When it comes to modern love, as the saying goes, candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker. But I confess: There is one V-Day candy I enjoy. Imperial Hearts are just Red Hots made into little heart shapes, and yet they somehow taste different, better. Perhaps it's because they are a metaphor for the day. Romance should be sweet, of course, but the heat of passion rescues it from being insipid. And made into a sweet-spicy liqueur, well, be still my beating heart. A dribble of this lurid liqueur will turn even the cheapest sparkling wine into an absolute aphrodisiac. Don't over-invest on the vodka for this liqueur; remember, you're mixing it with candy. The final product will be alarmingly, glowingly red, and offers 100-percent US RDA of corn syrup, artificial flavors and red no. 40.
Recipe courtesy of Sean Timberlake
Red Hot Liqueur
10 min
10 min
2 cups
10 min
10 min
2 cups


  • 1 cup spicy red candies, such as Red Hots or Imperial Hearts
  • 1 pint vodka


Place the candy in a large zip-top bag and pound with a mallet to break them into irregular pieces. Pour the broken candy into a food processor and pulse until a fine powder. This is a fantastically loud process. If you do not break up the candy prior to putting it in the food processor, they will simply tumble around and clatter like marbles.

Pour the pulverized candy into a quart Mason jar, and pour the vodka over. Add the lid and shake to dissolve. The finer the powder, the faster it will dissolve, as in within seconds.

When the candy is dissolved to your liking, pour through a fine mesh sieve to strain, and bottle. Will keep approximately forever.

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