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Fernet-Branca is a brand of fernet from Italy that was invented in Milan in 1845. Bernandino Branca created the Fernet-Branca bitter which soon thereafter gained popularity, leading to the founding of the Fratelli Branca Distillery.
Intensely bitter since its inception in 1845, Fernet-Branca has been produced according to the original recipe that has been handed down from generation to generation. Its formula is a secret so tightly kept that since its origin even those who procure the herbs do not know the exact quantities. Today, the only custodian of the Fernet-Branca formula is the president, Niccolò Branca, who personally measures out the aromatics during the production process.
The same manufacturer also offers a sweeter, bitter mint-flavored Branca Menta.
Fernet-Branca is often consumed neat as a digestif, typically served in a cordial glass, or as a mixing component (usually supportive and not as the primary ingredient) in cocktails such as the "Toronto", the "Fanciulli", and the more prolific "Hanky Panky". Fernet-Branca has enjoyed a recent growth in popularity in the United States particularly due to an increase in the interest in and mixing/serving of "vintage" cocktails.
Fernet-Branca is the drink of choice of Alfred Pennyworth (played by Michael Caine) in the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises. It also serves as the focal point of a comedy routine by Bill Cosby, in which he uses a glass of the beverage to relieve a severe case of indigestion brought about by eating barbecued sparrow.
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