When it comes to bitter liquors, none elicits such fierce loyalty as Fernet Branca. It has a strong bitter-herbal-licorice flavor that can be a turn-off to many. But I live near San Francisco, where it’s a bartender’s drink of choice. Last year when I went to Argentina, where it is the most popular beverage hands-down, I was offered shots of Fernet or Fernet & Coke everywhere I went. So I’ve learned what it can do. And I like it. While I’m still not crazy about the shots, it does make for an interesting cocktail ingredient. Here are some drinks that tame Fernet a bit while still letting it shine.
Pimm’s Italiano ~ The very British (and delicious) Pimm’s Cup gets an Italian makeover with the help of some Fernet Branca. Light with bite!
The O’Hara ~ Bourbon, Benedictine, blackberries … and Branca. Herbal with a hint of sweetness, to prepare you for spring.
Fanciulli Cocktail ~ It’s a twist on the Manhattan, with Fernet stepping in on bitters duty. Can’t say no to that!
Fernet Flip ~ Apparently Carpano Antica and Fernet Branca are good friends. An egg and chocolate bitters make this a unique treat.
The Smoking Gun ~ Why tame the Fernet? Go bigger with some scotch! A rich brown sugar cordial and some bitters tie the whole drink together.