Skip to main content

3 Essential Fernet Cocktails To Make at Home

Not many spirits inspire quite the response that Fernet does. The dark Italian amaro has long been adored by bartenders and certain corners of the world for its incredibly distinctive profile. But for every soul who loves the stuff, there seems to be an equal or greater number of folks who find Fernet utterly repulsive.

The flavor is a bit polarizing and part of the draw is the secret recipe, something quite common among European amaro. It is wildly bitter, with notes of menthol, anise, and fresh-plucked herbs. Fernet is a witches’ brew of chamomile, cardamom, rhubarb, aloe, saffron, and more atop a base of grape spirits. It pours nearly opaque and remains popular among industry types, ever-thirsty for a post-shift drink that’s anything but ordinary.

An estimated three-quarters of all Fernet is consumed in Argentina. The South American nation is obsessed with throwing it in a glass with some Coke, or with some coffee or espresso after a meal. Several brands are in orbit with the most popular and iconic being Fernet-Branca. The brand is headquartered is Milan but thanks to all the love it gets in Argentina, has one additional distillery in Buenos Aires.

Fernet-Branca Manhattan Cocktail on Table
Image used with permission by copyright holder

If you have bartender friends, you’ve probably already sipped the stuff straight. It’s been a go-to and invigorating pour within the drinks inner-circle for a couple of decades now. But Fernet also mixes well, if you’re careful. It plays well with ingredients like ginger (try it in a Moscow Mule) as well as citrus (also try it with gin or in place of gin in a Tom Collins).  If the flavor is for you, try it with a splash of soda water. If Fernet is too fierce for you, experiment with adding a dose or two to your favorite coffee drink as the roasted beans can take some of the sting out of the stuff.

Here are a few more cocktails to consider as you learn your away around the cultish amaro:

Fernet Manhattan

This riff on the classic cocktail demonstrates how a little Fernet can go a long way in the glass. It matches well with bourbon but does especially well alongside a sweet and aromatic vermouth.


  • 2 oz bourbon  
  • 1 oz Antica Formula  
  • .25 oz Fernet-Branca  


In a mixing glass half-filled with ice, combine the bourbon, Antica Formula and Fernet-Branca. Stir until chilled, about 30 seconds. Garnish with a preserved cherry. 

Fernet Old Fashioned

Tempering Fernet can sometimes be an issue but nothing a little sweetness can’t handle. Here, the sugar cube does the heavy lifting, rounding out Fernet’s edgier side.


  • 2 oz Rye or Bourbon 
  • .25 oz Fernet-Branca 
  • 1 sugar cube 


In the bottom of a rocks glass, muddle the sugar cube and Fernet-Branca. Add rye or bourbon and a large ice cube and stir until chilled. Garnish with an orange twist.  

Hanky Panky

Gin and Fernet combine to create an extremely fragrant cocktail here, one you can leisurely sniff and enjoy as the many layers meld over time.


  • 2 oz Fernet-Branca 
  • 1.5 oz gin 
  • .75 oz Antica Formula Vermouth 


Combine all ingredients in a glass with ice. Stir until well chilled. Strain into a glass.

Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
Summer whiskey cocktails: These are our favorites
Summer weather was meant for whiskey cocktails
Whiskey cocktails

You might not immediately think of whiskey as a summery spirit, and we get that. When you imagine nuanced single-malt Scotch whisky or spicy, warming rye whiskey, you likely envision a cold (possibly snowy) evening. You probably also have thoughts of drinking it neat. What about using whiskey as a summertime mixer?

If you only reach for gin, vodka, tequila, and rum for your mixing needs during the warmer months, you’re missing out. That’s because myriad blended Scotch whiskies, single malts, rye whiskeys, bourbons, and various other types of whiskey are perfect for mixing. Don’t believe us? There are countless summer whiskey cocktails perfect for now until the leaves start falling (and beyond).
Our favorite summer whiskey cocktails

Read more
Watermelon, cucumber, and bourbon make for the perfect summer cocktail
Mix yourself a juicy, refreshing 52 Reasons cocktail to sip for the summer
52 reasons cocktail  1

Does anything say summer more than a great big slice of fresh, juicy watermelon? As a cool and refreshing snack, watermelon is a staple favorite for picnics and barbecues. But this fruit doesn't get used in cocktails all that often, which is a shame. While there are watermelon cocktail recipes out there, it's always a pleasure to see some more. And a new recipe from Eric LeGrand Bourbon called the 52 Reasons incorporates watermelon juice for a fruity, sippable summer delight.

The recipe calls for both watermelon juice (which is easy to make in a blender -- just blend chunks of watermelon with some water and a dash of sugar to taste) and cucumber mint simple syrup. The cucumber adds to the cool, juicy nature of the drink, and the mint adds some freshness. These balance with the spicy, sweet notes of the bourbon.

Read more
11 essential salad recipes any man can learn how to make
These salad recipes are hearty and manly
Mediterranean bean salad

here’s no such thing as a boring salad. With so many topping options, there’s no reason to feel underwhelmed when looking at leafy greens. The heartier, the better, and these big, bountiful bowls are filled to the brim with proteins and veggies and added levels to give the salad flavors and textures.
These 11 recipes are the best salad recipes that are perfect for your next weekday lunch or a fast and fresh dinner.
Mediterranean bean salad

(From The View From Great Island)
This colorful and crunchy mixed bean salad is packed with protein and perfect for a quick bite or a side.

Read more