Fernet Branca is a digestif [ingredient=amaro amaro] invented in 1845 by Bernardino Branca in Milan, Italy. The formula, like many amari, is a closely held secret - but supposedly contains everything from myrrh, chamomile, aloe, bay leaves, to galangal, and zedoary. It spends a year in oak barrels. The "Eagle and Globe" logo dates to 1893.

Fernet is a style of amaro — generally the most bitter and least sweet.

Fernet Branca is dark brown, opaque, strongly menthol-flavored, and complexly herbal smelling. It's also incredibly bitter, with very little balancing sweetness found in other amari. As such, it's fantastic after a large meal, and it's become popular as sort of a shibboleth among professional drinkers. Have a cocktail or two at your favorite bar, then ask your bartender if they'll join you in a shot of Fernet Branca and bask in the good vibes you've just created.

In small doses, Fernet Branca can give a medicinal, spicy backbone to cocktails.

Fernet Branca website

Some popular cocktails containing Fernet Branca

  • The Study — Rye, Calisaya, Fernet Branca, Sweet vermouth, Bitters, Scotch, Orange peel
  • Fernet & Jerry — Fernet Branca, Cognac, Tom & Jerry batter, Milk, Nutmeg
  • Color in Your Cheeks — Fernet Branca, Applejack, Lemon juice, Grade A amber color and rich taste maple syrup, Egg white, Apple
  • Blackout in NYC — Scotch, Sweet vermouth, Fernet Branca, Orange bitters
  • After Eight — Fernet Branca, Becherovka, Bitters, Chocolate liqueur, Egg white, Agave syrup, Cocoa powder
  • Oakland Iced Tea — Fernet Branca, Rye, Vodka, Gin, Rum, Orange liqueur, Peychaud's Bitters, Bitters, Meyer lemon juice, Sugar cube, Lemon, Thai Basil
  • Caribbean Coffee Crush — Añejo rum, Falernum, Fernet Branca, Simple syrup, Lime juice, Pineapple
  • Chef's Kiss — Fernet Branca, Herbal liqueur, Demerara syrup, Lime juice, Lime
  • Mesoamerica — Xtabentun, Fernet Branca, Bitters
  • Sacred Monkey Forest — Batavia Arrack, Fernet Branca, Herbal liqueur, Crème de Banane, Chocolate bitters, Scotch, Demerara syrup
A half bottle of Fernet Branca
©2011 Z. Pearson