I’ll be honest, the last time I experimented with Jelly Belly Beans in the kitchen – baking them into a batch of cookies – things didn’t turn out so well. And that’s an understatement.
Still, I was determined not to let them get the better of me. No more heating them up mind you: instead, I would cool things down.
It was time to make some Jelly Bean Vodka.
The ingredients were minimal: one bottle of cheap (yet inoffensive) Vodka, and a box of Jelly Belly Beans. The possibilities, on the other hand, were endless. We could flavour our tipple with Buttered Popcorn, Cinnamon, Green Tea, Mandarin, Strawberry Jam – even Birthday Cake – not to mention any of the other multitudinous flavours.
Deciding turned out to be half the fun. Together, the Man and I spent some time debating just how to taint our precious booze. In the end, we opted to make two small (and very different) batches.
For the Hog, a mix of Dark Chocolate and Plum.
For the Man, a medley of Green Apple, Lemon/Lime and Kiwi.
The actual making took minimal effort. Just chucking some beans in a measure of Vodka, and giving the whole thing a jolly good shake.
The transformation was speedy. Within minutes, the beans were bleeding colour, turning the Vodka chocolate brown – or, in the case of the fruity one, neon green.
After a couple of hours – with a vigorous shake every now and again – the beans began to deteriorate, turning pulpy and white.
After a day, we decided to sample the Chocolate and Plum, straining the mottled gunk using a sieve. Not that it worked – pickled Bean flakes still found their way into our glasses.
In the absence of anything else, we next tried pouring the Vodka through a sheet of kitchen roll. Almost nothing came out the other side – and fearing a drink with added paper, we gave up the challenge and drank our new drink as it was.
First impressions were that it was still extremely vodka-y. This ought not to have surprised me, I know, but I was expecting some sort of alcopop – something sweet and flavoursome.
I wanted to taste the Dark Chocolate and Plum, but the whole thing was rather drowned out and quite bitter with booze. Even a scoop of ice cream (my attempt at a grown-up milkshake) was not nearly enough to sweeten the deal.
In the absence of decent filters, the bean bits floated around like pond scum – another off-putting result. Worse still, for the first time ever, it struck me that I actually didn’t like Vodka that much.
Fearing our green concoction would taste no better, we decided to give it more time to brew.
And so the experiment continued. Given a few days longer, the porridge-like bean bits dissolved entirely, leaving nowt but a layer of white sediment.
We took it out and shook it every day, but the sediment got no smaller. Time for a decent investment: a packet of coffee filters, to ensure our next effort went down more smoothly. With that in the bag, and a few more days of deliberation, we were finally ready to try it all again.
I have to say, the colour alone was pretty impressive – as if the Incredible Hulk had drained his sweat into my glass.
Taste-wise, the extended brewing time had worked a treat. This time the Vodka was sweet and fruity and – to my surprise – at last extremely drinkable, even to a Pud-Hog who would rather have a Gin.
Now there’s a thought…
Perhaps that’ll be my next experiment: Gin infused with Jelly Beans, flavoured by something like Melon or Juicy Pear.
In the meantime, here’s a recipe for you.
Give it a go and get crazy with flavours. After all, responsible drinking doesn’t have to mean responsible drinks…
Jelly Belly Bean Vodka (makes 5fl oz, or enough for 2 double-sized shots – upscale for larger quantities)
- Approximately 20 jelly beans (in whatever flavours you fancy)
- 5fl oz of half-decent Vodka
You will also need a paper coffee filter
- Pour the Vodka into a clean plastic bottle, add the beans and shake vigorously for a minute or so
- Shake vigorously every now and then until the beans have begun to dissolve, then leave in a warm (yet shaded spot) to speed up the fermentation
- For optimum colour and flavour, leave to brew for at least five days, shaking at least once every day
- When ready to drink, pour through the filter straight into a jug, chill, then decant into glasses with some ice
Your filtered Vodka can be stored in the freezer, for extra added coolness.