Easter candy is dandy. But Easter candy paired with booze? Now that's something to put a spring in your step.
So we asked wine and spirits connoisseurs to come up with something the adults can sip on while the youngsters hunt for sugary splendors in the grass.
Jelly beans: Wine and chocolate can be a tricky pairing. But wine and fruity jelly beans? That can work.
Austin Hope, president of the Paso Robles' winery Hope Family Wines suggests a glass of Treana white wine with a handful, or two, of jelly beans. The wine is made up of equal parts marsanne and viognier grapes and has hints of almond and honey. Paired with fruit-flavored jelly beans -- juicy pear, orange, peach or lemon -- the wine's crisp taste cuts through the sugary sweetness of the candy.
Or if black licorice jelly beans are more your style -- Somebody must eat those things, right? -- try them paired with a late bottled port.
Peeps: Yes, the vividly hued marshmallow treats are a pairing challenge, but not an insurmountable one.
Daniel Cubicciotti, brand ambassador for port producers The Fladgate Partnership, suggests making a "PINK blossom," a cocktail made from mixing 3 ounces Croft PINK port and 1 ounce elderflower liqueur, then topping it with 2 ounces of a sparkling wine, such as Domaine Carneros Brut 2009. The bright berry flavors of the rose port add a spring freshness to the nostalgic sweetness of the chewy candies.
For a different take, Taryne Dixon, director of food and beverages at the Circa 59 restaurant in Palm Springs, Calif., suggests adding some bourbon to your basket with the Little Bo(urbon) Peep cocktail.
In a cocktail shaker, mix one egg white (use pasteurized if raw eggs are a concern) with ¼ ounce Frangelico, shaking thoroughly to create a frothy mix. Add 1¼ ounces bourbon and 1 ounce amaretto, then top with ice, shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with the Peeps of your choice. The bourbon does a nice job of balancing out the sweetness of the Peep and the cordials, says Dixon.
"Plus, nothing says Easter better than a cocktail with chicks and eggs," he says.
And Niccole Trzaska of The Liberty bar in New York City has this suggestion -- mixing flavored vodka with chocolate liqueur for a candy-like concoction she calls the Peep-tini. Start by dipping the moistened rim of a chilled martini glass in sugar to coat. Combine 1½ ounces Sobieski Lemon Meringue Vodka with ½ ounce white chocolate liqueur and 1 ounce heavy cream in an ice-filled shaker. Shake and strain into glass. Garnish with a Peep.
Cadbury Creme Eggs: Chocolate creme eggs come on strong with their thick milk chocolate shell and rich, gooey filling. So you want to look for a wine with some heft. Cubicciotti suggests a slightly chilled glass of Taylor Fladgate 10-year-old Tawny Porto to stand up to the richness of the candy with its rich, fruity flavors and notes of caramel. This fortified wine also would be a good match for another Easter classic, Jordan Almonds.
Hollow chocolate eggs: Trzaska has come up with a Sriracha spiced cocktail, the Hippity-Hot, that she says is "oddly delicious" with those ubiquitous foil-wrapped hollow chocolate eggs (a bunny would work here, too). In a shaker, she mixes 1½ ounces vodka, ¼ ounce vanilla liqueur, ¼ ounce lime juice, ¼ ounce cranberry juice, a drizzle of Sriracha and a dash of simple syrup. Then she shakes and strains into a glass and garnishes with a lime wheel.
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