Food coloring is generally bitter especially when used in excess. It carries a very artificial and chemically taste.
I’m also wondering about the citric acid/lemon juice situation- is that a powder coating on the outside or was that mixed directly into the melted sugar for lollipop flavoring? Citric acid also tastes bitter/sour and generally like garbage. If you overdid it, that could be a contributor.
Last thought is if the tincture is bitter/weird, that isn’t helping.
Here’s a standard lollipop recipe - check out the ratio of citric acid to lemon zest/juice.
- 134 grams (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon) light corn syrup
- 200 grams (1 cup) sugar
- 75 grams (1/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons) water
- 7 grams (1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon) finely grated lemon, lime, tangerine or grapefruit zest
- 2 to 3 drops of natural food coloring, plus more as needed
- 2 grams (1/2 teaspoon) citric acid
Then add in the desired portion of tincture liquid to make it an edible. If you’re incredibly heavy handed, it may take reducing the water (down to an even 1/4 cup perhaps) to encourage it to solidify. Most likely, you won’t be needing to add that much and the original recipe will be fine.
Finally- consider lemon flavoring instead of real lemon. It’s easier and eliminates the possibility that your lemon was just gross. That happens on rare occasion.