December 7th is National Cotton Candy Day. In different parts of the world, it’s known as candy cobwebs, candy floss, fairy floss and spider webs, among other names.
THE HISTORY OF COTTON CANDY
The father of cotton candy was spun sugar. In the mid-18th century, master confectioners in Europe and America learned to hand-craft spun sugar nests as Easter decorations and elaborate dessert presentations.
According to The Dictionary of American Food and Drink, the debut of the product we know as cotton candy took place in 1897 in Nashville.
Candymakers William Morrison and John C. Wharton invented an electric machine that allowed crystallized sugar to be poured onto a heated spinning plate, pushed by centrifugal force through a series of tiny holes.
In 1904 at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition, Morrison and Wharton sold the product, then known as “fairy floss,” in cardboard boxes for 25 cents a serving. Though the price equaled half the admission to the Fair itself, they sold 68,655 boxes!
Here’s more cotton candy history.
COTTON CANDY AS A DRINK GARNISH
For those with a sweet tooth, cotton candy is a fun garnish for cocktails, mocktails and other non-alcoholic drinks.
Caterers love the idea, as do some mixologists. Some mixologists create “magic” at the bar or table, presenting a glass of cotton candy, then pouring the cocktail over it.
Check out this YouTube video and this fun recipe. The cotton candy disappears “like magic”.
THE COTTON CANDY COCKTAIL
Match the cotton candy color to the drink, or create contrast.
Here are some recipes to start you off:
Cotton Candy Daiquiri
Multicolor Cocktail With Multicolor Cotton Candy
For a drinkable dessert, garnish a glass of sweet wine.
You can find many more online, including a Pinterest page on cotton candy cocktails.
TIP: You don’t have to add an ice cream scoop-size ball of cotton candy. Sometimes, less is more.