Most people don’t know that Fernet is not a brand name, but instead is a style of amaro. Made in a similar style to vermouth, Fernet is an infusion of herbs and spices in a distilled alcohol base, which obviously makes it much stronger than vermouth. It is also aged in oak casks to mellow out the rough edges. Many consider it the Listerine of amaros. You will either love or hate it. I have yet to meet anyone who stands in the middle ground. One thing is for certain, once you taste it, you will never forget it.
The most popular version of Fernet in the US, is the one called Branca made for 168 years in Milan, Italy. Long a staple of the San Francisco bar crowd who often do shots of it followed by a ginger ale chaser, it actually sells more in Argentina where it is commonly mixed into cola or with soda water. If you want to experiment with the effect it has in a cocktail, I would suggest ordering a Toronto cocktail and see what you think.
Fernet Branca (80 proof)
Visual: Very dark brown.
Nose: Heavy menthol with distant notes of dried herbs.
Taste: Intense eucalyptus slowly takes on more subtle herb flavors in a fairly neutral alcohol base.
Finish: The mintiness goes on and on like you’ve just swallowed mouthwash. Yet, in spite of this intensity, there is a underlayer of dark bitterness.
Overall: One of a kind. This truly deserves the cult following it has developed over the years.
GSN Rating: A-
For more information go to: Fratelli Branca