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Where: Cuba Libre, 801 9th St. NW

Bartender: Vance Henderson

Mystery Ingredient: Sour Patch Kids

Bartender Response: Henderson grabbed the jumbo size bag of candy, then confessed he’s not really into Sour Patch Kids. “But I am a big gummy bear fan,” he said.

What We Got: A Caipirinha made with a basil-infused Sour Patch Kids simple syrup

How It Tasted: Like Sour Patch Kids in liquid form. The drink was mouth-puckeringly sweet, but then so are Sour Patch Kids. You know when you get the very thing you hope for, then realize you don’t really want it? It was sort of like that. I’d prefer it with a little less superfine sugar so that the essence of the caipirinha shines through, with lime cutting all that sweetness.

Improv Points: 3. The half-dissolved little candies floating in the drink added a playful element, while basil in the syrup gave it some class.


1 ounce of Basil-Sour Patch Kids Syrup*

2 ounces of cachaça

2 lime slices

Splash of lime juice

Splash of guarapo (fresh sugar cane juice)

1 teaspoon of superfine sugar, or 1/2 teaspoon for less sweet cocktail

Combine above ingredients, muddle, shake with ice, pour into glass, and serve with garnish of Sour Patch Kids.

*Basil-Sour Patch Kids Syrup

¾ cup of Sour Patch Kids

½ cup water

½ cup superfine sugar

8 leaves of torn basil

Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and simmer on low until the mixture has thickened, about seven minutes. Let cool. Remove basil.

Got ideas for our next mystery ingredient? Let us know in the comments.

Photo by Adele Chapin