Jolly Rancher Cocktail

Jolly Rancher cocktails garnished with orange wedges

The Spruce Eats

Prep: 3 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serving: 1 serving
Yield: 1 cocktail
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
178 Calories
0g Fat
24g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 178
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 8mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Total Sugars 22g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 48mg 238%
Calcium 30mg 2%
Iron 0mg 1%
Potassium 119mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Remember those hard Jolly Rancher candies you couldn't resist as a kid? You're going to love them even more as an adult because it's time to enjoy the Jolly Rancher as a cocktail.

The Jolly Rancher is a great way to dress up the popular Cape Cod (or vodka cranberry). It is, quite simply, a mix of apple vodka, peach schnapps, and cranberry juice. The three ingredients come together for a refreshing mixed drink with a sweet, fruity taste that's similar to the candy.

This fruity recipe is incredibly easy to make and a quick, cheap mixed drink. It's also versatile enough to be served as a stylish martini, a fruity punch, or a tasty party shot. You can even use the actual candy to make colorful Jolly Rancher-infused vodkas and pour that into the drink.


Click Play to See This Easy Jolly Rancher Cocktail Recipe Come Together

"This drink tastes just like a Jolly Rancher, which means this cocktail tastes good. Drinks named after candy seem a little juvenile, but this one is a lot better than similar drinks of the same ilk. The cranberry helps keep it from being too tart and syrupy. Overall, it's pretty delightful." —Tom Macy

Jolly Rancher cocktails garnished with orange wedges
A Note From Our Recipe Tester


  • 1 ounce green apple vodka

  • 1 ounce peach schnapps

  • 4 ounces cranberry juice

  • Orange wedge, for garnish

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients fro Jolly Rancher cocktail recipe gathered

    The Spruce Eats

  2. Pour the vodka and peach schnapps into a highball glass filled with ice.

    Jar of cranberry juice and vodka and schnapps in cocktail glass with a bowl of oranges

    The Spruce Eats

  3. Top with cranberry juice and stir.

    Jolly Rancher cocktail with stirrer and a bowl of orange slices

    The Spruce Eats

  4. Garnish with an orange wedge. Serve and enjoy.

    Two Jolly Rancher cocktails with straws and orange wedge garnishes

    The Spruce Eats

Recipe Variations

The Jolly Rancher can be served however you like and modified to fit any occasion, from casual to fancy.

  • To make the highball version a little more refreshing, top the Jolly Rancher with ginger ale or another clear soda.
  • Transform your Jolly Rancher into a high-class martini by shaking the ingredients and serving it "up" in a cocktail glass.
  • This recipe is an ideal candidate for a party punch. Keep the ingredients in proportion and scale the recipe up. A little ginger ale or club soda will add a nice sparkle as well.
  • Create a Jolly Rancher shot that goes down smoother than most. Pour 1 ounce of each ingredient, shake the drink with ice, then strain it into two or three separate shot glasses.
  • The Jolly Rancher is the perfect candidate for a fun jello shot, too. Just pick up a package of cranberry gelatin and skip the juice.

Choose an Apple Vodka

You will find no shortage of apple vodka options. A homemade apple vodka infusion is one of easiest and a great project for beginners. There are also plenty of apple-flavored vodkas available on the market.

If you prefer to buy your vodka, any liquor store should have at least a couple of options. They range from inexpensive to top-shelf and can be crystal clear or bright green. A green-colored vodka will alter the look of the drink, but that's perfectly fine because the Jolly Rancher is all about the taste.

Among the apple vodkas available, four stand out from the crowd:

  • UV Green: This is the greenest of all green apple vodkas you will find. A bottle doesn't cost much at all and the color is a fun addition to any bar. If you like UV Blue, you'll love this one.

  • Smirnoff Green Apple: Many liquor stores stock a nice selection of Smirnoff's flavored vodkas and it's one of the best budget-friendly brands. Their green apple vodka is as clear as any unflavored vodka and it tastes pretty good for the price.

  • Effen Green Apple: If you're looking for a top-shelf vodka, Effen Green Apple is one of the best options. It has a super clean taste and the green apple flavor is true to the source. 

  • Van Gogh Wild Appel: It may not be flavored with green apples, but it does have a great apple flavor. Van Gogh's apple is another premium option and it's typically pretty easy to find.

How Strong Is the Jolly Rancher?

The Jolly Rancher is a very mild cocktail, which makes it perfect for happy hour or anytime you want a casual mixed drink. Most flavored vodkas are bottled at 35 percent alcohol by volume (ABV, 70 proof), so they're a little lighter than standard vodka. When you mix that with the popular Peachtree (24 percent ABV), the drink weighs in around 9 percent ABV (18 proof).

Do Jolly Rancher Candies Dissolve in Vodka?

Hard candies like Jolly Ranchers make a fun vodka infusion that's brightly colored and has a sweet, fruity taste. It's incredibly easy because the candy dissolves in the liquor, and the process is faster than most infused vodkas. You can try this with white rum or blanco tequila, too.

  1. Use about 10 to 15 candies for every cup of vodka. Divide them by color and make multiple infusions of different flavors at one time.
  2. Drop unwrapped candies into a jar and fill with vodka. Seal and let sit for about 12 to 24 hours, or until the candy is completely dissolved. To speed it up, shake the jar every couple of hours. Unlike other candy infusions (such as Skittles), there's no need to filter it.
  3. Use the candy-flavored vodka in the Jolly Rancher cocktail, pour a shot, top it with soda, or enjoy it however you like.

The candy's sugar naturally adds a little sweetness to the vodka. Some people like to build on that and make it more like a liqueur than a vodka. The easiest way to do that is to mix simple syrup into the finished infusion. Start small, with just 1/2 ounce of syrup for 1 cup of vodka, shake the jar, taste, and add more syrup to suit your taste.