Are clowns the new zombie? I kind of hope so. I’m more sick of zombies now than I was of vampires a few years back.
Thanks to some recent films and TV shows clowns are every where. And, hey, remember a few years ago when creepy clowns kept popping up all over the place? Clowns are scary. After the new “It” movie came out a little while back there was an influx of articles telling us just why we don’t like clowns—their human faces with accentuated and contoured features make our brains think “danger”.
And then there’s the king of the creepy clowns, John Wayne Gacy. The KFC franchise-owning contractor that moonlighted as Pogo, the world’s creepiest and worst clown ever, all the while being responsible for the murders of 30+ young boys. He would purposefully paint his clown face with harsh edges and sharp corners, perhaps to look more sinister, unnecessary though it may have been. His last meal was fried chicken, shrimp, and a pound of strawberries.
This cocktail here is NOT to honor the likes of Gacy—far from it—but I like the idea, this thing of something’s appearance playing tricks on your mind. It starts by infusing some vodka with Sour Patch Kids—the orange ones specifically. Their sweetness and lip-puckering sourness leeches out into the vodka all the while dying it the most Day-Glo of oranges. It looks, when the cocktail is mixed, innocently enough, like any other orange cocktail. But take one sip and you’ll realize things aren’t quite what they seem.
The same could be said for the chicken. I mean, you kind of want some crispy and fried with drinks, right? I cut up some chicken breasts and soak them in buttermilk with a little hot sauce. I dredge them in flour cut with a little cornstarch (for flakiness) and rice flour (for crispiness) before frying them in hot oil. The crowning glory of it all is the red chili infused honey that the crispy nuggets of chicken are tossed in right before serving. Crispy and crunchy, savory, sweet, spicy and, with the cocktail, sour. You essentially have it all.
So go soak some candy in vodka (don’t eat them afterwards though… they’re truly awful), fry some chicken, and join me. We can watch true crime docs on Netflix. It’s real dark stuff, I know. I need a drink.
And follow me on BLOGLOVIN’. It’ll be fun. I have fried chicken.
Simply enough, put the candy in a large jar that can eventually fit the vodka as well—a large mason jar will do the trick. Pour over the vodka, screw on the lid, and give it a little shake. Stash it in a cool dark place for 24 hours. Once it's properly infused, strain it through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. Discard the candy (they're really gross after this) and keep the vodka in a similar place as before until you're ready to use it—it'll keep for about a month.
To make one cocktail shake all of the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice just 7 - 10 times and then strain into a martini glass. If you're making enough for 8 just mix all the ingredients in a large pitcher and shake the cocktails individually in 1/2 cup batches.
Basically, for every 1/4 cup of vodka (one drink-worth) you'll need 5 sour patch kids. Pretty easy to scale this up or down depending on your needs.
Cut the chicken into 1" pieces. Add them along with the salt, hot sauce, and buttermilk to a bowl large enough to comfortably it all and toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
While the chicken marinades in the buttermilk finely mince the red chili and stir into the honey. Stash in the fridge until you're ready.
An hour before you're going to start frying take the chicken from the fridge and let them come to room temperature. Meanwhile, mix the flour, cornstarch, rice flour, and salt together and set aside.
Once the chicken is at room temp add enough oil to a large heavy-bottom pan (I typically use my braising pan but a cast iron or Dutch oven would work as well) so that you've got a 1" depth. Place it over medium heat with a thermometer carefully inside. Let the temperature come to 375°.
While the oil heats remove the chicken from the buttermilk and shake off the excess liquid. Working in batches, toss the chicken into the flour mixture. Remove it from the flour and set aside on a plate. When the oil is ready, take about a third of the chicken and dredge it again in the flour before shaking off the excess and carefully placing in the fryer. This double dredging helps to ensure that you not only have a nice thick crust on the chicken, but also an incredibly crispy one.
Fry the chicken for about 5 minutes, flipping it once about halfway through—the chicken should read 160° upon an initial digital thermometer read. Remove the chicken from the oil with a spider and move to a sheet tray lined with crumpled up paper towel. Let the oil come back to temp and repeat the process twice more with the remaining chicken.
When everything is fried up and crispy, pile the chicken onto a serving platter (or similar) and drizzle with the fiery honey for the sweetest heat you'll ever know.