Sour Patch Drink Review & Adaptation

Sour Patch Kid inspired shooters and Mocktini. Sour Patch Virgin Shooters Front from left to right: Sunrise, Sour Grape, Sour Cherry, Sour Lime and at the back: Sour Patch Kid Mocktail.

Sour Patch Kid inspired shooters and Mocktini. Sour Patch Virgin Shooters Front from left to right: Sunrise, Sour Grape, Sour Cherry, Sour Lime and at the back: Sour Patch Kid Mocktail.

Previously I blogged about the dilemma with syrups when making shooters. Without an additional ingredient like juice, pop, milk or something the drink can be a little like that sugar tolerance test you take at a clinic – sickly sweet and not at all palatable. So I lay in bed wondering what can be done about this, and my science brain starts steaming. Citric acid as a Rimmer! Turns out I am not the only one who figured this out, and that there are many recipes for sour powder out there. According to ehow.com making sour powdered sugar isn’t that hard. All you need is citric acid and powdered sugar. Check out the recipe here. Another gal shows a recipe for sour powder including gelatine, baking soda. Not sure what the baking soda adds to the mix, I would think bitterness though. Here is her video. And what is the best way to use sour powder? Sour patch kid drinks!

Sour Patch Shooter

So I look to see if anyone had the idea, and yep that’s not a new concept. Turns out that there is even a virgin shooter recipe online. TheModernWoman actually came up with a virgin shooter based on that idea – for a girls night with mom’s to be. Check out her blog here for her great take on sour patch shooters. The ingredients are below. She didn’t have exact measurements in her blog, so I have included what I did.

Ingredients:
  • Unsweetened Koolaid (various flavours like: lime, cherry, grape and orange) 2 packs per colour
  • sweet & sour mix (see below)
  • Orange juice
  • grenadine
  • Sour Powder (for rim)
Procedure:

Depending on the colour of the shooter, not all the ingredients are used. The first step is to mix 2 packs Unsweetened Koolaid powder with 8 oz water and 4 oz sweet & sour mix for the foundation to the drinks. Fill each drink about 1/2 full. Sweet Sunrise Flavour: add 1/2 oz orange juice & 1 tsp grenadine to fill to 3/4 full.  Sour cherry & Sour Grape flavours: simply add 1 tps grenadine and top with sour mix. Sour Lime: Sour lime flavour: only add sweet and sour mix to the drink.

Our Thoughts:

Once you get the foundation flavours mixed up (they should be sour tasting and kind of strong) the rest of the drink mixing is done mostly by feel and mixed in the glass. The grenadine adds a lot of sweetness, so depending on how much you like sour, you may choose to add more or less of this. I couldn’t find lime Koolaid locally, so I improvised making a pretty awesome sour lime out of the following: 4 oz sweet and sour mix, 4 oz water, 4 oz rose lime cordial syrups, 1.5 oz bottled lime juice and 3 drops green food colouring.

Our family tried these out and my husband knocked all four back (brave man!) Us gals shared a set of four flavours sipping at each. These are very much like their name sake – and the sour hits you after the second sip – but they are equally full of flavour. Because of the strength and sourness of these they have that “Shooter” feel and I am looking forwards to offering these as my latest Skeeters (virgin shooters) for the next event I am invited to.

Oh and how sour are they? In order of least to most: Sunrise (orange juice and grenadine sweetened it), Sour Cherry (grenadine helped here), Sour Lime (I think my mix was perfect for this, lime should be sour) & most sour… Sour Grape (this was a surprise!)

Kid-o-metre 5/5 My kids loved these!
Taste: 4.5/5  So much like the sour kid candy !
Simplicity: 5/5 Once I worked out the amount of water and sour mix for each of the flavours this was fun and easy to make.
Ingredient finding: 4/5 Required adapting the lime recipe, otherwise easy to find ingredients.

 Sweet & Sour Mix

The basics of a sour mix is lemons, limes and sugar. According to seriouseats.com making the mix to have on hand for cocktails is a must and buying the mix isn’t necessary. Well I am all for that! Here is their take on it.

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

Procedure:

Make a simple syrup using sugar and water. Cool and add strained juices. Keep in fridge.

