Liquor Lollipops

Liquor Lollipops

Beautifully presented lollipops in an array of flavors make a creative gift for a liquor aficionado. While these lollipops are quick to make, you need to wait a day for their flavor to develop–the subtle and intriguing results are worth it. Lollipop molds make the process quicker, but you can also use a baking sheet and silicone mat instead.–Nina Wanat

LC Our Wish List Note

We just added these subtly flavored lovelies to our Christmas wish list. If anyone needs our mailing address, just email us.

Liquor Lollipops

  • Quick Glance
  • 20 M
  • 20 M
  • Makes 16

Special Equipment: Lollipop molds or a silicone baking mat, lollipop sticks (available online or at specialty stores), pastry brush, candy or deep-fry thermometer.

5/5 - 1 reviews
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  • 1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon hard liquor, such as bourbon, tequila, or rum
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon food coloring of your choice (optional)


  • 1. If you don’t have lollipop molds, place a silicone mat on a baking sheet.
  • 2. Mix together 1/4 cup of the liquor, and the water, sugar, corn syrup, and salt in a 1- or 2-quart saucepan until all of the sugar is wet. If sugar crystals cling to the sides of the pan, dissolve them away with a wet pastry brush.
  • 3. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally and gently with a heatproof spatula until all of the sugar is dissolved. Then boil to 300°F (149°C) without stirring.
  • 4. Remove from the heat, and, working quickly, mix in the remaining 1 teaspoon liquor and food coloring, if using. Still working with haste, drop the syrup into either lollipop molds or onto a silicone mat.

    If using lollipop molds, quickly drop the syrup from the tip of a large spoon into the cavities of the lollipop molds. Place a lollipop stick in the center of each disk, and twist it 180 degrees so that it’s fully covered in syrup. Let cool completely.

    If using a silicone mat, quickly drop the syrup onto the silicone mat so that it forms 2-inch disks and immediately after plopping the syrup on the sheets place a lollipop stick in the center of each disk and twist it 180 degrees so that it’s fully covered in syrup. Let cool completely.
  • 5. Peel the lollipops from the molds or silicone and store in an airtight container, preferably at least overnight to allow the flavors to develop, until ready to indulge.

Recipe Testers Reviews

Liquor Lollipops — love this idea. The liquor lollipops make me think of a grown-up treat, like Jello shots, which is fitting as we have a 21st birthday in the house this week. I could have gone overboard on the different varieties to make up after raiding the liquor cabinet, but I settled on making one pop with tequila with a little fresh lime added; I also used green food coloring. These came out very flavorful, but also tasted the most of alcohol. I also made a peach-flavored vodka, and I added one tablespoon of peach schnapps as the kicker after cooking (and yellow and red food coloring that came out a perfect peachy color) which came out delicious. In all these were a tasty and unique homemade treat that was easy to put together and very simple to clean up — my idea of a good recipe. Only, I have a toothache today — wonder why?

This was my first excursion into candy making, and what an adventure it was. Because I had never tried to make candy before, I had no equipment. This gave me an opportunity to go to the local kitchen shop and browse through their candy-making supplies. While there, I picked up a candy thermometer (a must), a silicone candy tray (I could not find lollipop molds), and some lollipop sticks. I measured all the ingredients into my pan and clipped the thermometer on the side of the saucepan. Getting to the required 300 degrees seemed to take a while, so I decided to go and accomplish some other task. This was a big mistake. Within moments, my kitchen was filled with smoke and my saucepan had bubbling black goo in it (not a fun clean-up job). At this point, I decided to calibrate my candy thermometer. While doing this, it became apparent my candy thermometer did not work. It would not go much above 100 degrees – even after boiling for 10 minutes. This necessitated another trip to the kitchen store. After bringing the new candy thermometer home, I began again (calibrating this one first – it worked). It only took a few minutes for the temperature to rise to 300 degrees. I pulled the sugar mixture off the heat and poured into my candy molds. I then placed the lollipop sticks into the molds and gave them the 180 turn. To my surprise, my sticks began to fall over. It was then that I realized I was making lollipops, not suckers. I found a way to get the sticks to sit-up somewhat straight and waited for the lollipops to cool. While their appearance gave us all a giggle, the pops themselves are delicious. The texture is smooth, and the taste was so good. All of this to say, if I could mess the recipe so badly and still have a tasty product result, it is a keeper. I think these lollipops (made correctly next time) will make excellent gifts. My suggestions? One: Calibrate the candy thermometer first. Two: Do not leave unattended. Three: Find lollipop molds and use them.


