How to Make Booze Pixie Dust

Ink bartender Gabriella Mlynarczyk shows us what the booze fairy sprinkles on everything

One of the many highlights of Negroni week earlier this month—where bars donated proceeds from Negroni sales to the charity of their choice—was the Negroni-a-day cocktails Ink’s bartender Gabriella Mlynarcyzk created. She went above and beyond with her imaginative concoctions, which she even admitted might have been too ambitious. Her standout product had to be the magical Campari dust sprinkled on the Negroni cocktails, which she also served to guests in the form of “pixie sticks.”

This idea first came to her a year and a half ago while she was playing with mole powder for a tequila cocktail at Ink. She worked with cane sugar first, which left the end product too lumpy and wet. “It wouldn’t stay in powder form. It would become a rock candy,” she said. After some research she discovered that since powdered sugar contains corn starch, it would prevent the dust from clumping up. Sure enough, this ingredient tweak—along with throwing a couple of silicone packs in the storage container—helped keep the moisture out and the dust in powdery form.

Naturally, I had to have her recipe. All the alcohol is cooked out but imagine all the fun things you can do with booze dust. Mlynarczyk also makes Fernet and Chartreuse dust and I’m itching to try the Chartreuse on dark chocolate brownies a la a snack-friendly Verte Chaud.

This recipe can be applied to any liqueur you want to use, but keep in mind that cooking times will vary. “Chartreuse reduces down really quickly, Fernet took forever and Campari is in the middle,” said Mlynarczyk. “I’m pretty sure it’s got something to do with the alcohol content because Chartreuse has a lot of alcohol.”

Chartreuse Dust
by Gabriella Mlynarczyk of Ink

(Step-by-step photos in slideshow above) 

1 cup Green Chartreuse and 1 cup Yellow Chartreuse*
2 cups powdered sugar

1. Sift powdered sugar first to get rid of the lumps then combine with the chartreuse. Mix well.

2. Add mixture to a pan cooking on medium heat until it turns into a thick spreadable syrup or “until it creates a trail when you run the spoon through it.” It should take about 10-15 minutes. You have to watch and stir constantly, otherwise sugar crystals will form on the side.

3. Remove pot from stove. Stir to cool for a few minute,s then spread onto a silpat baking mat in a thin layer. Place in an oven or food dehyrdrator set to low. Depending on your oven or dehydrator this step could take up to a day.

4. When dry on one side, scrape off mixture and flip over to reveal any soft or wet areas. Put back in oven or  dehydrator to dry out completely .

5. Once dried, put clumps into a blender and grind it into a powder.

6. Store in an airtight container with a couple of silicone packs (often found in hobby stores).

* Gabriella combines Yellow and Green Chartreuse because green is a bit more expensive.