Simple Sour Powder Rimmer

This is the very simplest of recipes that I introduced above, from ehow.com slightly adjusted to make a more crystallized and sour rimmer.

Ingredients:

1 cup berry sugar
1 Tbsp citric acid (ascorbic acid)

Procedure:

Mix ingredients in a sealable container and store until needed.


Sour Patch Kid Mocktail

Other ideas for sour patch drinks? There were no virgin drinks online, but Drinkmixer.com had a sour patch cocktail – that wouldn’t be hard to alter and turn it into a Mocktail. Here is the resulting drink recipe adapted and tested.

Ingredients:
  • 3 oz club soda
  • 1.5 oz Blue Curacao syrup
  • 1 oz grenadine syrup
  • 1 oz sweet & sour mix #2 (see below)
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • Sour powder rimmer (see above)
Procedure:

Mix the first four ingredients and the juice from the lime into a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour into cocktail glass filled with ice – rim with sour powder to add an additional sour hit!

Our Thoughts:

When I first made this drink using the original recipes quantities, but in syrups instead of liqueurs, it was overpoweringly sweet. Due to the sweetness of the sweet and sour mix I chose to use (the sugar syrup based recipe), and the sweetness of the grenadine and curaçao syrup, the Mocktail version of this drink had a high concentration of sugar. I went back to the original recipe and tried again using their sour mix suggestion – which was simply lemon juice and a bit of sugar mixed together.  I also increased the lime from one wedge in the original recipe to a half ounce to help balance the taste. And finally, because the original cut the sweetness with vodka and I had chosen club soda, I doubled the amount of club soda to balance the drink further.

The resulting colour of the mix is a fantastic purple, and the taste is fruity with a strong lime tone. The drink definitely has potential – and if you like fizz I would recommend adding even more club soda to your mix.

Kid-o-metre 5/5 Kids loved this.
Taste: 4/5  The adaption worked – kids say it could even use more club soda .
Simplicity: 5/5 Simple and easy to make.
Ingredient finding: 2/5 Requires home made curaçao, sweet and sour mix and a trip out of town for grenadine.

 Sweet and Sour Mix Recipe #2

I found a more simple recipe that may be more sour than sweet on DrinkMixer.com which called for 8oz lemon juice and 2 Tbsp sugar only. This may produce a more sour mix – if you need to balance out sweetness of syrups.

Skeeters – Virgin Shooters Renamed

Virgin drinks are not new. Mocktails have been around for a while. According to oxforddictionaries.com the word originated in the 1930’s. According to a blog written by FASD prevention the term is more recent starting in the 1970’s. Ok, so Mocktails in concept may be almost 90 years old but more likely originated about 40 years back.

Shooters on the other hand are a bit harder to pin down. One story says that the first shot glass may have been as old as the 1930’s with the possible origin of a “shot” of alcohol being from a story of a man who shot a barrel of whiskey with his riffle to prevent a bar from opening in his area. After that the coin “a shot of redeye” became popular according to wikipedia. Looking further a shot may refer to the equivalent in alcohol to one bullet, or have to do with the prohibition, and similar to a jigger of rum or whiskey. Most sources agree that the shot glass is about 90 years old. Wikipedia and the net seems to have no mention though of the origin of the shooter drink – only a list of recipes and the general idea behind the drink. Heh? Can’t seem to find anything on the internet to tell me… but I am guessing it was in the last 30 years, as my parents are not familiar with the concept.

Teens today are though, and early adults especially. Each generation the age kids/youth start to try alcohol decreases, even if drinking law age limit remains steady. The availability of alternatives to common drinking practices, like cocktails and shooters, is one way that people can enjoy social activities and the idea of mixed drinks without the consequences, and younger individuals who wish to be like their parents (or older friends) can have fun without breaking the law, getting drunk or worst.

Mocktails follow the invention of the Cocktail, with a lag of a few hundred years. Cocktails were first coined sometime between the 17-19 century according to wikipedia and the oxford dictionary. Mocktails came out in the 20th century with the gaining concern for alcohol awareness and drinking and driving, and as an alternative to cocktails for those who wish to refrain from alcoholic beverages but wish to enjoy the experience of being social, and like mixed drinks. The popularity of Mocktails depends a lot on the region and culture of the area. Bigger cities with more diverse populations and more bars/restaurants are more likely to consider alternative beverages, while smaller communities like my own often only have pop or coffee offered to designated drivers.

