Klaus is up in Boston for a visit to prove a point. That the garden fresh herbs contained in Fernet Branca offer more than just basic cocktailian satisfaction. They augment our desire for unique flavors while calming the belly.
It’s funny how Klaus can travel, seemingly around the globe then wake up to want another drink, another way of tasting liquid history.
Fernet Branca is one of the most beguiling of Amaro/digestive liqueurs. It’s packed with herbs and garden botanicals. When woven with really great cola, (Klaus LOVES Q-Kola made with natural cane sugar from his friend Jordan Silbert in Brooklyn) and served with a mash of home-marinated cherries, (get rid of those awful red things in a jar from the supermarket) Klaus is determined to teach his many friends about true flavor!
Fernet Branca is a creative gar-tenders dream liqueur. The brooding 80 Proof alcohol plays a big role in the flavor balance. It is liquid fire and it’s not meant to be charming or cloyingly sweet. Fernet is not flavored vodka. It doesn’t taste like cake or dare I say soft whipped cream.
There is nothing sweet or tender about Fernet Branca.
It’s got a spicy aromatic kick that takes some getting used to. If you are shy about the assertive taste of Fernet Branca, Klaus suggests trying the newer version of Menta Branca, woven with more garden botanicals and peppermint. This preparation dates back to the 1960’s when younger drinkers asked for Fernet to be augmented by peppermint syrup to mask the stronger elements of the digestive.
The original formula of Fernet Branca was first developed in the mid 19th century in Italy. As a liqueur it dates back over 150 years. It is a digestive that can be enjoyed after a large meal- to help absorb heavy food and drink. In the country of Argentina they have enjoyed Fernet Branca with its unique blend of eucalyptus, menthol and forty different botanical herbs with cola, (just like Klaus), in San Francisco they enjoy Fernet with a Ginger Beer chaser.
You might like yours straight from the freezer, icy cold and lush with frost.
Klaus likes his icy cold out of a drinking luge crafted from ice. Klaus sits, poised in front of the carved ice, waiting patiently for his turn to slide the spicy slurp down his impish face. He told me many times that Fernet is not for everyone, but everyone should try Fernet at least once, then again for good measure…
Fernet is not the easiest thing to mix with and rightfully so. The assertive 80 proof heat is not tucked into the background, nor is it hidden behind candy flavors. Fernet drunk icy cold from the freezer is front and center in your cerebral cortex. Klaus says that a few shots of Fernet and he feels like dancing a German Jig. Or sometimes he yodels. I prefer the latter because he has an amazing voice.
Klaus’s Weekend in Boston Cocktail
Spiced Rum Cherries (cure Washington State Cherries in spiced Rum like Sailor Jerry for a couple of weeks- keep refrigerated)
Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water
Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Cardamom and Clove
Sprig of fresh Rosemary
Bitter End Curry Bitters
Take 2 oz. of Fernet Branca or Menta Branca and chill well with ice
Add 4 tbs. of Royal Rose Simple Syrup of Cardamom and Clove
Stir to combine
Pour into a tall glass with the sprig of Rosemary
Fill to ¾ and then top with your Perrier Sparkling Water
Float a bit of the Q-Kola over the Perrier (Klaus is looking for just a light touch of the cola flavor in this drink)
Drop a couple of your homemade Sailor Jerry spiced rum cherries into the glass
Finish with three-four drops of the Bitter End Curry Bitters
Sip to digestive relief with this very uniquely Italian Amaro in a cocktail!