If your neighbors are anything like mine, you'll be seeing (or, mostly, hearing) home-grown fireworks shows from sunset Dec. 31 until the wee hours of New Year's Day. That gave me the idea to try and capture the New Year's Eve whiz-pow-bang in an adult beverage – using Pop Rocks candy, which, after all, bears on its packet an invitation to "taste the explosion." Challenge accepted!
It's also time to blow up the myth that combining Pop Rocks and soda will make your head explode (y'know, like Mikey). Though, fair warning, if you consume too many of the following libations, it may feel like your head is exploding the next day.
Since Pop Rocks candy is incredibly sweet, basically just exploding lumps of sugar, I wanted the drinks to err more on the bitter side, so I used Aperol, the milder cousin of bitter Campari, in both. (The shot is stronger, of course.) The cocktail uses blood orange soda cut with white ale to add fizz along with a mild bitterness.
Blood orange soda is available in house brands at Whole Foods, Fresh Market and Trader Joe's, and Publix carries San Pellegrino aranciata rossa soda in cans. But it turns out that it's not so easy to find Pop Rocks these days; I got mine at Party City.
- Pop Rocks candy
- ginger ale
Pour the honey into a saucer and let it spread to a greater diameter than your shotglasses. Open and pour the Pop Rocks into another saucer, also spreading them out. Dip shotglass rims first in honey, then in Pop Rocks (you may hear some premature popping).
In a mixing glass, a pitcher or a measuring cup with a pouring spout, combine equal parts bourbon, Aperol and ginger ale. Carefully pour into the shotglasses, being careful not to knock off the candy.
Lick the Pop Rocks off the rim, then toss down the shot. Explodey!
Pop Rocks Cocktail
- coupe glass
- Pop Rocks candy
- 1 ounce vodka
- 2 ounces Aperol
- 1 ounce blood orange soda
- 2 ounces white ale
- 3 dashes orange bitters
Follow the two-saucer procedure above to adhere the candy to the rim of the glass. Combine the vodka, Aperol, blood orange soda and white ale in a mixing glass, then pour carefully into the prepared coupe. Top with a few dashes of orange bitters.