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Boozy Cotton Candy Comes To Candyality - And There's Even A Beer Flavor

By Janet Rausa Fuller | July 21, 2016 6:26am

Candyality stocks cotton candy for mature palates. [DNAinfo/Janet Rausa Fuller]

LAKEVIEW — Chicago, historically the candy capital of the world, appears to be the center of the boozy candy universe as well.

Fresh off the Downtown debut of Sugarfina, a shop specializing in rosé-flavored gummies, comes cotton candy in adult-approved flavors such as mimosa, merlot and beer.

Candyality received the first shipment of the cotton candy at its Andersonville shop Friday and started selling it in its Southport and Downtown stores this week.

“My favorite is the beer. It’s smoky and sweet. It’s like nothing you’ve ever tasted. It’s so intriguing,” said Candyality owner Terese McDonald.

While the cotton candy tastes very much like it contains alcohol, it doesn't. A 1-ounce tub costs $4.50.

Chocolate Storybook, the Iowa company that makes the cotton candy, sent McDonald samples, hoping to get her business.

“Once we got them and tried them, we ordered immediately, they were so delicious,” she said.

Champagne-flavored gummy bears at Candyality are nonalcoholic. [DNAinfo/Janet Rausa Fuller]

Candyality already does a brisk business in sweets for the 21-and-older crowd. About 65 percent of its customers are adults buying candy for themselves, McDonald said.
The shop carries cocktail-inspired Jelly Belly jelly beans— "We sell pounds and pounds of those,” McDonald said — and added Champagne-flavored gummy bears in the spring.

Sugarfina, the Beverly Hills-based shop that recently opened at the entrance of the Mag Mile Nordstrom is the only retailer known to sell the much-hyped rosé-infused gummies.

The North Michigan Avenue location still is on the waiting list to receive its supply of the gummies, sales clerk Nikiah Earl said.

“They have 5 percent alcohol in them. That’s why they’re so popular,” she said.

Sugarfina has single-malt Scotch and Kir Royale cordials in stock, which Earl said have “a tiny shot in the middle.”
There’s no alcohol in Candyality’s Champagne gummy bears. At the Southport store, the bin is within reach of little hands, though kids usually pass it up for other flavors, McDonald said.

On the other hand, a bin of Champagne-flavored Jelly Belly candy, also nonalcoholic, was running low Wednesday afternoon.

Champagne Jelly Belly candy sells better than other flavors at Candyality, 3737 N. Southport Ave. [DNAinfo/Janet Rausa Fuller]

“Things are different now. When I grew up in the '60s, it was like ‘Mad Men.’ The drinking age was so much lower, and people had a much more lax attitude about alcohol and flavored things,” McDonald said.

One of her fondest candy-related childhood memories centers on decidedly adult Hickory Farms hard candies.

“They came in flavors like whiskey sour and gimlet. They’d be in these huge old-fashioned barrels, and we’d just get bags of them,” she said.

They’re no longer in production. McDonald said she has yet to find anything similar, adding, "I'm always on the search for something like it."

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