The Return of Rummy Bears: Cocktail-Inspired Drunken Gummies

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[Photographs: Vicky Wasik]

Remember that time we made rummy bears?

Yes, rummy bears. Gummy bears—and other gummies—soaked in some booze for a sugary, surprisingly punchy kick. It's not often we take our culinary cues from teenagers, and we don't condone underage drinking, gummy-assisted or otherwise, but a good idea is a good idea, and rummy bears—little gummies with swollen alcohol bellies—are a very good idea.

Last time, we started with plain Haribo bears soaked in rum but ventured into new territory with Old Fashioned penguins, Hot Teddies, and of course Negroni bears.

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It was a good start, but a pretty bear-centric one. There's a whole universe of gummies out there that deserve a good swim in a bowl full of hooch, and we set out to explore them all.

But first, need a primer on how to make rummy bears of your own? Here's our original bear boozemeister, Erin Zimmer:

Pour enough liquid over the gummies to completely immerse and cover them, with a little liquid peeking out on top. How long should they infuse? Many sources suggest three to four days in the fridge. We left them sitting out on the countertop and after a few hours, their little bear bellies swelled up and they already tasted pretty boozy. Between five to eight hours was the sweet spot for us to achieve the best squish. The bears will lose their firm chew and take on a texture of jiggly Jell-O. They should still be pleasantly squishy, not liquefied. Over-infuse them and they'll just become a gelatinous mess of bear ooze.

This is a good rule of thumb for any gummy you try. Also a truth worth recalling: rummmy gummies are strong juju, and even if you're a seasoned drinker, their potency may take you by surprise.

With that out of the way, meet the next stars of your next cocktail party:

Blue Hawiian Bears

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What happens when you take a pineapple-flavored gummy bear, give it a sour blue raspberry inner tube, and set it afloat in some rum? The best thing since little tiki umbrellas.

Bonus points if you set up a little beach scene.

Whiskey Sour Patch Kids

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A long soak in booze dissolves most of the citric acid crystals that coat Sour Patch Kids, but this was a pun too good to ignore. Sweet bourbon and peppery rye work equally well, but for maximum sour effect, add a small amount of Sour Patch Kids to your booze bowl just a few minutes before serving. They'll pick up some whiskey sweetness while keeping their sourness largely intact.

Watermelon Margaritas

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Think the softer, fruitier Sour Patch watermelons are the best of the sour gummy line-up? You're not alone. But you know what makes them better? Some tequila.

Jack and Coke Bottles

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The sweet-sour cola flavor of gummy Coke bottles is an eery close-ringer for a real bottle of Coke. And it plays just as well with a slurp of Jack Daniels.

Manhattan Cherries

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Sure, you could mix bourbon, vermouth, and some bitters with cherry-flavored gummy bears, but when gummy mega-store Economy Candy is a short walk away, these cherry gummies just call out to you. Our Manhattan recipe calls for a 2:1 ratio of whiskey to sweet vermouth with a few dashes of bitters, but make your rummy gummies however you like your Manhattan.

Tequila Worms

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At this point we all know that worms in bottles of tequila or mezcal aren't that great of a thing, right? Well, forget all that highfalutin' spirits snobbery and shove some worms right back into the bottle. Look at how excited these worms are for a drink!

Apple Pie Frogs

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What are my favorite gummies? The green-apple-flavored frogs with a dense chew cut by a tender marshmallow cream bottom. What's the perfect pairing for them? Try Zubrowka, Eastern European bison grass vodka, one of a few flavored vodkas that's actually delicious. The spirit's grassy, creamy flavors are the perfect match for the frog, and the pairing actually mimics a common Zubrowka cocktail: a sharlotka or apple pie, i.e. Zubrowka mixed with apple juice. Za vashe zdorovie!

And Some Gratuitous Bear Beach Scenes

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Photographer Vicky got pretty into this gummy bear beach party, so I'd be remiss not to share these photos with you all. Happy rummy bearing!

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