Remember Viniq, that magical-looking shimmering liqueur?
Well, if you haven’t seen Viniq around for awhile, you may be surprised to learn that its maker–E. & J. Gallo–recently discontinued Viniq (the exact date is hard to find, but it looks like maybe sometime in 2019 or 2020). If you happen to see a bottle on the shelf at your local liquor store, chances are it’s one of the last ones left on the market.
No denying, the stuff looked cool, and drinks made with Viniq looked cool too- like little starry galaxies in a glass, or liquid pixie dust. However, the actual taste–billed as a “delicious combination of premium vodka, moscato, and natural fruit flavors”–didn’t really taste much like “peach, citrus, and berries” and wasn’t always easy to mix with due to some odd flavor notes.
Luckily, you can easily make your own shimmering liqueurs with minimal effort! It’s literally as easy as pick a flavor or color, add a little edible luster powder, shake, and serve. Try making some for your next party- maybe some sparkling gold elderflower liqueur to mix into your New Year’s Eve champagne? Or let your creativity run wild, and make a whole rainbow of shimmering “potions” for your next Halloween party.
- liqueur of your choice
- edible luster dust (must be culinary grade, and not just labeled “non-toxic”)*
- liquid food coloring (optional, but useful for fine-tuning the shade of your liqueur)
*You can buy edible luster dust (also sold as pearl or shimmer dust) online, or look for it in the baking aisle of your local grocery or baking supply store. You can also find edible luster dust the baking section of some craft stores.
Combine, shake, and serve; you can adjust the level of the shimmer by adding more edible luster dust and enhance/adjust the color as needed by adding food coloring. Start with just a little luster dust (¼ tsp. or so per bottle) and only a drop or so of food coloring- a little goes a long way here, and you can always add more, but you can’t use “less” once everything’s been mixed.
Be sure to shake the bottle thoroughly before mixing cocktails with your shimmering liqueur- the luster dust will eventually settle to the bottom of the bottle. This is normal (and was common even in Viniq too).
You can make a neutral-flavored shimmering liqueur by combining vodka, simple syrup, food coloring, and edible luster dust- but you may have more fun picking up a few airline-sized bottles of different liqueurs to mix with different colors of of edible luster dust, and seeing what combinations you like best. Here are some ideas for flavor and color combos:
Red shimmer liqueur:
- Cherry vodka
- Chambord or other raspberry liqueur (such as DeKuyper’s Razzmatazz)
- Cinnamon liqueur
- Pomegranate liqueur
- Rose vodka
- Watermelon liqueur
Best colors of luster dust to mix with red liqueurs are red, pink, gold, and silver.
Yellow/gold shimmer liqueur:
- Banana liqueur
- Butterscotch schnapps
- Limoncello (or other lemon/citrus liqueur)
- St. Germaine (or other elderflower liqueur)
Best colors of luster dust to mix with yellow/gold liqueurs are yellow, gold, silver, and pearl (white).
Green shimmer liqueur:
- Creme de Menthe (the day-glo green stuff)
- Green apple liqueur
- Green tea liqueur
- Midori (melon liqueur)
Best colors of luster dust to mix with green liqueurs are green, gold, and silver.
Blue shimmer liqueur:
- Blue curaçao
- Blue raspberry vodka
- Hpnotiq (blue)
Best colors of luster dust to mix with blue liqueur are blue and silver.
Purple shimmer liqueur:
- Blackberry liqueur
- Black raspberry liqueur
- Hpnotiq (purple)
- Violet liqeuer (creme de violette, creme yvette, parfait di amore, etc.)
Best colors of luster dust to mix with purple liqueurs are purple and silver.
Black shimmer liqueur:
- Blackberry liqueur
- Black raspberry liqueur
- Black vodka (such as Blavod)
- Coffee liqueur
Best colors of luster dust to mix with black liqueurs are black, silver, and gold.
*Note: Truly “black” liqueur is difficult to find, with the exception of Blavod, which billed as the only “true” black vodka on the market. However, Blavod tends to be hard to find in most markets due to limited production and availability. What you tend to find instead are either very dark brown or dark purple colored liqueurs, so you will probably need to adjust the hue using food coloring if you’re after a really inky shade of black.
Best option: About 3-5 drops of black gel food coloring will get you a good, solid black, without altering the flavor of the liqueur underneath. You need to be careful not to add too much though, since black gel food coloring is rather viscous and tends to settle in the bottom of the bottle.
Next best option: Combine several colors of liquid food coloring to get as close as you can to black; you’ll need the full rainbow of colors to achieve “black”- start with a few drops of each, and keep going until you reach the desired shade. For a full bottle of vodka, 10 drops of red and blue food coloring combined with 8 drops of green food coloring will get you close to black.
Although activated charcoal will definitely turn your liqueur black, I don’t recommend it, since charcoal can actually interfere with the absorption of certain medications. Also, the charcoal particles can be rather grainy.
I also don’t recommend culinary grade squid ink- it tends to be hard to find for most cooks, and it’s rather salty, which can be off-putting in a drink (unless you actually want a briny note for your cocktail).
last updated August 17, 2023