This layered Candy Corn Martini, made with candy corn-infused vodka, is a delicious, colorful and festive cocktail for fall! With mango puree, orange juice, Cointreau and vanilla whipped cream, it tastes just like a boozy orange creamsicle.
This drink is just as delicious as it is cute. It's the perfect drink for any Halloween party! Candy corn is a little bit of a controversial candy, but when you infuse vodka with it, the vodka takes on a vanilla and marshmallow flavor. It goes so perfectly with the mango, orange juice and liqueurs in this drink.
Here is what you'll need to whip up this layered cocktail.
- Yellow layer (bottom) - vanilla mango:
- Mango nectar - a mix of mango puree and simple syrup.
- Licor 43 - this is a vanilla-flavored sweet liqueur.
- Orange layer (middle) - vanilla orange:
- Vodka infused with candy corn - (see How to make Candy Corn Vodka below.) Candy corn has a flavor of vanilla and marshmallow. As it infuses, the vodka will take on some of the flavor as well as the orange color. Some of the candy corn sugar will dissolve, too.
- Cointreau liqueur - this is an orange-flavored liqueur. It is a triple sec, but it has less sugar than most other triple sec brands on the market. That makes it easier to float on top of the yellow layer.
- Orange juice - either bottled or freshly squeezed.
- White layer (top) - vanilla whipped cream:
- Heavy whipping cream
- Powdered sugar
- Vanilla extract
- Candy Corn
How do you layer a cocktail?
Layering a cocktail is all about the specific gravity of different liquids. Basically, this means that liquids with a lot of things (usually sugar) dissolved in them are denser and heavier than plain water, and will sink. Also, alcohol is lighter than water, and floats on top of it.
To make a drink that has layers, and actually tastes good without mixing them all together, is a little bit tricky! The top layer of whipped cream will float easily, since the air pockets in the cream make it much lighter and less dense.
The orange and yellow layers are a little more challenging. The main thing to keep in mind is that the most sugary things go on the bottom. There is more sugar in the yellow layer, and more alcohol in the orange layer.
When you're pouring the drink into the serving glass, pour it onto the back of a spoon held close to the drink's surface, and let it flow into the glass gently. This technique will help stop the layers from mixing as you pour.
Don't have one of the ingredients? If you're making substitutions in this drink, just remember that the most sugary things go in the bottom layer, the middle layer has more alcohol and less sugar, and the top layer is whipped with air. Here are some ways you can substitute if you don't have some of the ingredients.
- Mango nectar - if you don't have mango nectar, you can make homemade mango nectar using mango puree and simple syrup. Or, if you only have orange juice, you can make an orange nectar by combining one part orange juice with one part simple syrup.
- Licor 43 - you can substitute this by mixing together one part vodka with one part simple syrup, and add a dash of vanilla extract to taste. It won't be quite the same, but it will work in the drink.
- Cointreau - you can use a different brand of Triple Sec or Orange Curaçao, but only use half of the amount if you want the layers to stay distinct. Other brands of orange liqueur tend to have more sugar than Cointreau, which makes the liquid more dense and more likely to sink to the bottom.
- Whipped cream - just use a can of whipped cream if you won't be making your own. If you are avoiding dairy, you can make whipped cream using coconut cream, or use a store-bought dairy free whipped cream.
To make this drink, you'll need a serving glass (Martini glass), two heavy-bottomed glasses, a strainer, and a bar spoon for stirring and then pouring the layers. I love my bar spoon and Julep strainer from A Bar Above!
If you're making your own whipped cream, you'll also need a bowl and either a whisk or hand mixer. Or, a whipped cream dispenser is great to have on hand!
How to make Candy Corn Vodka
Making candy corn-infused vodka is so easy! Besides the vodka and candy corn, you'll need a glass container, a strainer and funnel, and a resealable bottle for storage.
Start out by adding your vodka to an airtight container. Glass is preferable to use for this, because some plastics will react with alcohol. I love using this chalkboard jar, since it is easy to label and keep track of what you're making.
Add your candy corn to the vodka, making sure that all of the candy is submerged in the liquid.
Seal up the container and let it sit for 12 to 24 hours. You can occasionally shake it up to help the infusion along. If you want it to go faster, you can break up the candy corn into smaller pieces and shake it more often.
