Top 9 alcoholic sweet treats
The line between hard liquor and sweet candy may be a hard one to tread, but that hasn’t stopped an array of alcohol-infused sweet treats from hitting the shelves.
Last week Nestlé Japan launched a sake-infused Kit Kat, which carries an ABV of 0.8%. Flavoured with sake powder, Nestlé hopes the alcoholic white chocolate wafers will prove popular with tourists, building upon the success of its green tea variant. While last year wine app Vivino launched a “Halloween survival guide for adults” advising user of the best wines to pair with their favourite candy. Recommendations include pairing a dessert wine, such as Port or Sherry, with a Toostie Roll, and a Snickers or Reeses with a “bold red”, such as a Cabernet Sauvignon, Monastrell or Aglianico.
Such innovations might appear to be a frivolous off-shoot to the more serious business of wine and food pairings. However many are capitalising on demand, lacing any sugar-filled treat with a dose of alcohol. Earlier this year upmarket purveyors of alcoholic sweets Smith and Sinclair hosted its first pop-up in Carnaby Street, while Ben & Jerrys tapped into the craft beer bonanza by launching a salted caramel brown-ie ale ice cream.
Here we round up a few of our favourite alcohol and sweet treat partnerships – sweet toothed readers beware…
Lollies and lollipops
The latest kid on the alcoholic lollypop block is LIC lollies, which launched its adults-only 10% ABV Pina Colada and Mojito ice lollies last summer. Founded by childhood pals Harry Stimpson and Noah Geeves, each lolly is the equivalent to a glass of wine. Inspiration struck thanks to Harry’s mother, who once found herself craving a frozen Pina Colada while sunbathing on a beach in Miami. Their formula, developed with professors at Nottingham University, allows the freezing of alcohol and its relatively high alcohol content.
The title of “world’s first Champagne ice lolly” meanwhile goes to Bolly Lollies, having launched their somewhat pricy ice pops (£5), made up of 37% Champagne, in 2014. Each pop equates to half a unit of alcohol and has just 100 calories, despite their boozy base. Elsewhere Hampshire-based wine producer Jenkyn Place launched what is believed to be the first sorbet made with English sparkling wine in collaboration with Cream and Country Ice Cream using its brut non-vintage.
Last year ice cream maker Ben and Jerry’s announced a partnership with craft brewer New Belgium to release a Salted Caramel Brownie Ale. The limited edition ice cream is made with New Belgium Brown Ale-flavoured ice cream with salted caramel and fudge brownies. It is the second time that the two companies have collaborated, following New Belgium’s announcement in April that they would be creating a salted caramel brownie brown ale with the ice cream brand. A “pour over” method was advised so that one can enjoy both products together, with the sweetness and the salitness of the ice cream and salted caramel are matched by the dryness of the ale.
Others to get in on the alcoholic ice cream act include US-based Mercer’s, which specilaises in “wine ice cream”, with flavours including Red Raspberry Chardonnay, Peach White Zinfandel, Chocolate Cabernet and Cherry Merlot. Meanwhile Buzz Bar ice cream bars contain between 05.% and 2.81% ABV, with flavours including Irish Cream, Bourbon and Chocolate, and Strawberry and Rum.
For many a glass of wine and a box of chocolates is the ultimate weekend indulgence, so a combination of the two seems wholly appropriate. Trendy chocolate shop Hotel Chocolat offers a host of booze-inspired truffles, from classic Champagne and dark rum to Amaretto almond sultanas coated in milk chocolate.
However while spirits-based chocolates and liqueurs have long been common, wine-flavoured chocolates have been less so. One company taking on the challenge is New York-based 2 Chicks with Chocolate, run by a mother and daughter duo. They offer a 12-piece “Wine BonBon” chocolate collection continuing flavours of Blend Wine Caramel, Tempranillo Ganache, Spicy Merlot and Cabernet Caramels. The company’s Spicy Merlot Bon Bon is filled with chocolate ganache, infused with Merlot, cinnamon and orange and finished with a touch of black peppercorn.
It seems no food stuff can escape the all-consuming power of Prosecco. First Marks & Spencer launched its terribly middle class Winter Berry and Prosecco flavoured crisps, “with fizz and sparkle” thanks to a dusting of edible pink glitter, and then came Tesco’s Prosecco and Elderberry flavoured crisps. Now we have Prosecco gummy bears, taking a childhood treat and giving it a decidedly adult twist.
