FernetBitters. We could take them or leave them. There are several kinds of bitters but recently everybody is talking about one in particular: Fernet.


For years, Fernet has been somewhat of a “bartender’s handshake,” signifying a secret bond over this strong but bitter drink. Recently we’ve noticed bartenders extending the tradition to consumers. If you’re a guy, you probably know what we’re talking about. Bartenders never buy dudes a shot, unless it’s Fernet (and they really really like you.)


So what exactly is Fernet? The bitter is made from a number of different herbs and spices but most notably myrrh, chamomile, aloe, rhubarb, cardamom and saffron. It tastes like bitter, minty licorice. How could that be good?


Despite our reservations, bartenders are shooting and serving Fernet’s all over the world. It all started in Argentina, where Fernet is served with Coca-Cola, becoming the closest thing to a national drink the South American country has. The act of shooting Fernet originated in San Francisco, where more Fernet is consumed than any other city in the world.


There are plenty of brands out there but the one you’ll find behind your local bar is Fernet Branca. The Italian brand has taken over the Fernet world and there are barely any other recognizable brands. It’s so famous that bartenders are known to have the Fernet Branca eagle tattooed on their arms.


If you’re not as awesome as us (it’s hard to be) and you need to drink it in a cocktail, try J.P. Caceres’ (Del Campo, Washington, D.C.) recipe.


Have you ever had Fernet? How did you drink it?