly Rancher infusion, and has none of the fuss or muss of Skittles Vodka. And it only takes a few hours.
Candy Cane Vodka tastes like sweetened mint. It’s a light, clean, bracing mint, but not overpowering – way more interesting than I expected, too. And the translucent red color is just gorgeous.
Candy Cane Vodka Infusion
If you can’t get candy canes except at Christmas time, just get those little Starlight mints instead. And you can put it all into flasks or jars. (You can order these gorgeous Bormioli Rocco flasks from Amazon – I’ve had my set for nearly a decade, and they’re great. You can also get my little Mason Jar shot glasses at Amazon.)
How much of each depends on how much you’re making. I made an 8 ounce batch using 10 “mini” candy canes, so that’s about 1.25 candy canes per ounce. So if you were going to infuse a liter bottle, you’d use 42-43 canes. A 1.75 liter bottle would take about 74 canes. But don’t stress the math – you can always add more candy cane or vodka after you’ve tasted it.
And since candy canes come in so many different sizes and shapes, the “mini” ones I used were a little over 2 inches long, with a crook, like this:
Step 1: Crush your candy canes
At the risk of sounding like a very popular app game, ahem, the first step is to crush those candy canes. The more you break them up, the quicker they will infuse into the vodka. I just put my candy canes in a Ziploc bag and then rolled something heavy over them. You could use a rolling pin, but my big bottle of Svedka was handy, so that’s what I used.
Now, after some rolling, I also used the bottom of my bottle to stamp on it. Wriggle it around and really get ’em crushed up good.
Step 2: Put the vodka and candy together
Put the candy canes into whatever flask or bottle you’re using. Because you won’t need to strain this after it’s done, you can go right ahead and make it up in a presentation flask if you’re making a gift, or whatever final container you plan on serving it from. Pour the vodka over them until you fill the flask or bottle.
I always get asked what kinds of containers you can use for this. The answer is: definitely anything made of glass! Mason jar, an old mayonnaise jar you’ve cleaned thoroughly, whatever. Some people say using plastic is fine, but others say it can taint the flavor of the vodka. I’ve always just used glass because I know it works and I always have glass containers around.
Step 3: Shake the infusion
Close the lid well on your container of vodka and crushed candy canes, and give it a good, thorough shake. It will immediately turn pink, and the candy cane pieces will start to break down.
Shake it another couple hours later, and another couple after that. Mine was actually done infusing inside 5 hours, but it may take more or less time if you use a different brand of candy canes or vodka than I did. (I used Svedka for the vodka, and can’t remember what brand the candy canes were, sorry.)
Within a few hours, you get this lovely red drink you can enjoy straight or as a mixer.
Try it in any cocktail that calls for creme de menthe or peppermint schnapps. The only thing to think twice about is whether red will look good in that cocktail.
- Chocolate Peppermint Stick – designed to taste like a candy cane with chocolate, substituting Candy Cane Vodka for the peppermint schnapps makes it even closer to the real thing
- Misty Mint – a super simple rum-based cocktail that’s easy to pour at parties
- Make a stronger Grasshopper that’s red instead of green, by substituting Candy Cane Vodka for the creme de menthe
- Godiva Polar Bear – Godiva chocolate liqueur combined with Candy Cane Vodka instead of peppermint schnapps
- Junior Mint – tastes just like the candy it’s named for