~ Pucker those lips and squinch those eyes, it's fernet time. Cheers! ~
Bitterness might not be ideal in a relationship, or cup of coffee, but in the cocktail world there's some love for this standoffish profile. In the last half decade in this country that crush can be found with fernets.
What is it? Fernet is a digestif made with a base alcohol, typically distilled grapes, and various herbs, spices and botanicals depending on the distillery. The spirit's roots trace back to Italy as a medicinal created by a doctor known as Dr. Fernet using over 50 herbs and botanicals. In 1845, Bernandino Branca at Fratelli Branca Distillerie came out with his own Fernet known as Fernet-Branca. Today it's the world's most popular Fernet.
Many classify it as an amaro, but "Aside from having an ABV that usually clocks in at 40 percent, the main difference between Fernet and amaro is that Fernet is less sweet", as mentioned in an Eater article.
Fernet's ABV is typically in the 30% to 45% range. It is often described to taste like mouthwash. Sounds tasty, right? Actually, I'm a fan, and not the only one. It even has an Argentinian rock song dedicated to it.
There are a lot of ways to drink fernet. Fernet and cola, or Fernet and coffee are popular combos. I have a lot of bartender friends that sip a pour before (or during) a shift. BuzzFeed has put together a list of ways to enjoy this spirit.
Did You Know? The number one fernet drinking country is Argentina. Theres e've more consumption than Italy, where it originated. CNN ran a story last fall titled, " 'Disgusting' and 'bitter': The awful booze Argentina can't get enough of ". Mentioned in the article, "The drink reached Argentinian shores in the late 19th century along with European migrants and soon became one of the country's cultural mainstays, along with tango, barbecue, mate and dulce de leech.". In the States, San Francisco has a special place for Fernet-Branca, which was legal there during Prohibition because it was classified as a medicinal. In 2008, the Bay city accounted for a quarter of US consumption.
Eater put together a list of 10 fernets besides Fernet-Banca. They include Fernet Leopold, Highland Amaro (US), Salmiakki Dala (Iceland), The Original Fernet Vittone (Italy), Fernet-Vallet (Mexico), Fernet Francisco (US), Letherbee Fernet (US), Fernet Angelico (Switzerland), Contratto Liqueur Fernet (Italy), Luxardo Fernet Amaro (Italy), and Paolo Lazzaroni E Figli Fernet Amaro (Italy).
We've had our share of Fernet-Branca posts, and it will be an ingredient in a recipe or two for an upcoming book we're working on. Still don't believe us? Here's one more article to help explain the hype. - Jason