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.
Some popular cocktails containing Fernet Branca
- The Study — Rye, Calisaya, Fernet Branca, Sweet vermouth, Bitters, Scotch, Orange peel
- 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
- Color in Your Cheeks — Fernet Branca, Applejack, Lemon juice, Grade A dark amber maple syrup, Egg white, Apple
- Fernet & Jerry — Fernet Branca, Cognac, Tom & Jerry batter, Milk, Nutmeg
- Coco Fernet — Fernet Branca, Coconut liqueur, Fernet, Virgin Islands Rum, Lime peel
- Caribbean Coffee Crush — Añejo rum, Falernum, Fernet Branca, Simple syrup, Lime juice, Pineapple
- Mesoamerica — Xtabentun, Fernet Branca, Bitters
- Poor Sap — Rye, Maple liqueur, Fernet Branca, Grenadine, Maraschino cherry
- Dark and Moody — Fernet Branca, Herbal liqueur, Simple syrup, Lime juice