Cotton candy brings us back to those childhood days at the boardwalk, circus or county fair, when nothing was quite so satisfying as plucking a brightly-colored cloud of sugar off of a paper cone and melting it in our mouths. While the days of ordering this airy confection are behind us, we can still enjoy cotton candy as adults when it’s served alongside whimsical, delicious cocktails. These fun, puffy garnishes instantly dissolve into the drink like magic, which sweetens the cocktail or changes its color while providing nostalgic joy and Instagram-worthy entertainment. To feel like a kid again without giving up your adult libation, check out eight of our favorite cotton candy cocktails around the United States.
'Last Week Tonight' Writer Josh Gondelman Takes Shots, Talks About Working For John Oliver
Bon Bon St-Germain Spritz
This warm weather spritz from Miami Beach restaurant Villa Azur combines floral St-Germain elderflower liqueur with fruity strawberry purée, lemon juice and bubbly Prosecco. It’s garnished with a skewered piece of pink and blue cotton candy, which you can either snack on or stir into your drink for extra sweetness.
This cocktail was originally created for National Cotton Candy Day on December 7 but has since stayed on the bistro’s menu. And this isn’t your typical county fair fluff—organic mango-chile cotton candy sits atop a mixture of gin, lemon juice and muddled strawberries. Bright orange Mango Moscato then gets poured over the drink, which melts the flavor-filled cotton candy into the cocktail.
Cotton Candy Cocktail
Straw, San Francisco, CA
This cocktail’s straightforward name should tip you off that it’s all about the cotton candy. Patrons of the San Francisco bar receive a lowball glass overflowing with bright blue cotton candy alongside a Mason jar filled with vodka-infused sake and sparkling wine, poured tableside by the server.
Las Vegas loves flair bartending, so it’s no surprise that cotton candy cocktails can be found on the Strip. This playful yet elegant cocktail uses Grey Goose Cherry Noir vodka, white cranberry juice, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and a pink cotton candy garnish in a delicate Nick and Nora glass. It’s particularly mesmerizing to watch it being poured in reverse on their Instagram.
Caramel Apple Cocktail
Mosaic, Richmond, VA
This Virginia restaurant only offered this fall-flavored tipple for National Cotton Candy Day, but we have our fingers crossed that the drink will return to the menu this upcoming season. Inspired by harvest festival favorites like candied apples, it combines apple brandy, house-made apple cider and caramel sauce with a handful of salted caramel-flavored cotton candy that’s melted into the mixture.
At José Andrés’ South Beach outpost, a Miami favorite receives a modern makeover. This Mojito has all the ingredients of the classic—light rum, fresh lime juice, mint and sugar—in the form of cotton candy. When the drink gets poured tableside, a cloud of dry ice envelops the glass, creating a “magical,” potion-like effect.
Cotton Candy Cosmopolitan
The Kylie Jenner-approved, candy-bombed Sugar Factory chain knows a thing or two about incorporating sweet treats into their social media-friendly cocktails. In their Cotton Candy Cosmopolitan, they don’t just garnish the neon pink drink with a puff of cotton candy, they use cotton candy-flavored Pinnacle vodka. Word to the wise: Make sure you have a follow-up dentist appointment scheduled after your visit.
Giant Cotton Candy Cocktail
The insane signature drink from this California barbecue restaurant is indeed giant, measuring in at three feet tall. A massive Martini glass is rimmed with a thick layer of cotton candy and filled with vodka, peach schnapps, orange juice, cranberry juice and pineapple juice. And because apparently people keep asking, yes, you can take the novelty glass home for the low-low cost of $98.50, drink price not included.