Ok but I digress. This article is about the next step. Just as Mocktails offer an alternative to sipper drinks like cocktails, what about the alternative to the newer Shooter? And what do you call a virgin shooter so that it is not associated as closely with the shooter who’s sole purpose seems to get the individual drunk in the shortest time possible?

So I have to think. Why else have a shooter? In previous posts I mention a shooter also gives a big hit of flavour quickly. Recently in chatting with young adult who liked making and mixing drinks, shooters are also an art form and fun to make. A friend an teen centre employee compared virgin shooters to water pong. Both are a safe alternative to the “real deal” and hopefully teach youth that there are fun and safe choices out there.

My two girls joke that they “shock” teachers by telling them that their mom serves them shooters – they are 7 and 11 – and then explain “virgin shooters”. Fortunately the teachers here know me and what I do well  and aren’t really shocked, but imagine a parent hearing that a teen had shooters at a youth event? And if the teen didn’t explain… well, time to rename the virgin shooter.

So I introduce to you the Skeeter. (No not the mosquito!) Which won out in my circle over the Vooter (lame), the Mooter (lamer) and the Mockter (which seems to have some other uses). Will it catch on? Probably not. But it took a few hundred years between the first cocktail and the first Mocktail, so give it time… and to my knowledge virgin shooters, or Skeeters, are a new concept first introduced here!

Tidy Bowl Shooter – Lemon Fresh

Tidy Bowl Shooter - like something out of a lab.

Tidy Bowl Shooter – like something out of a lab. Good science, wonderful science!

I had the fun and honour of offering non-alcoholic shooters at a teen dance for Winter Carnival and wanted to come up with something a bit “odd” to offer on the list. As I was using my DYI curaçao syrup for another shooter (Blue on Ice) that I had created back in October of last year, I thought I would see what other things could be done with this ingredient.

I came across a recipe for a shooter called Tidy Bowl on the Ultimate Shooter List on Good Time Charleys menu. And looked to see who else had come up with the idea of replicating the toilet bowl cleaner colour and look in a shooter. Turns out that the tidy bowl recipe is not the same across the internet – other than that they all use curaçao for the colour blue.  BarNoneDrinks suggests rum and grapefruit juice mixed with the blue curaçao, BartendingBlueprint suggests a combo of southern comfort, sweet and sour mix and curaçao, BarGeek and TheBartend.com suggests simply curaçao and vodka (although BarGeek suggests a few raisins in the bottom – which means the bowl isn’t tidy doesn’t it?) mmm.

So for a non alcoholic version, it seems that it’s wide open to be inventive, as long as I use curaçao in the mix! Well the stores now offer a martini mix called blue raspberry. I thought, hey it’s blue too, why not mix that into the recipe! The flavours paired well but left the drink needing something to cut the sweetness. Ah Jamaican ginger beer man, that’s the thing! And boy does it pack a kick!

But how to take it one step further… what about that lemon fresh scent that you often get after cleaning a bathroom? … sure why not! So I mixed the drink, and then rubbed the rim with a half lemon, letting the juice run where it may – yup lemon freshness. And the flavour worked – better than I could have hoped for.

Tidy Bowl Shooter – Lemon Fresh

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 oz blue curaçao syrup
  • 1/2 oz blue raspberry martini mix
  • 1 oz Jamaican ginger beer
  • 1/2 lemon
Procedure:

Measure out ingredients into shot glass finishing with the ginger beer. Rub lemon half on the rim allowing some juices to drip into glass. Serve.

My thoughts:

I was excited to offer this at the dance, it is a simple drink to make, looks fun and has a strong flavour. As it turns out my instincts were dead on, and this became the most popular choice at the event. Teens kept coming back for more, asking for “that blue one” (maybe I should rename it… nah!). Of the 38 drinks sold that night to a small group of teens who attended the event, I make about 25 Tidy Bowl shooters and used half a bottle of home made Curacao syrup!

