Jolly Rancher Moonshine


Jolly Rancher Moonshine: A Sweet Twist on a Classic

There’s something uniquely comforting about the blend of apple, cinnamon, and the surprising burst of Jolly Rancher flavors. This Jolly Rancher Moonshine recipe combines the nostalgic taste of Jolly Rancher candies with the warmth of apple cider and juice, creating a deliciously sweet and tangy beverage perfect for any gathering. Whether you’re reminiscing about childhood treats or looking to impress guests with a unique homemade drink, this moonshine will surely become a favorite.

Ingredients Overview

Apple Juice: Using a gallon of apple juice provides a sweet, fruity base for the moonshine. Opt for natural or organic apple juice for a richer flavor.

Apple Cider: A gallon of apple cider adds a tangy, spiced note that complements the apple juice. Ensure it’s unfiltered for the best taste.

Cinnamon Sticks: Four cinnamon sticks infuse the moonshine with a warm, spicy aroma, balancing the sweetness of the candies and sugars.

White Sugar: One cup of white sugar enhances the sweetness, ensuring the final product is pleasantly sugary.

Brown Sugar: One cup of brown sugar adds a molasses-like depth, giving the moonshine a rich, caramelized flavor.

Jolly Rancher Candies: Ten Jolly Rancher candies (of each color/flavor) bring a burst of fruity, tangy sweetness, making this moonshine a fun, colorful treat.

Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions

Combine Base Ingredients: In a large pot, combine the apple juice, apple cider, cinnamon sticks, white sugar, and brown sugar. This forms the flavorful base for your moonshine.

Heat Mixture: Heat the mixture over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugars and prevent sticking. Bring it to a boil.

Simmer and Infuse: Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally to ensure even flavor distribution.

Prepare Jolly Ranchers: While the mixture simmers, unwrap the Jolly Rancher candies and sort them by color/flavor. This step makes it easier to evenly distribute the candies later.

Cool Slightly and Add Candies: After simmering, remove the pot from heat and let it cool slightly. Add the Jolly Rancher candies to the pot and stir until they have completely dissolved, infusing the mixture with their vibrant flavors.

Cool Completely: Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature. This ensures the flavors meld together perfectly.

Strain the Mixture: Once cooled, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove any candy residue or cinnamon sticks. This step ensures a smooth final product.

Bottle the Moonshine: Pour the strained liquid into clean, sterilized mason jars or bottles. Seal them tightly.

Store and Develop Flavors: Store the sealed jars or bottles in a cool, dark place for at least 2 weeks. This aging process allows the flavors to meld and develop, resulting in a richer, more complex moonshine.

Serve and Enjoy: After 2 weeks, your Jolly Rancher Moonshine is ready to enjoy! Serve chilled or over ice, and enjoy responsibly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of apple juice should I use?
Use natural or organic apple juice for the best flavor. Avoid using apple juice with added sugars or artificial flavors.

Can I use different flavors of Jolly Ranchers?
Yes, feel free to experiment with different flavors to create a unique blend. You can mix and match or stick to one flavor.

How long can I store the moonshine?
When stored properly in a cool, dark place, the moonshine can last for several months. Ensure the jars are sealed tightly.

Can I use artificial sweeteners instead of sugar?
Using artificial sweeteners might alter the taste and texture of the moonshine. It’s best to stick to white and brown sugar for this recipe.

Is this moonshine alcoholic?
No, this recipe does not contain alcohol. It’s a fun, non-alcoholic beverage that mimics the name and process of making traditional moonshine.

Can I add alcohol to this recipe?
If you want to make it alcoholic, you can add a neutral spirit like vodka after the mixture has cooled completely.

Do I need to refrigerate the moonshine?
Refrigeration is not necessary, but you can store the moonshine in the fridge if you prefer it chilled.

Can I use powdered cinnamon instead of cinnamon sticks?
Cinnamon sticks are preferred for a smoother infusion, but you can use powdered cinnamon in a pinch. Use about 1-2 teaspoons.

What if I don’t have a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth?
You can use a regular strainer lined with a coffee filter or a clean kitchen towel as an alternative.

How many servings does this recipe make?
This recipe makes several servings, depending on the size of your serving glasses. Typically, you can expect to get about 16-20 servings.

Can I use homemade apple cider?
Yes, homemade apple cider can be used and will add a unique, personal touch to the moonshine.

What’s the best way to serve Jolly Rancher Moonshine?
Serve it chilled or over ice. You can also garnish with fresh apple slices or a cinnamon stick.

Can I adjust the sweetness level?
Yes, you can adjust the amount of white and brown sugar to suit your taste preferences.

