- 6 cups Gewürztraminer Grape Juice
- 6 cups smashed bits of Chinese rock sugar
- 2 teaspoons rose water – TFD prefers Cortas brand
- 1 teaspoon orange flower water – TFD prefers Cortas brand
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground cardamom (known as hari elaachi in Uzbekistan)
- 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon, crushed with 2 tablespoons Gewürztraminer grape juice in a mortar and pestle – use only 1 tbsp. of the strained mixture in recipe, reserve remainder for use in cocktails!
- 1 teaspoon top-quality saffron threads, crushed
- an old wok or heavy saucepan, don’t use your go-to cooking utensils here, something cheap and used only for this purpose is best
- thin cotton butchers twine, cut to fit the width of your wok or saucepan
- scotch tape
- Wet each thread with water, and roll it in granulated sugar, except for the ends. This base layer gives the sugar crystals something to grab when they start forming. Set these aside to dry while you prepare the sugar syrup.
- Place the grape juice in a medium-sized pot and bring it to a boil. Begin adding the crushed Chinese rock sugar, one cup at a time, stirring after each addition. You will notice that it takes longer for the sugar to dissolve after each cup you add. Continue to stir and boil the syrup until all of the sugar has been added and it is completely dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat.
- Add rose water, orange flower water, cardamom, saffron and tarragon paste at this point. Make sure you don’t stand right in front of the pan because the scent can be very strong as it rises in the steam.
- In the old wok, carefully tape the sugared butchers twine in a grid pattern (watch the video to see how to do it).
- Allow the sugar syrup to cool for approximately 10 minutes, then pour it into the gridded wok, avoiding pouring directly onto the strings. Carefully place the wok in a cool place, away from harsh lights, where it can sit undisturbed. Cover the top loosely with plastic wrap or a paper towel.
- You should start to see sugar crystals forming within two to four hours. If you see no change after 24 hours, try boiling the sugar syrup again and dissolve another cup of sugar into it. Then pour it back into the wok with new sugared strings.
- Allow the rock candy to grow until it is the size you want, which should take about 3 days. Once it has reached the desired size, remove it and allow it to dry for a few minutes, then enjoy or wrap in plastic wrap to save for later.