I created this Peaches & Cream (Candy) Corn Fizz as my submission to the final round of the Mionetto Canada cocktail competition. For this round, all ten finalists were provided with a mystery box with a bottle of Mionetto Prosecco and three mystery ingredients.
We were asked to incorporate at least one of the mystery ingredients into our cocktail. The box contained: peaches, orange-flavoured dark chocolate, and candy corn. They picked these ingredients to get us to “Think Orange” – unfortunately the only candy corn in stock at our Ottawa baking supply stores was “Easter candy corn” meaning, instead of being orange, it was a rainbow of pastel shades.
It was definitely a bit of a head-scratcher – lots of sweet ingredients to try to incorporate into a single drink. Once my creative juices got flowing, I realized I could kill two birds with one stone by making a peach syrup that used the sweet candy corn as a sugar substitute.
I like to make peach syrup in the microwave as opposed to the stovetop method I use for nearly all my other handcrafted syrups. The microwave method yields a better peach flavour and prevents the syrup from veering into jam territory.
Once again, I had the help of my very talented friend, John-Finnigan Lin with the videography on this little number:
In order to get the candy corn into a workable state as a sugar substitute, I popped them in the freezer for 20 minutes to harden. When I pulled them out I threw them straight into my spice grinder to pulverize into dust.
In my first experiment I made peach syrup in my usual method, swapping out all the sugar for candy corn dust. Well, I hadn’t factored in the corn syrup component in the candy corn which resulted in a sticky, tacky mess that melted the two layers of cling wrap directly onto the peaches. It was a failed experiment.
The second time around instead of doing a full 3/4 cup of candy corn dust, I used 1/4 cup candy corn dust and topped it up with 1/2 cup sugar. This was much more successful. I threw in a few sprigs of fresh thyme to add a touch of herbal freshness and balance out the sweetness.
I wanted to compliment the stone fruit palate and honey aromatics from the Mionetto and also wanted to challenge conception of what a sparkling wine cocktail can be – thinking beyond the flute.
Mionetto has a long legacy of making beautiful wine – dating back to 1887 – as such, I wanted to adapt a classic cocktail with a similarly rich history. When I saw the peaches in the mystery box, I immediately jumped to “peaches and cream.” I briefly contemplated doing a milk punch and then it dawned on me. I could adapt the classic Ramos Gin Fizz by swapping out the soda water for Mionetto Prosecco.
I thought the Ramos Gin Fizz was perfect because it was created just one year after wine-maker Francesco Mionetto founded his winery in the rolling hills of Valdobbiadene. I swapped out gin for a chamomile-infused rye. It sounds really fancy but all you need to do is steep 1 chamomile teabag or 1 tbsp of loose leaf chamomile tea in 1 cup of rye for 1 hour and 45 minutes.
I wanted to do the tea infusion to add a layer of complexity to the dry, spicy character of the rye and draw out the honey notes in the Prosecco. The rest of the components align pretty nicely with a classic Ramos Gin Fizz: cream, lemon juice, and an egg white.
I swapped out the standard orange flower water for 3 dashes of orange bitters – to make it more accessible for home bartenders.
It’s a real workout to make a Fizz because it requires both a dry shake (without ice) and wet shake (with ice). Famously, the Imperial Cabinet Saloon, where the Ramos Gin Fizz originated, would have 20 bartenders solely dedicated to shaking up the immensely popular cocktail that had a 12-minute mixing time.
I topped it all off with a slice of peach dipped in the final mystery box ingredient, orange-flavoured dark chocolate. The finished product is a delicious, adults-only milkshake, best consumed while nice and cold.
I should find out how I fared in the Mionetto cocktail competition later this week and I’ll be sure to report back! Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Steep teabag or loose leaf tea in the rye for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Remove tea and store at room temperature until ready to use.