Why do I need to let the mixture simmer?
Simmering allows the flavors to meld and develop, ensuring a rich, balanced taste.

Is it safe to store in mason jars?
Yes, as long as the jars are clean and sterilized, they are safe for storing your moonshine.

Can I add other spices to this recipe?
Feel free to experiment with additional spices like cloves or nutmeg for a unique twist.

What if the Jolly Ranchers don’t fully dissolve?
Ensure the mixture is warm enough to help the candies dissolve. Stirring frequently can also help.

Can I use a different type of sugar?
You can experiment with other types of sugar like coconut sugar, but it may alter the flavor profile.

Can I use this recipe for a party?
Absolutely! Jolly Rancher Moonshine makes a fun and unique beverage for parties and gatherings.

How do I ensure the moonshine is smooth and free of residue?
Strain the mixture carefully and use a fine-mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove any residue.

20 Helpful Tips

Tip 1: Use high-quality apple juice and cider for the best flavor.

Tip 2: Ensure the Jolly Ranchers are fully dissolved before bottling.

Tip 3: Sterilize your jars or bottles to prevent contamination.

Tip 4: Label your jars with the date you made the moonshine.

Tip 5: Experiment with different candy flavors for a unique twist.

Tip 6: Store the moonshine in a cool, dark place to enhance flavor development.

Tip 7: Add a splash of lemon juice for a tangy twist.

Tip 8: Use a slow simmer to avoid scorching the sugars.

Tip 9: Stir the mixture frequently to ensure even flavor distribution.

Tip 10: Serve over ice for a refreshing treat.

Tip 11: Add a cinnamon stick to each bottle for extra flavor.

Tip 12: Garnish with fresh apple slices for a decorative touch.

Tip 13: Use a large pot to prevent boiling over.

Tip 14: Keep an eye on the mixture while it simmers to avoid burning.

Tip 15: Use a funnel to pour the mixture into jars without spilling.

Tip 16: Allow the moonshine to age for at least two weeks for the best flavor.

Tip 17: Add a splash of club soda for a fizzy version.

Tip 18: Use natural sugars for a more wholesome taste.

Tip 19: Try using flavored apple ciders for a unique twist.

Tip 20: Serve in mason jars for a rustic, charming presentation.

10 Storage Tips

Tip 1: Store in a cool, dark place to prevent spoilage.

Tip 2: Ensure jars are sealed tightly to maintain freshness.

Tip 3: Label jars with the date for easy tracking.

Tip 4: Refrigerate after opening to extend shelf life.

Tip 5: Keep away from direct sunlight to preserve flavor.

Tip 6: Store in small batches to maintain quality.

Tip 7: Avoid storing near strong-smelling foods to prevent flavor absorption.

Tip 8: Use sterilized containers to prevent bacterial growth.

Tip 9: Check seals regularly to ensure they remain tight.

Tip 10: Consume within 6 months for optimal flavor.

20 Recipe Secrets

Secret 1: Adding a touch of vanilla extract enhances the overall flavor.

Secret 2: Using freshly grated nutmeg adds a warm, spicy note.

Secret 3: A dash of ground cloves can deepen the flavor profile.

Secret 4: Infusing with fresh ginger adds a subtle spicy kick.

Secret 5: Using different types of apples in your cider and juice can add complexity.

Secret 6: Allowing the moonshine to age longer enhances the depth of flavor.

Secret 7: Experiment with adding a splash of bourbon for a smoky twist.

Secret 8: Using raw honey instead of sugar can create a more natural sweetness.

Secret 9: A pinch of sea salt can balance out the sweetness and enhance the flavors.

Secret 10: Adding a few slices of citrus (like orange or lemon) can add a refreshing note.

Secret 11: Toasted spices (like toasted cinnamon sticks) can provide a richer flavor.

Secret 12: Using dark brown sugar instead of light can give a deeper caramel flavor.

Secret 13: Infusing with a small amount of fresh herbs (like rosemary) can add an unexpected twist.

Secret 14: A drop of almond extract can add a unique, nutty undertone.

Secret 15: Blending different flavors of Jolly Ranchers can create a fun, mixed-fruit taste.

Secret 16: Adding a bit of black pepper can introduce a subtle, spicy warmth.

Secret 17: Allowing the mixture to cool slowly can help meld the flavors better.

Secret 18: Adding a small amount of fruit puree (like peach or cherry) can enhance the fruitiness.

Secret 19: Using a combination of white and brown sugar can balance the sweetness.

Secret 20: Serving the moonshine with a cinnamon-sugar rimmed glass can add an extra touch of flavor and presentation.