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    1. Brigit, they should harden if left overnight in a container in a cool, dry place. However, candymaking is a delicate thing and if you’re in a hot, humid environment, best to instead stash them in the refrigerator. Kindly let us know how it goes!

  1. I just made wine lollipops. my party is Saturday. will they last should I fridge them or make a new batch the night before? I don’t want anyone to get sick. This is my second attempt. First failed, this time it worked. I try not to give guests anything I haven’t tried already. So will they last till Saturday if I wrap them in goodie bags and tie with string to make a bow or should I make new ones Friday?

    1. dmd, the fridge will have moisture, which is the death of candy. I would keep them unwrapped in a very, very dry spot. They should be fine on Sunday..but only if they stay dry.

      1. Thank you. I’m leaving them overnight, in the mold. Them I’ll wrap them in the morning in the candy bags with a cute bow. Glad I don’t have to make them again, until next time. Thank you, for the quick response. I had no idea refrigerating was bad for them.

  2. How long do you let them cool to harden? Do they need to set out in a certain temp ?Or can they be placed in the fridge?

    1. The lollipops are best left overnight in a container in a cool, dry place. If you live in a hot, humid environment, I would put them in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

  3. I tried this 4 times, 3 out of 4 times it burnt, and the one that didn’t burn didn’t come hard. By 280°F it’s starting to burn already. What am I doing wrong? I know our thermometer works because we always make hard candy lollipops.

    1. Shelly, we used kosher salt when we tested this, and since kosher salt is slightly larger than regular salt, if you substitute the latter at a 1:1 ratio the lollipops will, I fear, be too salty. So if you do use regular table salt, scale back on the amount of salt by maybe 1/4 to 1/3?

  4. Me again…. so I live on the gulf coast of Texas, needless to say, it’s humid 24/7. Often my lollies and candies don’t dry hard. When I put them in wrappers they often stick to the paper. Any suggestions on what I can do to make it dry better like lollies in the store?

    1. Hi Chris, most sugars are hygroscopic and will grab moisture from the air. Living in high humidity is a constant battle with candies and meringues. A light slick of neutral oil or a dusting of powdered sugar might help with the paper sticking. In terms of drying out the lollipops, you need to make sure that you take the sugar mixture all the way to 300 degrees. You are essentially cooking the water out. If the lollies are still sticky, you could try storing them for several hours in a sealed container along with a food safe desiccant. FYI, most store bought hard candies are made from Isomalt which a non-hygroscopic sugar substitute.

  5. I recently had a pear brandy with a sprig of rosemary lollipop at Prune’s restaurant in NYC. They served it along with a glass of champagne for brunch. The idea was to swirl the lollipop in the champagne and let its flavor infuse it. It was awesome! This is what lead me to look for a recipe so I could make my own. So glad I found yours :)

  6. I just made these lollipops, and i used lollipop molds (this is my first time ever doing this) and i just wondered how long do I have to wait till I can take them from the mold?

    1. Hi Jessica, I would leave them in the molds until they firm up. Please let us know how they turned out.

    1. Thomas C., we didn’t try it with wine, so I can’t adequately confirm that it would work. I have to admit, I’m leery of trying it with wine. The alcohol content varies so dramatically from liquor, I think there may be issues with too much water and too little flavor in the resulting product. I’m terribly sorry, but the lollipops are quite subtle in taste and I just don’t want you to end up disappointed…

  7. So I have tried this several time and have tweeked the recipe a few times but I cant seem to get the liquor flavor to come through strong enough. Any suggestions? I was think about trying to make a concentrated liquor flavor to add to the recipe but…. I dont know how to make a concentrate.

