kickapoo joy juice – illicit hooch cocktail recipe

Kickapoo Joy Juice Cocktail Recipe - Shaker and Glassware

Georges Briard Platters, Kromex oblong tray, art deco cocktail shaker







Colorful Glasses and Serving Trays

Panache Jungle Safari glasses – perfect for serving Kickapoo Joy Juice

Kickapoo Joy Juice and Georges Briard

It’s surprising how busy I’ve been since going full time with Atomic Hostess, all in a very good way! We can see the vintage kitchenware dissipate from the living room, listings are going up on the sites, furniture is being refurbished – all very good stuff. I have been meaning to write this post to share a cocktail recipe my sweet Mama gave me (along with her Kahlua recipe). I’ve been putting the blog post off for 3 weeks, and after a little research yesterday, I realize I should have made happy hour a priority. My Mom said the recipe should “marinate” for a few days, which would put us in perfect position to serve at a 4th of July party. BUT, I read online that it should marinate for two weeks. I’m going with my Mom’s timeline; it has Gin in it, why let it sit for two full weeks?

While I was looking up some vintage barware glasses the other day, I stumbled on a set of glassware on Pinterest that said “Kickapoo Joy Juice”, it threw me back on track. I thought that Kickapoo was a name my Aunt and Mom made up. Those 2 were so silly, I thought of course that was the name they gave it. Ha, who knew that Kickapoo Joy Juice has such an entertaining history, and it’s own Wiki page! After Google took me down the rabbit hole, I now believe that because of the dwindling newspaper readership, that we are missing out on the contribution comic strips had on American Pop Culture. Kickapoo Joy Juice was coined in the comic strip Li’l Abner cir 1945. In the cartoon strip, the Kickapoo Joy Juice was said to be “a liquor of such stupefying potency that the hardiest citizens of Dogpatch, after the first burning sip, rose into the air, stiff as frozen codfish” and  “An elixir of such power that the fumes alone have been known to melt the rivets off battleships”. Even the Wall Street Journal published a recipe for what they deemed “illicit hooch ginned up by soldiers during World War II, often starting from alcohol intended for fuel for torpedoes and the like”.

The rights to the Kickapoo name were purchased, and a citrus-y carbonated soft drink called Kickapoo Joy Juice was born (1965). Kickapoo Joy Juice soda is still widely distributed and, it’s even available on Amazon.

Back to the illicit hooch and my review: I made a half batch of my Mom’s recipe, cooled it in the fridge, but did not let it marinate for 2 days to 2 weeks. The first taste, the drink is good. It doesn’t have an overwhelming alcohol flavor.

Kickapoo Joy Juice Cocktail Recipe

Kickapoo Joy Juice Cocktail Recipe

The alcohol is hidden like in a Long Island Ice Tea, it was nice, and refreshing. Drink two, it’s a little strong and a bit too citrus-y tart; almost like a bad margarita mix. I’m sure some of you mixology connoisseurs can give the recipe a small tweak to ensure immediately drink-ability. No final decisions yet, I’m going to let the batch of Kickapoo Joy Juice marinate a few days and I’ll post my final review. Stay tuned!

Update….I let the Joy Juice “marinate” until the 4th of July, so about 4-5 days. It definitely tasted different after sitting those few days. The tart citrus-y taste was gone and it had a definite Gin taste. If you love Gin, you will love this cocktail


Atomic Mom's Kickapoo Joy Juice Recipe

Atomic Mom’s Kickapoo Joy Juice Recipe

Atomic Mom's Kickapoo Joy Juice Recipe

p.s. It’s my latest “should I keep, or should I sell?” dilemma. The set of 3 Georges Briard bent glass turquoise and gold (diamond & flower pattern) platters are gorgeous, perfect in so many ways, and impossible to find online. I may have to go into this on a separate post. Would you be able to part with them?

xxoo Kris

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