Got a bottle of Fernet? Here are the top Fernet Branca cocktails to impress your friends with this bitter Italian amaro.
Got a bottle of Fernet-Branca and want to know how to use it? This Italian amaro is quite the trend, and it only appears to be going up! This ultra bitter Italian bitter liqueur is made with a mix of herbs and spices. It has a higher alcohol content than most bitters: 40 to 45% alcohol. You can use a splash in cocktails, stir it into a cola (as Argentinians are known to do!), or even drink it straight. But it’s got such a bitter, astringent flavor that’s at its very best in cocktails.
Here are three must-try Fernet Branca cocktails, from classic cocktails to modern spins! The Fernet adds intrigue and complexity in a way no other Italian amaro can. Ready to get mixing?
Tip: How to pronounce Fernet-Branca? It’s Italian, so you say “Fair-net brahn-ka”. (Resist the temptation to make it French and say Fair-nay.) Want to know more? Head to our Quick Guide to Fernet Branca.
And now…our top Fernet Branca cocktails!
The most famous of all Fernet Branca cocktails? Try the Toronto! If you love whiskey drinks, this is the cocktail for you. A fancy spin on the Old Fashioned, the Toronto features whiskey and Fernet-Branca. What does it taste like? A Toronto is alcohol-forward, with a sophisticated, complex, and rich flavor. It balances the earthiness of the rye whiskey with the subtle bitterness of the Fernet-Branca.
The Toronto was first recorded in a cocktail book in 1922. Some say the cocktail originated around 1915 in Toronto by Italian immigrants who brought the amaro with them, but the exact history is uncertain.
Ingredients: Canadian or rye whiskey, Fernet-branca, simple syrup, Angostura bitters
Here’s a fancy craft cocktail to impress all your friends: the Fernet Sour! It’s also known as the Industry Sour, starring bitter and herbal Fernet-Branca, funky green Chartreuse, and lime juice. There’s so much nuance in flavor going on, you can barely describe it: sweet, sour, bitter and refreshing all at once. It requires two specialty ingredients, but they’re well worth it.
This Fernet cocktail is based on a cocktail called the “Industry Sour” invented by a bartender named Ted Kilgore. The first recipe for the drink was posted in 2011.
Ingredients: Fernet-branca, Green Chartreuse, simple syrup, lime juice
Here's another classic Fernet Branca cocktail: the Hanky Panky! It's like a gin martini, balanced between sweet, bitter and herbal flavors. It’s complex and nuanced, with a smooth flavor perfect for sipping. The star here is Fernet-Branca that adds an herbal punch.
The Hanky Panky was invented by a famous woman bartender in the 1920’s named Ada Coleman, known as “Coley.” Coley worked at the American Bar in London’s Savoy Hotel. She invented this cocktail for a famous actor (named Sir Charles Hawtrey). Apparently when he first tasted it, he exclaimed “By Jove! That is the real hanky panky!” A very 1920’s way of saying, “Dang, this drink is good.”
Ingredients: Gin, sweet vermouth, Fernet-branca
More great Italian amaro cocktails
Fernet Branca is just one amaro in a family of liqueurs. Amaro or amari (plural) refers to a family of Italian herbal liqueurs with a bitter flavor. In fact, amaro means bitter in Italian. This family encompasses a wide range of spirits: Campari on one end, Aperol in the middle, and hundreds of varieties in between. Want more amaro cocktails? Here are some favorite classic cocktails that use these trendy liqueurs:
- Black Manhattan with Amaro Averna
- Amaro Spritz with Amaro Meletti
- Paper Plane with Amaro Nonino Quintessentia
- Brooklyn with Amaro Tosolini
- Cynar Negroni with Cynar
- Classic Negroni or Jungle Bird with Campari
- Aperol Spritz or Naked and Famous with Aperol
Toronto (Classic Fernet Branca Cocktail)
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 drink 1x
This flavorful Toronto cocktail combines the depth and warmth of whiskey with the intrigue of herbal Fernet-Branca liqueur.
- 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) rye whiskey
- ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) Fernet-Branca
- ½ tablespoon simple syrup or pure maple syrup
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- For the garnish: Orange peel
- Combine the rye whiskey, Fernet-Branca, syrup and bitters in a cocktail mixing glass (or any other type of glass). Fill the mixing glass with 1 handful ice and stir continuously for 30 seconds.
- Strain into a glass. Garnish with an orange peel and serve.
- Category: Drink
- Method: Shaken
- Cuisine: Cocktails
- Diet: Vegan
Keywords: Fernet branca cocktails
Have you ever try the Argentinian way to drink it? It’s made with Coca-Cola, ice and fernet.
The glass has to be full of ice, then you add 30% of Fernet and 70% of Coca-Cola.
We’ll have to try it! Thanks for sharing.
i was inspired to make a gin cocktail after reading your cocktail recipes
gin (5 times distilled )
aromatic bitters ( i used creole bitters )
fresh lemon juice
ice shaken till cold absolutley delicious !