The night was a  huge success for Experimental Virgins. I am guessing each youth had about 3 drinks on average – not including the free shooter game I offered – yup, I did a shooter game with my Dragon’s Breath recipe, served in test tubes and made as spicy as a set of dice dictated. While some recipes were not as popular ( due to personal tastes) and I had a dickens of a time getting my ice to crush satisfactorily for the Blue on Ice recipe (shooting back chunks of ice isn’t pleasant!), I am looking forward to offering virgin shooters at future wake-a-thons, dances and other youth events.

TEEN-o-metre 5/5 absolutely enjoyed by all who tried, they came back for more!
Taste: 5/5  Strong, spicy and seconds are required.
Simplicity: 4/5 once the curaçao is made, it’s a cinch.
Ingredient finding: 4/5 if you can’t find mandarine for the curaçao, just use more orange extract, if you can’t find either… meh!

Dante’s Gazpacho Shooter

Gazpatcho Shooter - spicy, herbal and full of flavour.

Gazpatcho Shooter – spicy, herbal and full of flavour.

Earlier on this year my youngest daughter and I were inventing a Dragon’s Breath Shooter. My original idea was to use jalapeño peppers, limes and tomato juice.

The Dragon’s Breath Shooter title was given to the best drink of a series of 5 choices, one tomato based and the rest fruit based, all with habanero pepper jelly as the heat. The tomato based concoction did not pass the muster for the halloween inspired shooters I was going for, as my sister-in-law turned her nose up at the smell. “Like spaghetti sauce” was my nieces comment, but she enjoyed the taste and asked me to keep the recipe.

So, on behalf of Dante, and with a name that speaks to the flavours, I present…

Dante’s Gazpacho Shooters

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 lime juice
  • 1 tsp red habanero jelly
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper simple syrup
  • 1/2 garlic clove sliced
  • 1/2 baby sweet red pepper (about 2 oz)
  • 2 oz tomato juice

Serving Size: 2 shots

Procedure:

Put first four ingredients into cocktail glass and muddle well. Add tomato juice and a few ice cubes. Shake well to blend flavours. Pour into two garlic pepper rimmed shot glasses.


Garlic Pepper Rimmer
Ingredients:

1 part garlic and herb sea salt – ground
1 part fresh ground pepper

Mix on plate, line rim of shot glasses with lime juice and dip in Rimmer mix.


 

My Thoughts:

While I am not a big fan of caesars, due to the degree of spice and Clamato, I have always loved tomato juice and becoming more enamoured with tomato juice based drinks.

Kid-o-metre 1/5 Nope. Nope. Yep. Teens maybe, otherwise not a hit.
Taste: 4/5  the pepper dimmer does give it a bite, the drink itself is very fresh tasting.
Simplicity: 4/5  One special syrup to make, one easy Rimmer to dash together.
Ingredient finding: 5/5

Sangrita Review

Sangrita - a spicy virgin accompaniment that often goes with tequila to cleans the palate.

Sangrita – a spicy virgin accompaniment that often goes with tequila to cleans the palate. To the right – Virgin Spicy Lime shooter.

In looking for spicy alternatives to a virgin caesar I came across this recipe at Liquor.com. Sangrita is normally served as a spicy accompaniment to tequila, as a chaser to cleanse the palate after the shot of strong liquor. The drink itself is non alcoholic and blends the flavours of grapefruit, tomato, orange and lime juice with a bite of spice.

We decided to try it out, well the adults of the family did. For fun we decided to make a shot of a lime based sour mix with a hint of cayenne and honey, just to get some of the experience of mixing two drinks on the palate one after another.

What did we think of the drink?

With only two testers willing to try it, my results are pretty skewed. If I had made this for my niece she would have been all over it. However, with my husband not liking spicy drinks, the ratings dropped. From my perspective, I didn’t over do the spice in the drink or let it sit so long that it got too intense. This was fine for me, and I like the fact that one has control over the intensity of the spice simply by how long the drink infuses.

