Pre-prohibition cocktails and modern twists on classics

Fernet Lollipops

Fernet Lollipops 6


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


Candy Thermometer

Non-Stick Pot


Pastry Brush

Measuring Utensils

Lollipop Mold

Lollipop Sticks

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?”

The supplies

The supplies

Being prepared/wasting a lot of bowls to take a picture

Being prepared/wasting a lot of bowls to take a picture

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.


Fernet Lollipops 3

Fernet Lollipops 4

  1. Add the Sugar, Water, 1/4 cup of Fernet-Branca, Corn Syrup and Cream of Tartar to a nonstick pot.
  2. Over medium heat bring to a boil, stirring as you go with a spatula.
  3. 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.
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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).
  8. Add your sticks.  Give them a spin after you set them in so the candy coats both sides.
  9. Let the pops cool. Then remove from the mold
  10. Enjoy. Preferably with a side of Fernet-Branca…because, what else would you drink?.

Fernet Lollipops 5


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.

Fernet Lollipops 7

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!

12 Responses to “Fernet Lollipops”

  1. Elana

    Oh man. You could totally do caramels too with this. Such a cool idea. (I want that vinaigrette recipe)

    • The Straight Up

      Yeah, once I finished I realized there was more I could do. I may get the vinaigrette up soon. Your jelly looks ridiculous! Definitely want some.

      • JFL

        Good stuff! I was never the best at candy making, these look delicious though.

      • The Straight Up

        Thanks! As do your wings! Was hoping you’d make it to the party! As far as candy making, it was my first shot. I’d definitely advise you to resist the Fernet while cooking as 300 degrees is pretty damn hot! Same goes for tasting. Patience is a virtue or so they say.

  2. ceccotti

    I was thinking about Cynar, it is a rip-off here in Brazil ( less than $6 US).
    I always have a bottle around.
    Nice one!

  3. Murphy

    I was really disappointed that my lollipops did not turn into hard candy. I followed the recipe exactly and they are very soft. I figured it would be ok, but then when I tried to arrange them sticking up in a glass, the candy started to fall down the sticks. It’s my own fault for not trying a test batch before attempting to make a large batch for a cocktail party – wasted a lot of expensive product. I’ve made plenty of hard candy before that turned out fine – just never added alcohol. I suppose I could just add more Fernet next time and make little wrapped caramels. The taste is great, but the process did not work for me.

    • The Straight Up


      I’m sorry to hear they didn’t turn out for you. Mine were definitely hard and held to the sticks. They did have a tendency to be a little stickier and if they got too warm in storage they would goop up just a little bit, but they def held their hardness overall.

      It sounds like you’ve made hard candy before so I’m assuming you got the temp right etc. On a positive note I had been thinking about doing them like caramels as well. I’m glad they at least tasted good 😉


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