Fernet Branca

Fernet Branca

The mainstream media is filled with articles these days about how you must try the beef and wine in Argentina. You must have a steak and malbec they say. Do they mention beer? Maybe. Fernet? I have yet to see it. Probably because these journalists haven’t enjoyed an asado in someone’s backyard or quincho (the indoor barbecue party playroom).

Although Fernet may be spotted at tables in parrilla restaurants, you don’t see it as often there as you do at a personal asado gathering. Where you’ll usually find a few guys at one end of the table having a lively discussion while ever so often refilling their glasses with this dark thick liquid-sometimes with a touch of Coca-Cola. Some start with Fernet and stick with it from the beginning to end while others crack open the bottle when no more meat will be consumed.

Fernet Branca, that’s what I’m talking about. If you’ve never tried it or anything similar, well, you need to take a swig at least once in your life. However, that first taste will probably bring back memories of your early life when you experimented with the taste of rubber bands. Some love it while others hate it with a passion that will even make a grown man cringe upon taking a whiff of this herbal alcoholic beverage. Me, although it isn’t something that is always stocked in the bar, I like it on occasion. A long time passed before I reached that point, let me tell you.

Give it a try. It’ll grow hair on your chest.

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24 Comment(s)

  1. I do remember Fernet Branca very fondly… fortunately, it can be purchased in the USA… we used to mix about 1 oz of Fernet with a bottle of Coca-Cola.. it was a great summer drink!
    What I really miss is Ferroquina Bisleri… I’ve been looking for it for decades!!!

    If you know where to get it and you let me know, I’ll definitely appreciate…

    Great site!

    Cordially,

    O.

    orlando | Jan 30, 2007 | Reply

  2. When describing the taste of Fernet Branca, I usually use one word:

    “Catholicism”

    Mainly I’m just trying to be enigmatic :)

    The reason I say it, though, is that I think it tastes the same as incense smells, as in the incense that was burnt in Church services during my Catholic upbringing.

    But rubber bands is of course another good attempt at describing this strange but intriguing taste.

    Alan Patrick | Jan 30, 2007 | Reply

  3. orlando:

    I’ll check around for that, but I can’t recall ever seeing it.

    Alan:

    Now that you mention it you’re right. Does have the same smell now that I think about it. I knew there was something familiar.

    Asado Arg | Jan 31, 2007 | Reply

  4. Hi-
    I came across your blog and love it! I’d like to link to it if you don’t mind. My blog is http://www.emac-adventure.blogspot.com
    Thanks!!

    Erin | Feb 15, 2007 | Reply

  5. Talk about timing! I just had it for the first time today. WOW.

    matt | Feb 15, 2007 | Reply

  6. Thanks Erin!

    Excellent Matt, but go easy now :) . Been following your posts, looks like you’re having a blast up there.

    Asado Arg | Feb 16, 2007 | Reply

  7. Fernet is a strange beast but so beloved by the Argentines, but ALWAYS with Coca Cola, never in shot form. I always tell visitors that the first one is the hardest to handle but that if they really want to experience Argentina, an F&C is called for. I also find that the typical Argentine ratio of Fernet to Coke is about 30% Fernet, and the rest Coke with a slight dash of Fernet on top at the end to kill the head.

    There was a big Fernet craze in San Francisco a few years back but that seems to have died down. Read about it here

    Goyo | Feb 23, 2007 | Reply

  8. http://sfweekly.com/2005-12-07/news/the-myth-of-fernet/

    Goyo | Feb 23, 2007 | Reply

  9. Hey Goyo. Thanks for the SF article, interesting read.

    >kill the head

    Good of you to bring that up, I should’ve included a warning about the head of this beast. Not only is it not enjoyable to drink through but I can’t count how many times I’ve made a mess by mixing too quickly.

    Asado Arg | Feb 23, 2007 | Reply

  10. How about “Branca Menta”? Is made by the same company, almost the same plants inside, but with extra mint and less alcohol. With some Sprite and ice + lemon juice is very refreshing. Actually now I like it more than the normal Fernet.

    catalin | Apr 22, 2007 | Reply

  11. Hi Catalin,

    You know, I tried it once but can’t remember the taste. Not sure why I never tried it again and I always look at it when I’m at the store. I’ll pick up a small bottle one of these days and give my input here.