Kid-o-metre 0/5 
Taste: 3/5 
Husband not a fan because of the spice. 
Simplicity: 5/5
no special ingredients to prepare.
Ingredient finding: 5/5 
all available locally

Virgin Spicy Lime Shooter

If you decide to make up the shooter for the fun here is my recipe.

  • Half lime juiced
  • 1/2 oz lime cordial
  • 1/2 oz honey syrup (1 part honey to 1 part hot water)
  • pinch of cayenne (to taste)

Squeeze a half lime into a cocktail mixer, add remaining ingredients. Shake with ice and pour into shot glass.

Test Tube Shooters

Three Halloween Test Tube Shooters. From left to right: Snake Venom, Beetle Juice & Dragon's Breath.

Three Halloween Test Tube Shooters. From left to right: Snake Venom, Beetle Juice & Dragon’s Breath.

Halloween approaches. In a week my two girls will be out in full costume knocking on doors and filling their bag with loot.

For our family, halloween is about the dressing up and the spooky setting, about the fun of carving pumpkins and creativity.  Our decor is based on real scary things: spiders, snakes and scarecrows and later closer to halloween, jack-o’-lanterns and if possible the fog machine going just outside the door.

Being a mom of two girls has meant keeping the spooky and terrifying at bay, or be plagued with two small children with nightmares for weeks. Now that my eldest is maturing, she is able to differentiate real from imaginary, and is finding the world of myth and folklore fascinating. My youngest is asking for stories of elves, fairies, dragons and unicorns, and I am now the creator of magical tales in our home that both children are waiting to hear before bed.

So for my first venture into Halloween drink making – I have chosen to blend a little of the real with a little of the imagined in these three test tube shooters.

Snake Venom

The idea came to make a snake venom as I was working through scary liquids commonly held in test tubes. In chatting with my local pharmacist and friend, she tells me that snake venom is actually being used now in medicine! I can’t say that my beverage will have any healing effects – but it does have a bite.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 oz Fresh squeezed grapefruit juice (preferably yellow)
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice (bottled)
  • 1/4 oz caramel syrup
  • 1/2 oz black pepper syrup (recipe below)
Procedure:

Mix all ingredients in a cocktail mixer with a few ice cubes. Shake well and strain into two 1 oz shot glasses or test tubes. Makes two 1 oz shots.

My Thoughts:

My eldest daughter, niece and I love this drink. It is spicy, sour, bitter and sweet all at once. My youngest daughter isn’t sure what to think of it, and while my husband was willing to try it his comment was ” I wouldn’t choose it”.

Kid-o-metre 3/5 older kid drink
Taste: 4/5 
gotta love sweet and sour to like this
Simplicity: 4/5  
Two recipes to make, one that takes a little time.
Ingredient finding: 4/5 
may not find yellow grapefruit, depends on season


Black Pepper Syrup

I originally found this recipe when working through blackberry lemonade options online. (Someday I’ll tell you all about that! Dole foods provided me with the recipe) This syrup recipe is pretty easy and super versatile. Because the sweet and spicy blend upon cooking, having this pre made is essential if you wish to add a peppery flavour to a sweet drink.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup black pepper corns – cracked
2 cups water
2 cups white sugar

Smash black pepper in a ziplock bag and add to pot with water and sugar. Bring to a simmer on medium high heat until all the sugar is resolved and for about 5 minutes more. Allow to cool and strain into a air tight container. Keep in fridge until use.

My Thoughts:

the original recipe called for toasting the pepper corns before infusing them in the syrup. I had mixed peppercorns – red, green and black – and chose to leave them plain. I don’t know what the flavour would be like toasted, possibly darker? Next time I need some of this I will test that theory, but the plain version seems to work well for now.


Dragon’s Breath

This was inspired by my youngest, as we wandered through the grocery isles wasting time before a job interview. Being that she’s huge into fairy creatures, and we had recently watched Shrek 3 for a “movie dinner night”, she suggested making a spicy drink. Originally she had hoped the drink would be called Dragon’s acid, however I pointed out that most dragon’s have hot breath – and this became acceptable.

Coming up with the perfect drink for this became a challenge. Originally I purchased tomato juice, limes and jalepeno peppers, but my non spicy husband and kids made me start searching for alternatives. Being an Epicure fan, I immediately started searching for my red pepper jelly, and came across a secret stash of my friends habanero jelly, gifted to me almost a year ago.

