It’s time again for childhood and adulthood to collide in a most delicious way with Jolly Rancher Vodka! You make this delicious drink by infusing vodka with Jolly Rancher candies, much the same way we make Skittles Vodka or Starburst Vodka.
And Jolly Rancher Vodka is much easier to make than those others, and the results are fabulous. It’s tasty and gorgeous to look at.
You can whip up batches of five Jolly Ranchers Vodka flavors in only twelve to fourteen hours. It takes very little work on your part, so they make wonderful, affordable, memorable gifts, too. And we’ve got more ideas for cocktail gifts here, too.
Jolly Rancher Vodka
You will need:
Time to complete: 12-14 hours. That’s about 20-30 minutes of prep. The rest of the time, you’re just waiting for the infusion to finish. You’ll need:
- A full liter of vodka. 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 smooth. Absolut and Svedka are great choices we’ve used several times. And you can use the leftover vodka to make Vodka Gummy Bears.
- Jolly Ranchers. You need 12 Jolly ranchers in each flavor you want to infuse (that’s 60 Jolly ranchers altogether). This 48 ounce bag will have more than enough.
- Five flasks to pour it in. You can buy these gorgeous 8.5 ounce Bormioli Rocco flasks from Amazon that you see in most of the pictures on this page.
- A funnel (we used these from OXO) to help you pour the vodka into the narrow necks on the flasks.
- Optional: a plastic sheet or newspaper to cover your counter, because little bits of Jolly Rancher candy fall out of the wrappers and stick to everything.
Step 1: Sort the Jolly Ranchers
Separate your Jolly Ranchers by color/flavor.
That’s grape, green apple and watermelon at the top with cherry and blue raspberry in front. As you can see, you don’t necessarily get equal numbers of every flavor in an assortment bag.
This bag had more of the grape than any other flavor, and less of blue raspberry. But even with the blue raspberry, there was 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 Jolly Rancher Vodka 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.
Step 3: Pour the vodka
Next, 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.
As you can see, they start taking on the color of the vodka immediately, as it starts breaking down the candies.
There’s no need to shake them. 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.
I’ve also tried it with shaking, and it took the same amount of time. You can shake if you want to, but it doesn’t make any difference.
Your almost finished product will look like this, if you have these flasks:
It was a pleasant surprise to see how different the colors of the watermelon and cherry came out. The candies look almost the same shade of red. But with the infused vodka, they look nothing alike.
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 drinking or mixing into cocktails.
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 hits you with its characteristic flavorless burn. You can definitely drink these straight up as flavored martinis or shooters, and they’re a lot of fun.
But you can also mix them into cocktails – more on that in a minute.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long will this keep? We don’t know a scientific way to test that, and we’re not qualified anyway. But we’ve stored them as long as 25 days in the fridge, and there was no change in taste or color and they didn’t make anybody sick.
So we would suggest making them two weeks in advance or less, just to be safe.
Can I make these with rum? You sure can! Rum will add a little of its own flavor, more than vodka does. But rum and candy is a good combination, so it’s nice.
If you want to test first, put a Jolly Rancher in your mouth and then take a drink of rum. If that combination tastes good to you, so will the infusion.
You could also mix them into some cocktails:
- Make a Raspberry Kamikaze with Blue Raspberry Jolly Rancher 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 really good.
- Replace the vodka in a Tokyo Iced Tea with Apple Jolly Rancher Vodka. It’ll go nicely with the Midori.
- 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 Rancher Vodka. It makes for a chocolate covered cherry sort of flavor.
- Make a Love Bite with Cherry Jolly Rancher Vodka in place of cherry liqueur. But note that the Jolly Rancher vodka will float on top of the other layers instead of at the bottom.
- Make a Laffy Taffy, but with Watermelon, Apple and Raspberry Jolly Rancher 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 Sweetened 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.