Available on Firebox the 250g jar of Prosecco flavoured gummy bears is unfortunately completely alcohol free, but would make the perfect garnish to a “Bearllini cocktail”, apparently.
Sweet liqueurs are a staple of any cocktail cupboard, but some are more unusual than others.
Most will remember Kendall mint cake as the must-have survival ration, if you happened to do a lot of hiking. It was actually carried by Sir Edmund Hillary and his team on their ascent to the summit of Mount Everest in 1953. An energy-laden bar of minted sugar, Kendal mint cake was the original energy bar, before caffeinated energy drinks became popular. Now the old-school snack has had a makeover, used as the base of a 24% ABV liqueur.
The liqueur was devised by Mike Pennington, owner of Burgundy’s Wine Bar & Brewhouse in Kendal, Cumbria, in 1990. He has been selling it locally ever since but due to growing demand, decided to set up a company to distribute the peppermint flavoured booze worldwide, under the Kendal Mint Cake Liqueur name. The liqueur has a distinctive green colour and contains mint, cacao and “secret ingredients”.
Just when you think every popular snack has been rehashed and re-imagined through alcoholic goggles, along comes Joe & Sephs.
The artisan popcorn makers are known for their wacky flavour creations, which include strawberry cheesecake, peanut butter and gingerbread. However the company now boasts a range of alcoholic cocktail-inspired popcorn pouches. Based on the classic cocktails of gin & tonic, mojito, margarita and cosmopolitan, Joe and Seph’s cocktail-flavoured caramel popcorn is infused with real spirits and carries an abv strength of 5%.
Using an innovative “flavour-sequencing” technique, its creators have said prospective tasters will experience different taste elements one after the other from citrus and juniper notes of the Gin, lime and garden mint for its mojito, and smooth caramel infused with lime oil and salt for its “zingy” margarita.
Not content with its millions of flavours, the US candy company Jelly Belly claims responsibility for the world’s first beer-flavoured jelly bean. Its Hefeweizen-inspired ale-flavoured “draft beer Jelly Belly” was launched after three years of experimentation, but doesn’t actually contain any alcohol.
According to Jelly Belly, the candy bean has an “effervescent and crisp flavour” with an “iridescent finish”, “notes of wheat and a touch of sweetness” and an aroma that is “mildly bready.”
The company first stepped into the jelly bean drinks market in 1977 with the creation of their Mai Tai bean. Since then they have created the Blackberry Brandy, Strawberry Daiquiri, Piña Colada, Margarita and Mojito.
Smith and Sinclair are practically pioneers in the art of alcohol-sweet infusions. The company’s alcohol-infused pastilles are now produced in co-operation with 32 different alcohol brands, including Langley’s Gin, Sipsmith and Beluga Vodka, and are already stocked in Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges. Its core range of sweets is based around cocktail flavours and includes a berry daiquiri, a spiced rum, a whisky sour, a spring clean, a rhuby mule, a long island high tea, a gin elderflower and thyme and a whisky and amaretto.
Late last year the company expanded beyond its trademark boozy pastilles to host Eat Your Drink, a pop-up shop in London featuring alcoholic candy floss, cocktail dib dabs, alongside a programme alcoholic sweet-treat themed panel discussions and workshops. Introduced as an “immersive experience” that would take “elements of elegant cocktails and combine them with playful confectionery to introduce the world’s first Immersive Edible Alcohol Shop”, Smith and Sinclair promised a “multi-sensory experience”, giving customers the chance to “smell, eat, touch or catch your cocktail”.
Boozy baked goods – the next step in pastry perfection?
Last year Soho coffee house and doughnut bar Crosstown launched a limited edition doughnut laced with Jura whisky. Crosstown has partnered with Scotch single malt distillery Jura to create the bespoke doughnut, which is designed to mirror the whisky’s smoky flavours. The result? A sweet treat with a whisky cream filling and whisky glaze topped with a crumble of whisky-infused Scottish shortbread.
Backing up the trend, a Filipino restaurant in New York recently launched a gold-encrusted doughnut infused with Cristal Champagne, speckled with 24-carat gold flakes at $100 a pastry.