1 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Fernet-Branca
1/3 cup Corn Syrup
1/4 tsp Cream of Tartar
1 oz Fernet-Branca
6 Lemon Twists
I had been toying with cooking something using Fernet-Branca for a while. One lingering idea I kept coming back to was making Fernet Lollipops. I’m not entirely sure why, maybe it’s because it wouldn’t be advisable (read: legal) for me to make, consume or distribute Fentanyl Lollipops.
Regardless, before this idea made it’s way to the forefront, there were a few other attempts at other “projects,” which didn’t quite make the cut. First, there was a Fernet reduction, which clearly didn’t turn out as planned. I later tried to make this abomination into steak sauce without much success (I think with some effort and a redo I could do a better job). Then I tried a Fernet Vinaigrette, which actually turned out really good (may post it sometime soon, super easy to make). I then came back to the idea of making some sort of candy with Fernet-Branca and figured: “Who doesn’t love Lollipops?”
Disclaimer: Before we begin, I feel compelled to inform you that I literally know nothing about making candy. That being said, this was actually super easy. I looked up a few recipes and then made somewhat of a hybrid of a few of them to come up with the one here.
- Add the Sugar, Water, 1/4 cup of Fernet-Branca, Corn Syrup and Cream of Tartar to a nonstick pot.
- Over medium heat bring to a boil, stirring as you go with a spatula.
- As the mixture warms, clean off the sides of the pain with a wet brush. This helps prevent crystals of sugar forming in your mixture.
- Once boiling, stop stirring and begin measuring the temperature with a Candy Thermometer. (Be sure not to let the thermometer touch the sides or bottom of the pan).
- Once the mixture reaches 300 degrees take it immediately off the stove (it took a lot longer for this to get up to 300 degrees than I thought it would, so be patient, it will work). This is the “hard crack” temperature for your sugar solution, which I think means that your candy will become hard and can be cracked, but I’m no expert.
- Let the mixture cool a bit to around 275 degrees and then add the remaining Fernet-Branca and the express the oil from the Lemon Twists.
- Quickly (I can’t stress this enough) begin pouring the mixture into your lollipop molds (pre spray these with oil so you don’t break your mold like I did at the end trying to get them out).
- Add your sticks. Give them a spin after you set them in so the candy coats both sides.
- Let the pops cool. Then remove from the mold
- Enjoy. Preferably with a side of Fernet-Branca…because, what else would you drink?.
A beautiful translucent amber color. Sweet light caramel with a hint of citrus and mint. Overall the Fernet plays quite lightly in the background as the act of cooking it reduces it’s herbaciousness and makes for more of a caramel flavor than you might expect. That being said, these are delicious and may just serve as the “gateway” to getting your reticent friends to add a little Fernet to their lives.
Overall the lollipop experiment turned out better than I expected (i.e. I didn’t fail miserably). The flavor was great, although admittedly much more “caramelly” (that’s a word right?) than expected. This likely stems from cooking the Fernet into the mix. I added a little at the end, but was a bit nervous that it wouldn’t solidify correctly if I added much more.
For a heavier Fernet flavor try adding a little more in at the end, just take care not to get too carried away if you want hard candy. That being said maybe a “softer” candy with a boatload of Fernet in it is just what the doctor ordered.
You could also do this with any other liquor/liqueur. Try it with another Amaro, such as Campari or even just go for whiskey. I would guess that Cynar and other darker amari would come out caramelly as well, but who knows until you try it. Alternatively, make soft candy and use more booze in it to maximize its flavor. If you come up with something else interesting, let me know!
- Fernet-Branca (drinkstraightup.com)
- Not For Everyone: Fernet, Mezcal, Elderflower (measureandstir.com)
- Smoke in the Woods (drinkstraightup.com)
- Summer in the OId Square (drinkstraightup.com)
- TRG Barrel Aged Boulevardier (drinkstraightup.com)
- Fernet. Delicious (bittersandbottles.wordpress.com)
- Ask a Bartender: What’s Your Favorite Bitter Liqueur or Amaro? (drinks.seriouseats.com)