Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Fernet

I'm playing with cocktails again, this time for an event my friend Chuck is 'hosting' online this month -- Mixology Monday!

The challenge is make a cocktail with an amaro (that's a 'bitter') liqueur as the star of the drink. Perennially difficult (but great for an over-full stomach) is Fernet-Branca. I'm determined to try and make something quaffable out of this stuff!

I started with a recipe provided by the good folks at the The Internet Cocktail Database (pretty much the first stop in any internet cocktail journey, I think) and found a whole bunch of recipes calling for Fernet-Branca. I decided to start with the basics.


The Fernet
(modified from the Cocktail Data Base's recipe found here)

1 1/4 oz Rye Whiskey (I used Old Overholt)
1 1/4 oz Fernet-Branca
1/2 Barspoon of simple brown syrup*
1 dash Fee Bros. Whiskey Barrel Bitters

Stir with Ice & strain into a cocktail glass.
garnish with a squeezed lemon peel on top

* a simple syrup made with brown sugar instead of the refined stuff. Quite tasty!
I used 1 cup water with 8 oz (dry) of brown sugar. Cooled and strained into a squeeze bottle. It'll keep for a while in the fridge, but put a spoonful of 100 proof vodka into it, and it will keep for a long time!

So how was the cocktail? I gotta admit, the first few sips didn't seem much different (or tastier) than a snort straight out of the Fernet-Branca bottle (Herself would like me to remind all of our potential guests that we never drink straight from any of our liquor bottles. Ever.). After a while, though, my palate warmed to the concoction and I began to appreciate the complexities of the stiff herbal bitterness of the Fernet-Branca and the mellow sweetness of the rye and sugar. The last few sips had a wonderful note of lemon from the peel (which had sunk straight to the bottom).

By the end, I was really enjoying this drink, but I don't think it's going to become a regular fave except as a kinder way to imbibe some F-B when the overindulged tummy troubles begin...

I give it 2.5 out of 5 stars. (It is a pretty drink, though!)

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