For the past year I have wanted to make my own beer bottles out of sugar to place on the beer bucket cakes I love to make. Last night I decided was the the night with the help of my savvy Coastie husband to make my own! Now, I will say a lot of my failure to make one in the past was more about confidence and not ability. Isomalt is HOT. When I took an isomalt class in Chicago this past May while at the Wilton School of Confectionery Arts, I burnt my fingertips enough times to dread touching the stuff ever again. Guess that saying, "No Pain, No Gain" pushed me into giving it a go at my house tonight (with my husband handling the hot part). I will say, I had already purchased all the ingredients and tools to make these months ago. When my husband arrived home from work I quickly explain what I needed him to do to help and by time I returned we were ready to go! He had all the tools, ingredients and the CONFIDENCE I was lacking.
I know in my class we were taught a lot about using dedicated pots, mats and gloves to ensure the finest sugar to work with. I still haven't bought a $300 dedicated pot to cook my isomalt in because I am not sure of my dedication to this art. If I decided to start sculpting flowers and ribbons out of sugar then I will, but to cook isomalt for some beer bottles I can get away with my own pot for the time being. Since most videos online show people melting the isomalt sticks, and not isomalt directly for this project, I had to go back to my own notes from when I took my class. The key is getting the isomalt to the temperature desired, add color, cool and finally removed from the mold. Our first attempt was great. We realized that we may want to put a little more isomalt in the mold next time for a stronger bottle, but it had the color, shape, hardness and feel of a real bottle of beer!
A few days before I had designed some labels for this exact reason. A client had placed an order for some custom labels on isomalt bottles so this was a great reason to try something new and complete an order for a fellow baker. I cut the labels out and placed them right on the bottle. We ended up making the second bottle with a little more isomalt than the first and like it even more. I think since I ship all over the country to bakeries, a thicker bottle will hold up best in the warmer months. You do loose a little of the translucent effect with the thicker bottle, but it still looks just like a bottle of beer. We also made the second bottle a tad darker than the first. Since we cooked two different batches of isomalt no two batches will be the same. I used brown food coloring and put a little more in the second batch.
Most of the isomalt bottles I see online have a hollow bottom. It's cost effective to not worry about it and quicker too. That being said, I ship all over and I need them to be solid. I found that the ones I had used in the past for my cakes that were open ended were fragile and tended to lose their round, cylinder shape. With the reinforced bottoms on these they actually will stand up on their own too! Now, no one will ever want the bottoms exposed as it's not how a real bottle looks, but perfect for placing them in bucket cakes, six pack of beer cakes and in beach cakes! I can't wait to see what my clients do with their bottles! Buy Your Sugar Beer Bottles at My Etsy Store