Hard Luck Candy, from Michigan (Temperance, Michigan, actually!), doesn’t mess around with typical lemon, orange, or even coconut vodkas: It goes straight for the jugular, with four candy-inspired concoctions. All are 70 proof, distilled from grain, and, rest assured, give you more than your daily allowance of artificial coloring. Warning: These are all very sweet vodkas, designed for shots, dessert drinks, and frat parties. They are reviewed here not as substitutes for a post-tasting-menu digestif, but with their intended audience in mind.
Hard Luck Candy Orange Dream Vodka – Flavored with orange and vanilla, much like a Creamsicle. That’s a perfect descriptor for this infused spirit, and Hard Luck Candy hits it right on the nose, all the way down to the creamy, mouth-filling body. Easygoing and smooth. A-
Hard Luck Candy Lemon Drop Vodka – I spoke too soon: There is a lemon vodka, lemon drop, rather. Hard Luck gets the sourness just about right, but the antifreeze green/yellow color is off-putting and scary. Quite a harsh finish on this one, too. B-
Hard Luck Candy Red Fish Vodka – Just what you’re thinking, a shocking-red spirit that would taste a lot like cough syrup if it wasn’t so amazingly sweet. Again, an uncanny resemblance to Swedish Fish, but the nose is on the hard side. B
Hard Luck Candy Root Beer Barrel Vodka – Overwhelming root beer soda character on the nose and the tongue. Smooth and authentic, with cinnamon, licorice, and lots of sugar. Surprisingly smooth. I expect fans of actual root beer will be bowled over by this one (though I’m not the world’s biggest root beer fanatic). B+
about $20 each / hardluckvodkamichigan.com