Gummy bears are my favorite candy in the entire world. So naturally when I saw the Serious Eats post about how to make your own Rummy Bears, I just had to give it a go. Unlike most how-to posts on the Internet regarding drunken gummy bears (aka drunken gummi bears) which simply call for cheap vodka, Serious Eats introduced the idea of cocktail-inspired gummies. Genius! That opened up a whole new world. Past drunken gummy bear recipes only had one mission: to get you drunk in a seemingly innocuous, but fun way. But the cocktail gummy makes a point to preserve the gummies’ flavors for use in the “cocktails.”
So I batched up some rum and cola gummies, Negroni gummies, raspberry tequila gummies (my bad, I thought the red gummies were strawberry when in fact it’s the green ones that are) and strawberry absinthe gummies (just used green gummy bears to keep in theme with green fairies). By the way, got the idea for the absinthe gummy bears from an NYC bar that is no longer around.
Here’s my slight variation on the Serious Eats recipe. And this should be obvious but drunken gummy bears are most definitely not for kids!
Steps to Making Drunken Gummy Bears
- Gather your ingredients: Cola gummies and gummy bears (I used the Haribo bag) and your desired booze. It might have been smarter to actually use cheap booze for experimentation, but I just couldn’t bring myself to.
- Pour your desired gummy flavor into a glass/ceramic bowl and then fill the bowl with your favorite spirit, just barely covering the candies. Online recipes vary from just below the gummy bear line to an inch over the gummies. It really depends on your preference for booziness. For my Negroni gummies, I separated out orange gummies and filled the bowl with equal parts Campari and Bluecoat Gin. For the rum and cola, I just used some Captain Jack someone left behind at a past house party. For the tequila raspberry, it was a silver tequila. And for the absinthe bears, I used Vieux Carre Absinthe which, since pricey, I just made a tiny batch of bears.
- Cover the bowls with Saranwrap and stick in the refrigerator for five hours. Yes, unlike the SE recipe, I stuck them in the fridge because I read too many horror stories of the bears melting into a big gummy mess when left out at room temperature. Regarding infusion time, I had researched the Internet trying to find the ideal amount of time to leave the gummies stewing in the booze. And stated infusion times varied from 24 hours to a week. But I went with SE’s recommended five to eight hours (“the sweet spot”), although I let the absinthe bears stew longer just to see what would happen. I figured that the usual drunken gummy recipes that use the days method just want to obliterate the gummy bears’ flavors which isn’t my goal here. Plus when left in longer, the bears lose their gumminess and get all jiggly.
- After two hours, stir up the bears so they don’t meld to each other.
- When the five hours are up, drain the gummies using a colander to toss them and then pat them with a paper towel. Afterward put them in a Tupperware and return them to the fridge for storage. Apparently they can keep longer in there.
- Some recipes say you can just serve them with toothpicks but I dusted them with powdered sugar which made them easier to separate and serve but also made them too easy to pop in my mouth. However, if you go the powdered sugar route, don’t dust them before storage as they will just get wet again. Man, these things are slimy.
How Wasted Did the Gummy Bears Get?
After five hours, the Negroni and tequila bears just had a hint of booze. Think more buzzed than wasted bears. There was none of that alcohol-y burn that the vodka recipes reported. The rum and Coke gummies had a nice mix of the sweet rum and cola flavors, but again the booziness wasn’t overt. I can see the tequila bears and rum and cola gummies being more popular at parties for their mainstream appeal.
My taste testers really liked the rum and cola ones. The Negroni bears, like the cocktail, may be a required taste with its strong bitter, sweet flavor. They basically taste like orange peel.
I had ended up soaking the green bears in the absinthe for 14 hours total and they absorbed the spirit perfectly, so they were potent but sweet. Turns out absinthe is the missing gummy bear flavor! And despite the longer soak time the bears still retained their shape and, surprisingly, their firmness. Which leads me to believe that the Negroni and tequila bears could stand for soaking a little longer in the booze should you want a more potent flavor. As it is, I liked the nuanced flavors of the spirits. Again, for me it’s about the flavor and not getting wasted.
Can’t wait to experiment with other liquors. Any suggestions for the perfect drunken gummy bears flavors?