Fernet, whether you love it or not, has an unrelenting following in the world of cocktails and drinks.
Here are 17 reasons to drink Fernet Branca Today;
- Fernet doesn’t care if you don’t like it. It asks you to come to its level. Its flavor’s been described as, ‘unapologetic‘.
- Fernet is a category of ‘Amaro‘. Italian for “Bitter“. It could be said that while all Fernet’s are amari, not all amari are Fernet. There’s no consistent definition for the Fernet category. They tend to be lower in sugar than Amaro to aid digestion.
- 1960, Betsy von Furstenberg is suspended from Actors’ Equity. She spikes Tony Randall’s onstage drink with Fernet. Randall believed he’d been poisoned with iodine.
Fernet is a secret handshake in the industry. To receive an offer to share a shot of Fernet is to say:
“Welcome to the secret society of élite hospitality folks! We welcome you and feel that you are cool.”
- There are many fernet brands that come from the Czech Republic, Mexico and Italy. Global brands Luxardo, Cinzano and Martini & Rossi all make Fernet. Generally, when people ask for “a Fernet”, they are referring to Fernet Branca. By the Fratelli Branca Distillery, which has operated in Milan since 1845.
- While the exact recipe is a held secret, Fratelli Branca is the world’s biggest consumer of saffron. One of the about 27 herbs, fungi, and spices in the bottle.
- The type of mushroom used in Fernet Branca is called fly agaric. It’s called the fly mushroom because in the 1200’s it was powdered in milk to kill flies.
- Fernet Branca’s iconic logo has been registered with the Italian Ministry of National Economy. Since November 1905. The logo is a soaring eagle grappling a bottle of Fernet Branca in its talons, hovering over the globe.
- San Francisco drinks 25% of all Fernet Branca in the States. This dates back to Prohibition. Establishments there served it legally as a medicinal beverage.
- Not to be outdone, Argentina drinks 75% of Fernet Branca produced globally. They have their own distillery in Buenos Aires, built in 1905. The only ingredients different in the South American version are the sugar, sugar cane distillate and local chamomile. Everything else comes from the same sources as the Italian distillery. Search the hashtag #FernetConCola on Instagram to get a sense of the love Argentina has for Fernet. Also, why they consume 4 times the global average of Coke.
The Argentine city of Cordoba alone consumes more Fernet than all of Italy.
- Like many classic bitters, Fernet Branca started as a medicine. It has several ingredients known to boost liver function. The longest infusions or steeping of ingredients take up to 90 days to complete, then blended and aged in oak for a year. Then sweetened and brought down to 39% alcohol.
- Fernet is fun to create cocktails with its range of complex flavors. The first female head bartender of the Savoy, Ada Coleman (1875-1966) created the Hanky Panky. Which is my favorite Fernet drink.
- Never being satisfied not being the center of everything. Toronto has taken the name of the most famous Canadian cocktail with Fernet in it, The Toronto.
- Farts. A national magazine in 1962′ called Suburbia Today had an article which recommended Fernet for overeating, flatulence, hangovers and gas pains. It also ‘lifted you off the floor when you’ve mixed oysters and bananas.’ The magazine billed itself as the Magazine of Pleasant Places.
- Chicago’s Forbidden Root has collaborated with Eduardo Branca, to produce a Fernet Branca-inspired beer called Fernetic. It’s an 8.4% ABV Black Ale with similar flavor notes to Fernet.
- Ideal times to drink Fernet: It has a curative effect on hangovers, welcome in the morning. It aids digestion, best enjoyed before or after a meal. Has a fresh, minty cooling sensation, which is ideal for hot days. Is higher in alcohol and more medicinal than most bitters, which can keep you company on a cold day. Finally, it is the perfect last call drink. (Portions originally appeared on breadmagazine.ca)