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Extremely sour liquid candy in a spray bottle was first introduced to puckering mouths in Taiwan in 1975, and eventually came to the U.S. in 1993. The liquid candy is a basic formulation of sugar, flavoring, acids (for the sour), and glycerin, which makes it very easy to craft a home version—just measure and stir. For your own ultra-tart spray candy hack, you’ll need six ingredients and three re-usable small spray bottles.
The sourness in the real thing comes from citric acid and malic acid, both of which are natural ingredients found in fruits and vegetables. Malic acid is a more intense sour and can be found at Whole Foods or online, while citric acid can be found in many stores, including Walmart. If you can’t track down malic acid, you can still make the recipe with just citric acid, by increasing the amount of citric to 1 tablespoon. The quality of the sour will be a little different, but I’m pretty sure no kids will complain about it.
The candy is flavored by unsweetened Kool-Aid mix, which is great because there are so many flavors to choose from. The real Warheads come in watermelon, green apple, sour cherry, and blue raspberry, but the blue raspberry Kool-Aid also has lemonade in it, so that one won’t taste quite the same as the real one.
To thicken your spray, you’ll need some glycerin. Glycerin—also a natural product—is developed from vegetable oil or animal fat and is often used in icing preparation. Glycerin helps thicken the liquid candy to make it syrupier, and it also adds sweetness. You’ll find glycerin where cake decorating supplies are sold, or online.
While you’re online, also look for three 2.7-ounce reusable spray bottles. That’s where I found mine. This recipe will fill each bottle all the way up, with a little left over for a partial refill.