While experimenting behind the bar at Mercantile in Charleston, Michael Mai realized that boiling down an aperitif like Cynar—a robustly bitter Italian amaro—could reduce it to a bittersweet syrup that would harden into drink-garnishing candy. The glassy sheets are great for melting into hot toddies or spiked hot chocolate, or they can be crushed to add a bit of bitter magic atop eggnog. With so much sweetness around the holidays, a little bitter is always better. In a dry environment, this candy will keep well for a few days; for longer storage, tuck a packet of silica gel in the container to absorb humidity.
- Canola oil or nonstick baking spray
- 2 cups Cynar (Italian bitter liqueur)