Additional Content Sections

History and Inspiration Behind Jolly Rancher Moonshine

Jolly Rancher candies have been a beloved treat since their introduction in the 1940s. Known for their bold, tangy flavors and vibrant colors, these candies have inspired countless recipes, including this creative twist on traditional moonshine. This recipe captures the essence of childhood nostalgia while adding a grown-up twist, making it perfect for both nostalgic gatherings and modern-day parties.

Pairing Suggestions

Pairing Jolly Rancher Moonshine with complementary dishes can elevate your tasting experience. Consider serving it alongside:

  • Spicy Barbecue Ribs: The sweet and tangy moonshine complements the smoky, spicy flavors of barbecue.
  • Cheese Platter: A selection of sharp and creamy cheeses pairs well with the fruity notes of the moonshine.
  • Fresh Fruit Salad: The refreshing, sweet flavors of a fruit salad harmonize with the moonshine’s vibrant taste.
  • Light Desserts: Think lemon bars, shortbread cookies, or vanilla ice cream, which won’t overpower the drink’s flavors.

Fun Serving Ideas

  • Moonshine Cocktails: Mix Jolly Rancher Moonshine with club soda, ginger ale, or lemon-lime soda for a refreshing cocktail.
  • Moonshine Popsicles: Pour the moonshine into popsicle molds and freeze for a fun, adult-friendly treat.
  • Themed Parties: Serve the moonshine in mason jars with colorful straws at summer parties or picnics.

Frequently Asked Questions (continued)

Can I make this recipe in a slow cooker?
Yes, you can combine the ingredients in a slow cooker and let it cook on low for 2-3 hours. Ensure to stir occasionally.

What is the best way to sterilize jars?
Wash the jars in hot, soapy water, then place them in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Let them air dry completely.

Can I add fresh fruit to the jars?
Adding fresh fruit can infuse additional flavors, but it may reduce the shelf life of the moonshine. Consume within a week if adding fresh fruit.

How can I make the moonshine less sweet?
Reduce the amount of white and brown sugar to suit your taste preferences.

Is there a way to make the moonshine more potent?
If you prefer a stronger flavor, you can add more Jolly Rancher candies or let the moonshine age longer.

Can I reuse the cinnamon sticks?
Yes, you can rinse and dry the cinnamon sticks to use in other recipes or to make another batch of moonshine.

Can I use flavored apple cider?
Yes, flavored apple cider can add an interesting twist to your moonshine. Try different flavors to find your favorite combination.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of moonshine?
This recipe is already non-alcoholic, but you can add a neutral spirit like vodka if you want an alcoholic version.

How can I make the moonshine clearer?
Straining the mixture thoroughly through cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve will help remove any residue, resulting in a clearer moonshine.

Can I use other types of candy?
Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with other hard candies, like Life Savers or Werther’s Originals, for different flavors.

What type of cinnamon sticks should I use?
Use high-quality, fresh cinnamon sticks for the best flavor. Ceylon cinnamon is often preferred for its milder taste.

Can I store the moonshine in plastic containers?
It’s best to use glass jars or bottles to avoid any potential chemical interactions with plastic.

How can I enhance the apple flavor?
Adding a bit of concentrated apple juice or apple extract can boost the apple flavor.

Why does my moonshine have a bitter taste?
Overheating or burning the sugars can result in a bitter taste. Ensure to simmer gently and stir frequently.

Can I use sugar substitutes like Stevia?
Using sugar substitutes might alter the taste and texture. If you must use a substitute, start with a small batch to test the flavor.

What if my moonshine crystallizes?
If the sugar crystallizes, gently reheat the mixture while stirring until the crystals dissolve.

Can I add alcohol after making the moonshine?
Yes, if you prefer an alcoholic version, you can add a neutral spirit like vodka after the mixture has cooled completely.

Why is aging the moonshine important?
Aging allows the flavors to meld and develop, resulting in a richer, more complex beverage.

Can I use flavored Jolly Ranchers?
Yes, flavored Jolly Ranchers can add an extra layer of taste to your moonshine. Experiment to find your favorite combination.

Is it safe to consume if left out overnight?
While it’s best to store the moonshine in a cool, dark place, it should be safe if left out overnight. Ensure it is properly sealed to prevent contamination.


Jolly Rancher Moonshine is a delightful, nostalgic beverage that brings together the best of childhood memories and adult creativity. With its vibrant colors, sweet flavors, and simple preparation, it’s perfect for any occasion. Follow these detailed instructions and tips to create your own batch of this unique moonshine, and enjoy sharing it with friends and family.

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