    1. Fear not I love trying new things!!!!! That being said I use Jim Beam this time I started with 1 cup and reduced it to a 1/4 cup. These have a better flavor than the Jameson pops but there is still no real flavor profile of the whiskey.

        1. The Jim Beam has a great caramel flavor but I would say the liquor flavor is less than subtle. Every now and then I think I catch a hint of flavor. However on the Jameson I couldn’t tast anything and I tweaked the recipe 3 times. The overwhelming flavor was sugar. Im not sure if the Jameson itself is just too mild.

          1. Hey Chris, I agree with you that the Jameson will be too mild in this instance. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think in recipes such as this where you want the flavor of the liquor to come through, you’re often better off using a less expensive booze since the subtleties will be lost amid the sugar. Unfortunately we couldn’t possibly test this with every possible liquor, hence the need for a little latitude, and I’m sorry you were disappointed. I’m thinking Jim Beam or Knob Creek would be ideal here, and for maximum flavor, I’m definitely in favor of reducing the booze prior to using it.

  8. I just tried these and they turned out amazing! I did only use 1 TBS of cold water and I added 2 TBS of fresh lime juice and they taste just like Margarita’s! I’m going to make a bunch of these for Christmas. (After I replace my candy thermometer. It’s gotta be from the 50’s and the sugar got a little caramel color right at the end. I think it got too hot.)

  9. I want to make these but with rum and I made a Pepsi syrup so they would be rum and coke ones! But just realized my thermometer only goes to 190 :( now have to wait till tomorrow.

  10. Could I use this recipe to make nut brittles or candy coated nuts? Because I think they would be outstanding with that nice kick of flavor. ;)

    1. Oooooooh, ruthie, I really like the way you’re thinking. I can’t say for certain, as candy tends to be tricky, but I’d venture to say candy-coated nuts may be doable. And I concur, outstanding indeed.

  11. In case anyone is wondering if this recipe works in the microwave I just tried it :) I put 1/4 cup dark rum, 3/4 cups sugar, 3 tbs light cornsyrup, 2 tbs water, and 1/8 tsp of sea salt (didn’t have kosher) into a microwave glass bowl. I stirred it up until it was pretty well mixed then covered it with saran wrap. I cooked it in the microwave for 3 mins. Stirred with a clean spoon and rewrapped with clean saran. I cooked another 3 mins. Stirred again with another clean spoon and added 1 tbs rum and 1/4 tsp of food colouring (be careful it will bubble). Then I poured it onto a silicone mat sprayed with cooking spray. I let it cool slightly then started rolling pieces into little balls of candy. Then let them cool on the mat in the fridge. The balls still being warm didn’t keep their ball shape (I didn’t want them too) and puddled into bite size candy disks. If you would like ball shaped or any other shape you’ll have to let it cool to about a taffy consistency before you shape it. Good luck and don’t get burned! :) I’m excited to try other flavour combos like malibu rum and banana extract or tequila and maybe lime jello instead of some of the sugar? Experimenting is the best part

    1. Wowsers shlindz, talk about an experiment. We love your suggestions, especially all the flavor options. Thanks!

        1. Hi Diana, the recipes makes about 16 lollipops. For future reference, as I do hope you’ll be making many, many more of our recipes, the yield for each recipe can be found just under the title in the red bar that includes how long the recipe takes to make. Let us know what you think of these, please!

  12. LOL. My first attempt at making hard candy I did it without a candy thermometer and, well, it was just goo. (Smiles.) I got a thermometer and since then all my batches have come out great. As to the mess, you need to watch the mixture at first, mine seems to keep trying to boil over, so I watch it till it settles, then it’s just a matter of watching the temperature…. Now I want to try adding liqueur to it and see if it works.

