A common staple in most household pantries/cupboards/drawers, are the good 'ol supermarket squeezy liquid colours. These babies were fantastic, I made my peppermint creams a beautiful pale green colour and I only had to use half the bottle - perfect! However, little did I know there was something I did not know about, something that would change my food colouring life forever, something that would make my pale green mint creams an amazing pale green with only one drop.
Three little words, Gel Paste Colours. The two brands I have had the pleasure of using are Wilton and Americolor - there are pros and cons of each brand. Americolor tops Wtilon in terms of packaging. Americolor has a squeezy top, which makes it very easy to apply colour to whatever it is you're colouring. Wilton is a basic tub which the manufactures suggest using a toothpick to distribute the colour, this can be a little messy - and you do not want that baby to rest on its side for too long, or the colour will seep out all through your drawers. The colours themselves are six of one and half a dozen of the other - however, I do prefer the Wilton Brown over both the Americolor Chocolate Brown, and the Americolor Super Black is, in my opinon, a truer black than the Wilton. Americolor has a larger range of colours, which include an Electric range, that I find quite handy when you want something to be extra bright. Something that I always tell anyone new to gel colours is, that the gel colours are a very concentrated colour, you only need to use a very small amount to achieve the colour you want. If you've had the disaster of pink icing when you'd much have preferred a red, then gel colours are what you need.
The other colours I learned about during my cake decorating travels are dusts and oil based colours. One of the common things I hear at the store is when people try to use liquid colours to colour their chocolate, and their chocolate has seized. There is an interesting scientific reason why this happens, which I am not going to go into, but basically, if you want to colour chocolate, it's best not to use anything that has a water-base. Use either a power/dust colour, or an oil-based colour. At the store we stock the Rolkem range of colour dusts, which I have personally used in chocolate and have found they work really well. We also have both the Americolor and Wilton oil-based colours, which I would personally use over a dust any time.
Is there still any applications that would prove a liquid colour to reign supreme over any other form of colour? Hmmm.... no, not really! I suggest gathering the colours as you need them, there is no need to get all your colours at once, but perhaps, build your collection over time. The gel, oil and dust colours do not have a shelf-life, so can be kept until you use the last drop, perhaps years and years from now.