    Asado Arg | Apr 24, 2007 | Reply

  12. ACK!! PHTBBBB! Smells like wet cement and tastes even worse than Killepitsch which I thought was the worst drink ever……just shows, everything is relative!

    slofox | Jun 29, 2007 | Reply

  13. where can i find a bottle of Fernet Branca in soutern california?

    Franklin | Sep 7, 2007 | Reply

  14. Hi Franklin,

    I would think any large or well-stocked liquor store would have it. I just checked bevmo.com and they have a couple available. I also see that they have a bunch of stores in CA.

    Asado Arg | Sep 10, 2007 | Reply

  15. I was first introduced to it in the Bahama’s. I had a very bad cold and a fever. Drink it in hot water and my temp was back to normal in less than 2 hours. Good for sore throats also. Actually I heard it is good for a lot of health problems.

    Jo Giovannoni | Nov 26, 2007 | Reply

  16. Downed so much of this in Cordoba(where the drink the most).Right the first one is a little strange,but after that it’s addictive.They also mix it with cinzano and lemon juice at the Sunday Asado!

    Ian G. | Dec 2, 2007 | Reply

  17. Hi Jo, I’ll have to try mixing with hot water next time I’m sick!

    Haven’t tried that combo Ian but sounds interesting.

    Asado Arg | Dec 3, 2007 | Reply

  18. My dad is from switzerland and has always used a shot or two straight to settle an upset stomach. Seriously I always think I’m gonna heave when I even smell, let alone taste it. But, it always has worked. Never knew it helped with colds! It must be the herbs.

    heather | Dec 19, 2007 | Reply

  19. i’m from argentina…… from santa fe is next to cordoba…. and north to buenos aires……… and we drink a lot of fernet with coke……. we said… is not a party without fernet!!!!!! the correct way to mix is like somebody said 30% fernet and 70% coke……….. and it’s really good to drink a little zip when your tummy is upset…………. the old dairy farm people say the best is drink just a little bit of fernet with the worm really fresh cow milk….. but…. i’ve never tried this…… jajaja…… ok….. now i live in oakdale Ca…. and i really miss branca!!!!!!!! but in san frnacisco i can find it ……. but is 50 box per bottle and in argetnina is only 15 bos per bottle…….. ahhhhh……. and the branca menta is almos the same but with mint flavor, and in argetina is mixed with sprite 30% branca menta 70% sprite……..

    Alina | Dec 3, 2010 | Reply

  20. Hey! I’m from Rafaela, Santa Fe in Argentina and now I’m living for a while in La Crosse, WI… The first thing that I thought of when coming was… I got to bring with me a couple of bottles of fernet!!! I wouldn’t survive without it!!! and of course I did, hahahaha!

    Nothing better that an asado with friends and big jars of fernet with coca cola to share… That’s what is all about!!!

    Diego | Dec 30, 2010 | Reply

  21. @Diego Definitely! A quick search on Bevmo.com shows that they ship to WI and there are a few Fernet Brancas in stock if you can’t find any in local stores!

    Asado Argentina | Jan 3, 2011 | Reply

  22. hello there!

    we carry three kinds of fernet in our hotel; the Branca brand, the italian Ramazotti, and the 1882 brand from cordoba, argentina.

    Although most of our clients use fernet with coke, we use it too in our pastry kitchen; chocolate truffles with fernet. It accentuated the bitter chocolate taste.

    have a nice day
    jeroen

    jeroen | Jan 10, 2011 | Reply

  23. when i partied down in Mendoza on Fernet it was just assumed that (for whatever the reason) it was the only AFFORDABLE way to get f**ed up! It’s a particularly horrible hangover, though, and it makes your poop black the next day. sorry if that was too much sharing.

    joshua Shuffman | Jan 14, 2011 | Reply

  24. Ahhhh Fernet y coca! This, asado, and alfajores are the food and beverage memories I will treasure forever. When I asked for it in BsAs though, they knew I had spent a significant amount of time in Córdoba…

    Heike | Jan 20, 2011 | Reply

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