Then, set the funnel into your storage bottle. Pour the infused vodka through a fine mesh strainer and through the funnel. Seal it up, and store it at room temperature until you're ready to use it.
If you're making your own whipped cream, start making this cocktail by combining the cream with the vanilla and powdered sugar. Once it's combined, either pour it into a whipped cream dispenser, or whip it with a whisk or hand mixer until you have soft peaks. Set it aside.
In a heavy-bottomed glass, combine the mango nectar and the Licor 43 together.
In a separate glass, combine the candy corn-infused vodka, the Cointreau and the orange juice.
Add ice to each glass, and stir them to chill and dilute the liquids.
Strain the yellow layer liquid (mango and Licor 43) into your serving glass, being careful to pour only into the center of the glass so you don't get any splashes on the sides.
Then, hold your bar spoon close to the liquid in the serving glass with the rounded side facing up, and slowly and carefully pour the orange layer liquid (candy corn-infused vodka, orange juice and Cointreau) into the glass. The slower you can pour, the more of a separation you'll get in the final drink.
Dispense your whipped cream to make a white layer on top. If you whipped the cream in a bowl, you can transfer it to a piping bag with a star tip, or just use a spoon to add it onto the cocktail.
Finally, add a few candy corn pieces to the top as a garnish, and serve.
Hint: if you want to make sure your martini glass will be full when the drink is assembled, measure how much liquid each glass holds. The glasses pictured above hold about 6½ ounces of liquid, which worked well for this recipe.
Frequently Asked Questions
Candy corn is a brightly colored, sugary candy, and it's usually associated with Halloween and the harvest season. It has a soft bite, similar to other fondant candies. Flavor wise, it mostly tastes like vanilla and marshmallow.
The main thing to keep in mind when trying to layer a drink is that the heaviest ingredients will sink to the bottom. Anything with dissolved sugar in it is going to be on the heavier side, so sweet liqueurs will easily sink below water or juice. Alcohol will float on top of water, as long as there is no sugar dissolved in it.
If you are making these drinks for a crowd, you can pre-mix the different colored layers in separate pitchers. Keep the pitchers in the fridge, and when you're ready to assemble the drinks, measure and pour the bottom layers and then the top layers.
Candy Corn Martini
- 2 Cocktail stirring glasses (heavy bottomed glass)
- 1 Whipped cream dispenser
- 1 Bowl (if not using a whipped cream dispenser or store bought whipped cream)
- 1 Whisk or hand mixer (if not using a whipped cream dispenser or store bought whipped cream)
Candy Corn Vodka
- ½ cup candy corn
- ½ cup vodka (or at least enough to fully cover the candy corn in the container)
Whipped Cream (for top layer) - see notes
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Yellow Layer (bottom)
- 1 ounce mango nectar
- ½ ounce Licor 43 liqueur
Orange Layer (middle)
- 1 ounce candy corn vodka
- 1 ounce Cointreau liqueur
- ½ ounce orange juice
- 5 pieces candy corn
Candy Corn Vodka
- Combine the candy corn and vodka in an airtight container. Leave it sealed, shaking occasionally, for at least 12 hours or up to a week.
- Strain out any remaining candy corn solids and bottle up the vodka. It will be a dark orange color and have a light vanilla flavor.
- If you are not using pre-made whipped cream for the top layer, combine the cream, powdered sugar and vanilla and stir until the sugar is fully dissolved.
- If you are using a whipped cream dispenser, add the mixture to the dispenser and set aside until you're ready to make the top layer.
- If you are whisking by hand or with a hand mixer, add the mixture to a bowl and whip until you have soft peaks.
Yellow and Orange Layers
- Combine the mango nectar and Licor 43 in a cocktail stirring glass.
- Combine the candy corn vodka, Cointreau and orange juice in a separate stirring glass.
- Add ice to both glasses and stir them separately, making sure the spoon is clean.
- Carefully strain the mango and Licor 43 mixture into the serving glass, taking care not to splash the liquid.
- Carefully strain the orange mixture into the serving glass, using the back of a spoon held close to the drink's surface to help the mixture float on top of the yellow layer.
- Dispense the whipped cream onto the top of the drink.
- Add the candy corn pieces on top of the whipped cream as a garnish, and serve.