Last week it was Starburst candies steeping in a jar of vodka on the bar at Varsity Grill. This week, it will be sour apple Jolly Ranchers. The bartenders at Varsity Grill also have steeped vodka with Sour Patch kids, Skittles and Gummi Bears.Steep the candy in the vodka and it delivers a candy flavor that tastes “just like you’d think it would taste – like candy,” said Varsity Grill bartender Nick Weston. And bar patrons at Varsity Grill like the sweet vodka concoctions. The kitschy idea percolated from a martini club get together. The bar has an infuser and whatever candy sounds good is thrown in. “It doesn’t take long to make,” said Weston, “Just a few hours,” he said……
It’s not just candy that Weston has infused with vodka. “We have done fruit also. We’ve done pear; we’ve done blackberries; we’ve done peaches, nectarines; strawberries. We’ve kind of run the gamut on that. We’ve done as much local and fresh. We’d go to the farmers market and grab the freshest fruit we could at the time and steep it.”
How do they serve it? Mixed with soda water, usually. The candy turns the vodka sweet, so a sweet mixer just makes it too cloying. Weston also said that the vodka can be chilled and served as a martini or a shot.
To make it at home (would you really want to, though?), Weston gives this advice: Start with a large, clean glass container. Wrap up candy, or whatever you want to infuse the vodka with, tightly in clean cheesecloth. Place the cheesecloth in the bottle and pour in the vodka. Because the candy dissolves so quickly, it should take hours to infuse the flavor. For fruits and “real” food, it takes longer for the flavor to break down, so let that steep for a few days if you use something other than artificially flavored candy. Strain after its done infusing.
Chill the vodka and serve as a martini, or mix with soda water. At Varsity Grill this week, they’ll be serving the Jolly Rancher vodka as a sour apple martini, Weston said.
Varsity Grill Where: 1114 Broadway, TacomaInfo: 253-627-1229 or website here Happy hours: 3 p.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-FridaysEats: Varsity Grill has a happy hour food menu with $3, $4 and $5 options (pizza to garlic herb parmesan fries and quesadillas).