Chef Sin has always loved candy corn. Yours truly (Chef Zuz), not so much.
It’s an ancient autumn tradition that truly divides Ghoul Nation. For some, it just wouldn’t be Halloween without handfuls of the tri-colored treats. In this camp, you can probably count celebrity nerd-chef Alton Brown; anyone who has gone to the trouble of developing a recipe for homemade candy corn must be a true connoisseur.
On the other side, see Eric Grundhauser, a head writer and editor at Atlas Obscura, who in an article this week for Slate.com described candy corn as “the consolation prize of confections” and, more to the point, “a cloying kernel of evil.”
Like Peeps at Easter and fruitcakes at Christmas, candy corn seems to offer little in the way of common ground for its adherents and detractors. (Dramatic pause.) Until now.
Thanks to food writer Amanda Marsteller, there’s now a version of candy corn that might appeal even to those who’d rather eat candle wax: the Candy Corn Cocktail.
Our version, below, makes a smaller batch (how many of these things are you really going to consume?) and extends the candy corn vodka infusion time to overnight, rather than just a few hours. It also omits the crushed candy corn on the rim of the glass, which is, frankly, stupid.
The result is a brilliant neon cocktail that’s not nearly as sweet as you’d expect. Amanda suggests that you use cheap vodka; I certainly concur. But Chef Sin warns that you mustn’t scrimp on the candy corn. She eats only Brach’s brand; accept no lesser pretenders. Eschew all but the traditional variety; candy corn now comes in caramel apple, candy cane, mellocreme, and smores flavors, which are probably as bad as they sound.
Also, says Chef Sin, make sure the bag of candy corn you’re buying isn’t left over from years (or decades) past. Surreptitiously squeeze some of the kernels through the bag; they should be firm but give under pressure. If they’re as hard as a pebble, go to another store. Or use them as an ingredient in your Christmas fruitcake.
Kernel Panic Cocktail
12 oz inexpensive vodka
1/2 cup candy corn
Pour vodka and candy corn into airtight container. Shake and let sit overnight to infuse. Strain, rebottle, and chill.
2 oz Candy corn-infused vodka
.75 oz Orange liqueur
.5 oz Lime juice
Add ingredients to cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake until chilled and strain into martini glass.