Sweet. Tart. Insane.
Most of my culinary ideas come upon me while telling bad jokes during conversations with my friends and family. In this case, I was chatting online with my friend Joe when this happened:
ME: . . . which is why I mentioned the wodka concoction . . . whoops, I meant vodka. What is wodka? . . . wait –
JOE: It’s the Russian pronunciation.
ME: – is wodka vodka made by Willy Wonka? GASP! I have to make that a drink now.
You see, I don’t sort out my ideas into “Feasible” and “Daydream” categories when they pop into my head; instead I take it as a challenge, a sort of double-dog dare to myself to figure out how to make it a reality. That’s almost the point of this whole blog – to bring to life the crazy, inane shit that passes through my brain while I’m talking to friends, or drinking, or riding my bike, or reading a book, or all of the above. With a few more hits of inspiration while discussing the topic with others, I came up with the following, uber-Wonka-themed cocktail.
So take a deep breath, click this link, and let’s get this wacky, slightly terrifying boat ride under way.
Snozzberry Wodka Martini with Veruca Salt
– Vermouth (White)
– Cranberry Juice (100% Juice, No Sugar)
– Nerds (no particular flavor needed)
– Sweet Tarts
– Kosher Salt
- Pour the Nerds candy into the vodka. Depending on the size of your bottle of vodka, you may have to pour more in, but you will need far less than what you would imagine. Nerds are pretty strong and it doesn’t take much to flavor the vodka. You can also use more or less depending on how sweet you like your cocktails. For me and the little bottle of vodka I had (which looks to be just under two cups), about 4-5 tablespoons was just right.
- Shake the bottle every 5-10 minutes. You’ll see the Nerds start to dissolve pretty quickly. If you’re smart, you’ll choose one color of Nerds so the resulting Wodka will be a nice opaque pink or purple or whatever. If you’re more like me, you’ll just pour in all different kinds so that the Wodka comes out looking like a bucket of water you’ve just used to wash your car.
That icky color will be dashed away once we add the juice, so don’t worry. After about an hour or so, most of the Nerds will be completely incorporated. There will always be little left over, but it’s nothing to fret over.
Not much to this; just juice and lime. It does matter that there is no sugar in the cranberry juice. The Wodka is incredibly sweet and the in-your-face tartness of the cranberry and lime is a perfect balance. You can wait until the drink is entirely made to squeeze in the lime, or you can do it beforehand.
Much like a margarita, I decided to rim the martini glass to help add another “Wonka” element to the drink. The mixture consists of crushed Sweet Tarts (because it is a Wonka candy), Kosher Salt or rock salt (because the character’s name is Veruca Salt), and finely ground black pepper because . . .
The blend should be about ⅝’s candy, ¼ salt and ⅛ pepper. You want mostly sweet, a little salty, and just a hint of pep.
- Tip: Don’t crush the candy into a powder; leave it a little chunky.
All righty, time for the mixing!
- Make a martini using Wodka and Vermouth. If you don’t know how to make a martini, then you have forgotten the face of your father and hence will be sent westward, shamed and dishonored. (You want to take two parts Wodka, a ½ part vermouth, put it into a mixer with ice and combine. And please, STIR IT, DON’T SHAKE IT. James Bond is wrong and a coward.)
- Take two small plates and fill one with water and the other with our Veruca Salt. Take a chilled glass and dip the rim in the water, and then in the Veruca Salt, making sure to swirl it around so the entire rim is covered.
- Fill a ⅓ of the martini glass with cranberry juice.
- Fill the rest of the glass with the Wodka martini.
- Take half a lime and squeeze the juice into the drink.
- Drop in an Everlasting Gobstopper and serve.
Just forewarning you, this drink is incredibly sweet. I’m alright with that since it’s based off of a madman who makes candy, but it can be overpowering if you’re not prepared. If you want to knock off some of the sweetness, forgo the gobstopper at the end. It’s a nice little touch, but it adds a lot of sugar. Otherwise, the drink tastes like something you’d get in a candy store. Sweet because of all the candy, very tart because of the juice and lime, and different because of all that Veruca Salt foolishness. It’ll make you feel like a kid again. I will say, however, that this is more of a novelty drink; you’ll make it once to try it out and have fun, but you wouldn’t want to drink it for an entire party. For that, screw the vermouth, the Veruca Salt and the extra candy and just go with the Wodka, juice and lime. It may not be as interesting as the martini, but it’s still a perfect balance of sweet and sour.