  13. I tried the recipe 3 times, the first time was great. The next two times they wouldn’t harden, I think I put too much alcohol in at the end. Is there a way to make them harden without having to throw away the liquid?

    1. Hi Talia, do you still have some syrup in a liquid state? Have you tried simmering it for a bit then taking it up to 300?

  14. Hello Quizine, When I tested these I used silicon molds, and the lollipops “popped” (please excuse the pun) right out. I did not oil or prep them in any way. I have heard of some who use oil spray on the plastic molds to make removal of the lollipops easier, but nothing needs to be done when silicon molds are used. I hope this helps. Happy candy making to you.

  15. Hi, question about the molds – do they have to be oiled with something? I made the recipe and bought molds from Michaels, which are plastic, but lollipops will not come out. Will try the recipe again. Hope you can give me some ideas of what I did or didn’t do correctly so that they pop out?


    1. Hi Quzine, I’m reaching out to our testers to see how they handled this sticky situation. In the meantime, what kind of molds did you use- hard plastic or flexible silicon?

    2. I just purchased candy molds from an online store. They had a separate list of molds that were intended for hard candy that are intended for the higher temp.

    1. Hi Shana, have you checked your thermometer? One of our testers had a similar problem caused by a faulty thermometer.

  16. Could I do this with kahlua? If so, could I skip the extra sugar since it already has some in it? The kahlua is homemade.

    1. Maggie, since we haven’t tried it with Kahlua and a lesser amount of sugar, we’re a little leery of saying “By all means, go ahead!” I think it could work well, it’d just require a little attentive tweaking in terms of taste and, possibly, timing. Please let us know if you give it a twirl…!

  17. I wanted to know if a liquor lollypop was already invented and found this recipe. I was disapointed because I was hoping it was the one thing that no one had thought of yet. Turns out it doesn’t matter. I can’t wait to try and make these lollipops—and to eat them. Thank you for posting it.

    1. Hi Katie, to be perfectly honest, these lollipops get licked pretty quickly so we can’t vouch for shelf life. If you make them and are able to keep any from the masses, let us know your results.

    1. I think that would be a perfect time for a taste test, Melissa. You can always let them develop more if need be.

  18. Thanks, it worked great! Just one more question, how would you go about making a cream liqueur lolipop, like White Russian or Irish cream liqueur pops?

    1. Nissa, swell to hear that you liked ’em! As for tweaking the recipe to accommodate liqueur, honestly? Sounds terrific! Although that would be an entirely different recipe, one we haven’t tested yet, so I hesitate to offer any advice lest I inadvertently steer you astray. We’ve asked around and will let you know if any of our testers have tried tweaking the recipe in that fashion. In the meantime, anyone else out there tried that?

  19. How can you make these liquor pops without cooking the alcohol so that they are actual liquor pops as opposed to a liquor flavored pop?

    1. Hi Nissa, one of our testers, Terri, added a tablespoon of liquor at the end of cooking. You might take a look at her comment above. This technique might give you the kick that you are looking for.

  20. Great idea & recipe! Do you have any recipes for lollipops that use Grand Marnier or other liqeuers? When adding additional flavorings, such as lemon peel or an herb (rosemary), when would that fit into the process?

    1. Hey, blang, nice to hear that you’re as enthralled with these lovely little lollipops–and their untold potential–as we are! As for any tweaks to the recipe, it may require a few different batches along with your daring spirit to perfect the technique, but you could substitute a liqueur for the liquor as long as you cut back slightly on the sugar. As far as adding citrus zest or herbs, we’d suggest you infuse the liquor or liqueur with the desired aroma and flavor prior to commencing the recipe. This can be done by simply blending the ingredient with the booze, steeping the mixture for several days in the fridge, and then straining the little bits from the concoction, as we do in Spruce Needle Vodka Do let us know how it goes…

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