While fernet is often dismissed as a “love it or hate it” spirit, appropriate only for those few obsessed advocates, anyone can learn to love its seductive bitterness with the help of mixology. When used correctly, the powerful amaro works wonders in drinks. Here, the best cocktails to make with fernet.
6 Cocktails for Fernet Lovers and Haters
With its foreboding, inky black hue, the Black Pearl represents the devilish side of tiki, and it wouldn’t look out of place at a Voodoo ceremony. Dip into these murky waters and find the rum-spiked hidden treasure within.
Not all fernet cocktails are bitter. This milkshake builds on fernet’s natural harmony with Coca-Cola and peppermint to create a minty treat perfect for holiday sipping. Though its creamy white complexion may make it look innocent enough, this complex cocktail is definitely on the naughty list.
Vanilla Ice Cream
A shot of fernet will certainly wake you up, clearing your sinuses with a medicinal punch, but for added oomph, look to its bitter relative: coffee. The two potent flavors find balance against the backdrop of tonic and St-Germain, which elevate the bitter duo to new heights. Don’t try sipping this one before bed.
One of the most successful fernet cocktails, the Hanky Panky is nearly a century old. Invented in 1925 at the American Bar in London, it uses gin and sweet vermouth to introduce drinkers outside of Italy to the wonders of fernet.
Fernet con Cola is a popular mixture in Argentina, so it should come as no surprise that Argentine-American restaurant El Che Bar should feature an ice cream float variation, bringing the South American soda cocktail to the American soda fountain. The float is garnished with fruit compote and candied nuts, as any proper sundae should be, combining jammy and nutty flavors with the fernet in an exhilaratingly sweet drink.
vanilla ice cream
The taste of fernet is utterly distinctive—so it may come as a shock when its presence is revealed in this reimagined Rum & Coke. The “Coke” is actually a patchwork of Champagne and cola syrup, but it’s fernet that supplies the alluring edge, playing off the sweetness of the white rum for a beguiling fizzy experience.