A few years back, Ars Nova, New York’s premier hub for emerging artists and new work, asked us to come up with a cocktail for their Winter Holiday party. The theme: Candy Land. Remember Candy Land, the colorful board game we played as preschoolers? Of course you don’t, you’ve had too much to drink since then. But reach back, far back into the folds and synapses of yesteryear, and you might just remember marching your gingerbread pawns around the board, picking up sweet treats along the way while aiming for the final destination, the Candy Castle. The real goal of the game was to help children learn their colors. That took about two seconds. All the game really did teach us was to crave a bowl of M&M’s with a Pixy Stix chaser.
So we created a cocktail that tastes like candy canes—high-octane candy canes—and dubbed it “Hard Candy,” the “hard” of course referring to the amount and proof of the spirits involved. It’s definitely a sipper, and we do recommend only one, but if you must have two, make sure you’ve played Candy Land with the kids in your life before venturing onto a second.
2 ounces Jack Daniels
1 ounce white crème de cacao
1/2 ounce peppermint schnapps
mini candy cane, as garnish
Stir in a mixing glass half-filled with ice for 30 seconds. Strain into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice (or up, if you dare). Garnish with a mini candy cane or other peppermint candy.
photo by Steve Schul