The X(mas) Files- Candy Cane Vodka

Spoiler alert!!!! Friends and family are warned that what you read in this section may well end up under your tree so if you don’t like to know what’s coming, come back here in January. 

xmas pudLike so many various sweet shop themed shots, I read about candy cane vodka on the interweb quite a bit this year while researching some potential new additions to the Christmas gifting. I’ve always had a soft spot for candy canes or as we here in the Isles of Britian call it- rock. I used to love Easter holidays when I was a kid and we would end up in Norfolk or Cornwall or somewhere equally close and seasonally rainy and visits to various tourist trap visitor centres always had an inevitable end- the gift shop! And in the gift shop oh, dozens of tubs of weirdly coloured twisted sticks of exotically flavoured stretched boiled sugar. Rock. Or candy canes. I loved them. My brother and I used to spin them quickly in our curled tongues to see who could hone the most impressive point. You don’t ever, ever crunch your rock, it would all be over too quickly! Unless it’s your traditional Blackpool rock with softer rocky innards which can only be chomped as it will not give you any kind of sculpting pleasure. Trust me on that.
But besides the obvious sugar reward, there is a certain romanticism about the traditional candy cane. Pink and white and curled at the top like a walking stick- all the better to hang from the Christmas tree or poke from the top of the stocking in a perfect tease of sweets to come. It’s just, nice I suppose. Innocent and child like somehow. Though whoever first put them into a bottle of Smirnoff must have had other memories.

The Dark Side and the Candy Cane brews, almost ready for a mid winter tasting.
The Dark Side and the Candy Cane brews, almost ready for a mid winter tasting.

So far my candy cane brew is going well and a sneak taste last week showed that this particular beam of moonshine is a lot stronger than my Dark Side efforts. As in, politely try to disguise a raw booze cough strong. As in, this Listerine tastes a bit strange strong. Yowzers. The first batch is indeed remisiscent of an oddly enticing mouthwash. Not that I’m calling it a failure, we’re simply adding more candy canes as I’m confident that once I can smother that rough Russian finish with some more sugary overtones, this stuff will be knock out (and not just in a drunken collapse fashion). It also looks absolutely incredible, a startling bright baby pink, again giving the initial sense of fun and innocence, only to deliver a thick, warming and oh so grown up punch. I intend for it to put a bit of pretty pep into a Martini, or even be enjoyed over ice by the fire before bed. Right before bed. You wont be walking the dog or staying up opening presents very long on this one.

Candy Cane Vodka

Makes 500ml
70cl bottle of Vodka
30 mini or 20 normal sized peppermint candy canes
A kilner jar or similar for brewing
Presentation bottles


It’s pretty simple really, get your (very very clean and sterile) mixing jar and put in the candy canes, slightly broken up. You must have only pink and white candy canes- if you get the ones with a green stripe you’ll get a sludgy coloured result nowhere near as appetising as the fluffy pink hangover juice you want. Fill up the jar with vodka, seal and leave. In fact the candy canes dissolve so well you can do this straight in your presentation bottle if you wish as it shouldn’t need straining, just be warned this can be tricky if like me you decide you need to add more sweets to counteract the fire breathing finish. As with the Limoncello and Dark Side home infusions- pleeeeease use halfway decent vodka. Russian Standard or Smirnoff at least. The canes should only take a day or two to dissolve completely, give the container a gentle shake once in a while to help it along. Also give it a good shake before serving as the white sugar component can settle a bit, giving you a gluey looking layer at the bottom of the bottle which is harmless, but doesn’t look great.

That’s it, bottle it up, chuck on some curled ribbon and you’re done. Merry Christmas!


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