I decided to do a set of five different bottles, one for each Skittle color. I've heard of people mixing all colors in one, but I like the "rainbow" effect of five separate ones.
I purchased five 8.5 oz. "swing-top" blue glass bottles at The Container Store. I wasn't really happy with these. They had clear ones, but there were only two left in stock and I needed five. The blue ones were more expensive and I don't think the colors will show as well through them. I bought them anyway along with a small plastic funnel and went home.
Come to find out, the boyfriend wants to give some more friends the gift of candy-flavored booze, so I hopped online and bought some 10 oz. glass bottles from SpecialtyBottle.com. They just came in the mail and I'm really satisfied with these - I wish I'd gone with them for all 15 bottles. They look just like beer bottles, but with a black twist cap.
I used an online calculator to figure out how much vodka I would need to fill ten 10 oz. bottles and five 8.5 oz. bottles, then bought the appropriate amount of Smirnoff. I went for a slightly cheaper brand, but we'll see how it comes out.
I bought two giant-sized Skittles bags at Walmart. Then I separated the colors into Ziplocks while shouting at Sara that her relationship with Grissom would never work. My hands got sticky. The following picture is the result of one bag. It was enough for about two batches. I used part of the second bag for the third batch.
I knew that once the Skittles started dissolving they would leave behind some residue. I didn't want to infuse the vodka in the final glass bottles because I didn't feel like scrubbing the gunk out of the glass bottles. So, I bought a pack of plastic 20 oz. water bottles and forced my boyfriend to drink them all.
Once they were empty and my boyfriend was suffering from water poisoning*, I poured vodka into one of the glass bottles, just to see how much it contained. I then poured this amount into one of the plastic water bottles and filled the rest of the bottles to approximately the same level.
Then all there was left was to add the Skittles. I added about three handfuls to each bottle, capped them, and gave them a shake. They immediately started to turn pretty colors, and I set them aside to marinate. After about ten minutes, I started to see a layer of "ming" form at the top. We're going to strain it later, don't worry.
After two full days and quite a bit of shaking, the Skittles were 97% dissolved. By the way, shaking these is a great way to release stress. I left them sitting another day and prepared to strain the vodka.
Straining the vodka was a tad bit harder than I imagined it would be. I lined a wire mesh kitchen strainer with a double layer of paper towels, then held this over the funnel placed in the empty bottle. I needed another person to hold this while I poured, but after the boyfriend left for work, I managed to do it myself. It just was not very fun.
I had to squeeze the paper towel to wring out some of the liquid. Having a larger funnel would have made this a LOT easier. As it was, I had to pour a small amount only in the very center of the mesh strainer, wait for that to drip through, then pour more. The paper towel wicked a lot of the liquid, which is why I had to wring it out later. Because my funnel was so small, I had to be really careful about where the liquid was dripping.
I would strongly suggest putting newspaper over your work area, or at least clean up drips and spills RIGHT AWAY. This stuff STAINS A LOT. It is also VERY STICKY.
My boyfriend said that he would have used cheesecloth as a strainer instead of the paper towel. You could try this, but you may have to strain it more than once because some impurities might get through.
I was afraid that I would wind up with much less liquid because of the straining process, but it came out to about the same. probably because I wrung out the paper towel. If you find yourself short, just add some more plain vodka and mix it.
Here's a picture of the final product. The purple turned out more dark red than purple.
I photoshopped some labels because the ones I found online were not high enough quality to print nicely. You can find mine here. The file is very large. It contains a sheet of five labels, one for each flavor, that are each 2"x8" at 300 dpi.
* No boyfriends were actually harmed in this process. Hydrated, yes. Harmed, no.
ETA: Yes, I've heard that you can use coffee filters instead of paper towels to strain the vodka. I chose not to do that because a) paper towels are cheaper and b) I've heard from several sources that paper towels actually work a lot better than coffee filters.
ETA again: I get a lot of people asking me about the taste of these, so I'm editing the entry with my comments on it: The vodka had too much of an "alcohol" taste for me to enjoy taking shots of it, but it was absolutely divine mixed with Sprite. I got a pretty good buzz going really quickly - you drink it fast because it doesn't taste alcoholic at all once mixed. If I had used better vodka, the alcohol taste might have been bearable without it being mixed. I don't typically enjoy shots in the first place though, so your experience may differ.