Fernet is a caramel-colored alcoholic drink. It is primarily made by distilling fermented grape and contains herbs and spices that produce a bitter aroma. Different brands of Fernet use different secret recipes and combinations of herbs and spices. Up to 40 herbs and spices are known to be ingredients of different Fernet brands. Many people consider Fernet to be a healthy alcoholic drink because of the herbs and spices it contains. Because of the presence of herbs and spices in Fernet, it is often used in several home remedies for menstrual cramps, gastrointestinal irritation, hangovers, infant colic, and cholera.
Its herbal features aside, Fernet is popular as an alcoholic drink in many countries. Argentina produces around 20 million liters of Fernet, which is very popular in Buenos Aires and Cordoba. Fernet’s popularity also rose in the last twenty years in the Czech Republic where it is served as a mixture called Bavorak or Bavorske Pivo (Bavarian Beer). In the United States, San Francisco is reported as the largest consumer of Fernet, which can be easily bought at local bars.
There are many ways to drink or serve Fernet. The following are some of the common ways of drinking or serving Fernet.
- Unmixed. If you’re a purist drinker, you’ll probably want to enjoy Fernet on its own merits, raw, unadulterated, and unmixed. Pour some into a shot glass and shoot. The experience has been described as somewhat exhilarating. It’s going to be bitter and strong. Once it touches your mouth, it will taste somewhat like mouthwash and will sting your tongue and make your mouth feel dry. After a few moments, you will start to experience its real wonder: you will feel a wave of warmth running all over you. Many people say that the bitterness is worth it. If you want to drink Fernet for relief of menstrual cramps or gastrointestinal irritation, it is probably best to drink it unmixed.
- As a digestif. This calls for a specific time to drink unmixed Fernet: after a meal. A digestif is an alcoholic beverage served after meals purportedly to aid in digestion.
- As an aperitif. This lies on the opposite side of a digestif. Serve Fernet before a meal. Brancamenta, which is a minty version of Fernet-Branca, is a good choice for this particular use. For best results as an aperitif, you can try drinking Brancamenta with crushed ice and diluted with mineral water.
- With Coke. Rum is not the only beverage you can mix with Coca-Cola. You can serve Fernet as a cold beverage mix. Into a tall glass, pour Fernet and Coca-Cola at a ratio of 1 part Fernet for every 2 parts Coke. Serve the Fernet-spiked Coke with a straw; you can also add ice cubes. For a less potent version, use a ratio of 1 part Fernet for every 9 parts Coke. Just make sure that you pour the Fernet into the glass first, and then slowly add Coke.
- Czech-style. It’s a simple mixture: Fernet and tonic water served on ice. People in the Czech Republic call it Bavarian Beer.
- California-style. This is common in San Francisco area and is known to relieve hangovers. Shoot one shot glass of Fernet and follow immediately with a gingerale chaser.
- With coffee or espresso. Set the brandy aside. This time, spike your coffee or espresso with Fernet instead.
Like most other alcoholic beverages, Fernet can be drunk unmixed or combined with other beverages to produce limitless variations. Regardless of how you drink