From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
TypeAmaro bitters (fernet)
ManufacturerFratelli Branca Distillerie
Country of originMilan, Italy
Alcohol by volume39%

Fernet-Branca [ferˈnɛt ˈbraŋka] is a brand of amaro, or bitter herbal liqueur. Bernardino Branca invented the Fernet-Branca bitter in Milan, Italy, in 1845.[1] The brand 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. The bitters are made from 27 herbs and other ingredients. The exact formula is a trade secret known only to the Fernet-Branca president, Niccolò Branca, who personally measures out the aromatics during the production process.

The same manufacturer also offers a sweeter, mint-flavored liqueur under the label Branca Menta.

As a fernet, the beverage has a higher ABV (39%) and lower sugar content than most other amaros.[2]


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",[3] the "Fanciulli", and the more prolific "Hanky Panky".

The beverage was originally promoted for its health benefits including as a remedy for “overeating, flatulence, hangovers, gas pains, (and) lifting yourself off the floor when you’ve mixed oysters and bananas.”[4]

Fernet-Branca has enjoyed a recent growth in popularity in the United States particularly due to an increase in the interest in mixing/serving of classic cocktails. A 1.5oz shot has become known as the "Bartender's Handshake" usually to be consumed with a colleague in the Industry.

Bartenders (especially on the West Coast) have carried on the tradition of Challenge Coins, adopted from the US Military and Law Enforcement. "Fernet Coins" as they have been called are all branded the same on the face of the coin with the Fernet Branca namesake and insignia, however the reverse is unique to specific events, dates, and locations. Buying a Fernet coin is against the rules, as all coins must be either earned, traded, or gifted.

In Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay, "Fernet con Coca"—Fernet-Branca with Coca-Cola—is a popular refreshment.[5]

In Finland, specially Lahti, "2cl Fernet" is a popular refreshment.

In popular culture[edit]

  • Alfred Pennyworth (played by Michael Caine) drinks Fernet-Branca in the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises.[6]
  • The drink features in the comic novel Cooking with Fernet Branca by James Hamilton-Paterson.[7]
  • The song, "I Drink Fernet" produced by DJ Pause featuring rapper Equipto, singer Michael Mashall, Skeptic and Cognito, is dedicated to the drink Fernet, specifically Fernet-Branca.[8]
  • Bill Cosby, on his 1973 album Fat Albert, performed a comedic monologue about how, while in Florence, Italy, Fernet-Branca helped him recover from unknowingly ordering, and then intentionally eating, barbecued sparrow.
  • On the podcast Harmontown, co-host and “Comptroller”, Jeff Bryan Davis is known to be an avid drinker of Fernet Branca. It’s frequently used as a humorous device to show Davis’ high end, elegant taste.


  1. ^ "Fernet-Branca History".
  2. ^ "The Fuss About Fernet-Branca". Drink Spirits. 3 November 2013. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  3. ^ Flack, Derek (2017-08-23). "Toronto's namesake cocktail is the best drink you've never had". blogTO.
  4. ^ Curtis, Wayne (2008-11-01). "The Bitter Beginning". The Atlantic.
  5. ^ Caro, Rebecca. "Argentinean Mixology: Fernet and Coke". From Argentina With Love. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  6. ^ Along With the Dark Knight, Fernet Branca Also Rises The Drink Nation. Retrieved November 03, 2015.
  7. ^ Drzal, Dawn (2015-12-18). "From a Tuscan Kitchen". The New York Times. New York, NY. Retrieved 2015-11-03.
  8. ^ Christopher, Ross (2011-06-21). "Are Italian Digestifs the New Courvoisier? Check the Rap Dedicated to Fernet-Branca". Culture. Details Magazine. Retrieved 2015-11-03.

External links[edit]