This Fernet cocktail is one of the most unique craft cocktails! Also known as the Industry Sour, it stars Fernet-Branca and lime juice.
Here’s a fancy craft cocktail to impress all your friends: the Fernet Sour cocktail! After drinking up nearly 200 popular cocktails, we can safely say that this is one of the most uniquely delicious cocktails we’ve ever had. 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. Here’s the skinny on this Fernet cocktail!
What’s in this Fernet cocktail?
Fernet-Branca is a unique herbal liqueur that’s usually used in boozy, spirit-forward cocktails like the Toronto, similar to a Manhattan but using rye whiskey. So we were excited to try it in an unusual way: in a sour cocktail! This Fernet cocktail is based on a cocktail called the “Industry Sour” invented by a bartender named Ted Kilgore. The first recipe for the Industry Sour was posted in 2011. Here’s what Ted has to say about inventing this craft cocktail:
“This was a cocktail that I created on a Sunday night for an industry person. I basically thought to myself, What if I put all of my favorite things into a glass and just give it to him? It’s comforting at first, and then all of a sudden it hits your palate with a bomb of flavor. It’s sweet, it’s spicy, it’s intense.” (Source) The ingredients in this Fernet Sour cocktail are equal parts:
- Green Chartreuse
- Lime juice
- Simple syrup
More about Fernet-Branca
Fernet-Branca is an Italian bitter: a liqueur 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 of all kinds, stir it into a cola (as Argentinians are known to do!), or even drink it straight (as San Francisco bartenders do).
Either way, fernet is quite the trend that only seems to be going up. It is definitely worth adding it to your liquor collection. It adds intrigue, with a bitter, sweet, and herbaceous flavor all at once.
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.
What is Chartreuse liqueur?
So you’ve got Fernet-Branca…but what about Chartreuse? Chartreuse is an herbal liqueur that’s been made by French monks since the mid-1700’s. It’s made by aging alcohol with a secret blend of 130 plants. (And no, we did not make this up!) Chartreuse liqueur comes in two colors: green and yellow.
What does green Chartreuse taste like? It’s hard to describe, but it’s herbaceous, spicy and pungent. It’s lovely in Chartreuse cocktails, like the Last Word, the Bijou and the Naked and Famous. We happened to have a bottle on hand that we used in making those cocktails: Last Word in particular is a favorite of mine and similar to this Fernet cocktail.
It’s worth buying a bottle if you’re an adventurous home bartender looking for a unique liqueur! You can also sip it as a shot, and it would be nice with soda water as a sort of spritz.
How to make the Fernet sour: an equal parts cocktail
The nice part about this Fernet cocktail is that it’s an equal parts cocktail! This means that you’ll use equal parts of all ingredients. This makes it very easy to remember. Other famous equal parts cocktails are the Negroni, Last Word, Bijou and Corpse Reviver. Here’s how to make this Fernet cocktail:
- Shake: Pour equal parts Fernet-Branca, green Chartreuse, lime juice, and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and shake until cold.
- Strain: Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel if desired.
This Fernet cocktail is my favorite of all cocktails we’ve made with Fernet-Branca! This is probably because I’m a massive sour cocktail fan: but also because it’s just that good. We hope you love it too: let us know if you give it a try in the comments below.
Other Fernet cocktails
Need help using up your bottle of Fernet-Branca? Here are a few other Fernet Branca cocktails starring this bitter herbal liqueur:
- Toronto This flavorful cocktail combines the depth and warmth of rye whiskey with the intrigue of herbal Fernet-Branca liqueur.
- Hanky Panky Sophisticated and intriguing, this 1920’s cocktail is a full-flavored drink featuring gin, Fernet-Branca and sweet vermouth.
When to serve this Fernet cocktail
The Fernet sour cocktail aka Industry Sour is a sophisticated and perfectly balanced drink. It’s great for showing off to guests! Serve it as a:
- Happy hour drink
- Dinner party drink
- Late night drinks drink
- Guys or girls night drink
- Cocktail hour drink
This Fernet cocktail is one of the most unique craft cocktails! Also known as the Industry Sour, it stars Fernet Branca and lime juice.
- 1 ounce* Fernet-Branca
- 1 ounce Green Chartreuse
- 1 ounce lime juice
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and add a handful of ice. Shake until cold.
- Strain into a cocktail glass. If desired, garnish with a lime wheel.
*1 ounce is 2 tablespoons
- Category: Drink
- Method: Shaken
- Cuisine: Cocktails
Keywords: Fernet cocktail, Industry sour, Fernet cocktails
Cousin drinks: all the sours!
There is an entire cocktail family called sour cocktails. A sour is a mixed drink made of liquor, citrus, and sweetener. You might be surprised by the familiar names of cocktails that are part of the sour family. The Margarita! The Cosmo! Want to mix up a classic sour? Try your hand at:
- The Whiskey Sour, the most famous of all sours
- The Amaretto Sour, nutty and perfectly balanced
- The Boston Sour, a whiskey sour with foam topping
- The Vodka Sour or Tequila Sour, sours with these popular spirits
- The Gin Sour, very similar to a gin fizz
- The Pisco Sour, a stunning Peruvian sour made with pisco and lime
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.