Learn why Fernet is taking Newport by storm.
Fernet-Branca is an intense bitter that was invented in Milan, Italy by Bernandino Branca in 1845. While its recipe is a trade secret, it is known to contain 27 herbs and other ingredients. The title is the brand name for the Branca family’s own fernet.
Fernet is an Amaro (Italian for “bitter”), which is a type of European digestif made only in Italy. It is sharply bitter compared to other types of amari. This particular amaro weighs in at 39% ABV, which it hides quite well behind its bitterness.
One of the sources for that bitterness?
Particularly diffused in Europe and Asia, it’s called Chamomile because in greek “chamáimēlon” means “apple of the earth”, in reference to its characteristic scent similar to a rennet apple. A plant with both emollient and relaxing properties, Chamomile has precious anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties, and has been used since 3.000 b.c for giving both strength and calm at the same time. Traces of Chamomile were found even in Ramses II’s tomb. According to experts, their purpose was to give to the late Pharaoh the necessary virtues to enter the after-life.
Learn more at Fernet-Branca’s website.
Fernet is a grown-up drink. It has the kind of taste that puts young children off of alcohol. Once you reach a certain age and gustatory maturity, its appeal can suddenly be understood. One reason that it has seen a recent resurgence in the United States is a movement to return to old-school cocktails using classic ingredients. Classically-trained bartenders are looking to drink recipes from the Prohibition-era and before and then tweaking them. In order to create these mixed drinks, they need the original ingredients which means that they need liquor that was invented in the 19th century. Fortunately, many facilities like the Fratelli Branca Distillery are still in business.
However, if you don’t see yourself as a mixologist, know that fernet can be drank neat or, as they do in South America, mixed with Coke.
Among Newport’s craft cocktail community, fernet is the shot of choice as well as a common side ingredient for those concocting beverages…as well as the perfect way to both start and end one’s day. Not only is its flavor enjoyable, it also provides that air of sophistication to whatever it touches.