Mix It Up

7 Fernet Branca Cocktails

Sure, you can drink it straight but why not add Fernet Branca to a cocktail and we have a selection of seven that you need to make.

By: Tiff Christie|January 26,2020

While most of us think of Fernet Branca as a shot to have before shift, the amaro has a long tradition of cocktails, such as the Toronto, first mentioned in Robert Vermiere’s 1922 book Cocktails: How to Make Them, and the Hanky Panky, created by Ada Coleman of the American Bar at the Savoy in 1925.

Yet the amaro’s history goes back far further than that and it is perhaps a testament to the drink that we generally think of it as a liquid that is drunk straight. This is especially true, as it is definitely a drink not for the faint-hearted.


Hanky Panky

Midnight Stinger


Eva Peron

Out To Sea

Black Rock Chiller


First invented in 1845 by Bernardino Branca, the amaro has a unique quality that allows it to be bitter, sweet, herbaceous and spicy all at once. It is a bracingly sharp and amazingly complex flavour. The product is aged in oak barrels for at least a year prior to bottling.

At one time, Fernet was used almost exclusively as a digestif. And although it is believed that it contains 27 herbs that originate from all five continents, the actual recipe is a closely guarded secret.

The company has revealed that there is peppermint, chamomile, saffron, and myrrh among them, as well as aloe from South Africa, rhubarb from China, gentian from France, galingale from India or Sri Lanka, chamomile from Italy or Argentina, as well as a host of flowers, herbs, roots and plants.

The amaro is a deep, dark brown in colour, with subtle flashes of green when held up to the light. If you tilt the liquid around the glass you will notice a subtle yellow iridescence, that comes from the saffron used in the mix and that gives Fernet-Branca a look as unique as its taste.

Such is the amount of saffron in Fernet-Branca that the Branca family business, Fratelli Branca, is said to consume around 75 per cent of the world’s saffron supply every year. It is also believed that the minty flavour is derived from the saffron, which in higher concentrations is said to take on a mentholated flavor.

To anyone’s knowledge, there is no mint in the recipe. The company makes another product similar to Fernet called, Branca Minta, which as the name suggests does contain mint.


Originally, many Amari was purported to have medicinal properties. In fact, this was one reason Fernet was able to make it through Prohibition as other spirits fell by the wayside. It was sold legally in some San Francisco pharmacies for medicinal purposes.

The text on early versions of the Fernet-Branca bottle read: “[Fernet] benefits the stomach, promotes digestion, strengthens the body, overcomes cholera, reduces fever, and heals those suffering from nervous weakness, lack of appetite, sickness or tapeworms; suitable for use as a preventative measure for all those who are obliged to reside in damp and infectious conditions.”

Although it is mainly used to cure hangovers today, many believe that some of the drink’s popularity comes from the fact that there is no added sugar. Its popularity has been further serviced by inclusion in such outstanding drins as the Eva Peron and the Midnight Stringer.

You Might Also Like

See the latest on Youtube and Instagram

Follow and subscribe for videos, photos & more ... Follow Follow

7 Fernet Branca Cocktails

Share It! URL Copied
Up Next

Irish Coffee Day