So with that as the starting point, I went back to the research to come up with fruits that paired with this ingredient. What I found was many ideas, all based on jellies, salsa and sauces. No prob! I can adapt that to a drink – sez I! So back to the kitchen, and to the fridge to pull out bottles of juice, specialty syrups and frozen juices I created earlier.

In order to come up with the best combo I tried a number of ideas – mint, grapefruit and jelly; garlic, tomato juice, lime and jelly; cranberry, honey, sour mix and jelly; and finally raspberries. Of all the combos my family and my spicy loving in-laws tried, this is the one that rocked it!

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 oz raspberry juice (recipe below) or store bought
  • 1/2 oz black pepper syrup
  • 1 tsp red habanero pepper jelly
  • 1 1/2 oz chopped fresh sweet red bell peppers
Procedure:

Muddle pepper syrup, red pepper jelly and fresh bell peppers in bottom of a cocktail mixer. Add 4-5 ice cubes and shake well. Add raspberry juice and shake to blend flavours. Strain into two shot glasses (1 oz each) or test tubes.

My thoughts:

Normally raspberry juice is so strong that it needs sweet to mellow it out. Incredibly enough, spicy will also do the trick! Who knew!

Can’t wait to unleash this on my daughters, who were both in bed by the time I had this all figured out.

I made my own raspberry juice – using frozen raspberries and blending them with water. In some locations you can get red raspberry juice easily, if so and it’s tart, go for it! In my town, not a possibility. you can find the recipe below.

Kid-o-metre ?/5 will keep you posted, my niece who is a teen loved it.
Taste: 5/5 
wow even my hubby liked it!
Simplicity: 4/5  
One recipes to make. One ingredient to find.
Ingredient finding: 5/5
 Red pepper jelly can substitute, making this easy to find all the ingredients for if you have internet and a credit card.


 Raspberry Juice
Ingredients:

1 bag frozen raspberries
2 cups water
1 tbsp citric acid

Heat berries in water to boiling. Turn down and simmer 10 minutes. Strain and press to get all juice out of berries. Add citric acid and stir to mix well. Store in fridge or pour into ice cube trays and freeze for later use.


Beetle Juice

It is said that some beetles have orangish blood. Since this next drink blends the bite of habanero peppers with the sweetness of cranberry and orange, I thought the name fitting. One may say that all drinks named this should be black and white, or that if one asked three times for this shooter, some ghoulish creature will appear and make your life miserable (or is that the cat in the hat?), so if you decide you want a third dose of this great halloween shooter – maybe ask for it by it’s scientific name: Coleoptera juice.

Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 oz cranberry juice
  • 1/2 oz concentrated frozen orange juice
  • 1 tsp habanero jelly (the red stuff)
Procedure:

Mix all ingredients in a cocktail mixer with 2-3 ice cubes. Shake well to blend in jelly, strain into two shot glasses (1 oz each) or test tubes.

My thoughts:

Habenaro Jelly is the key ingredient in this recipe, but I can’t tell you where to buy it because I am lucky enough to have a super jelly making friend who keeps me topped up every christmas. The one jar often lasts our “non-spicy” family for the full year. There are plenty of recipes for DIY habenaro jelly, I would recommend one that keeps to simple ingredients without any added flavouring components – like on Food52 or My Pantry Shelf. Epicure makes a decent red pepper jelly, that can substitute for the real thing in a pinch.

My spice lovin’ niece and her mom both enjoyed this one. While I am not a fan of super hot flavours, this is a more gentle drink due to the sweetness of the cranberry. The spice is a slow burn that creeps up, so again if you have more than one… beware!

Kid-o-metre 3/5 older kid drink, the sweetness hits first then the spice.
Taste: 4/5 
some in my family are not fans of spicy concoctions. what are your thoughts?
Simplicity: 4/5  
If you can find the jelly, it’s a cinch to make.
Ingredient finding: 4/5 
When I find the jelly anywhere other than in my kitchen, I’ll let you know where to buy it!

Stay tuned for new halloween creations in next ten days!