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Cocktails & Spirits


Fernet Branca: first taste leads to puzzlement


Cocktails & Spirits 13

Fernet Branca: first taste leads to puzzlement

quokka70 | Nov 17, 2008 11:57 AM

[I initially posted this in the San Francisco forum, which was a mistake. I'm reposting it here.]


After reading about Fermet Branca in this month's _Atlantic_ I decided to give it a try. I found a bottle at a great price at my local Mission St liquor store and tried a shot after dinner on Saturday.

After reading about the drink in the magazine and online I expected a bizarre, bitter, confusing assault on my senses, and a lengthy period of acclimatization to an "acquired taste" (as I experienced years ago with oysters and wine and am currently going through with whisky). Instead, my first shot (which I slammed) was an anticlimax. It tasted mainly of mint, with a mild, somewhat bitter aftertaste which lingered for a while. It wasn't particularly bitter, had no sign of anise, and didn't remind me at all of medicine.

On Sunday evening, just after a square of dark chocolate, I decided to sip my Fernet, on the theory that I'd simply missed the complexity of the flavor by slamming my shot the night before. But again my experience was of a simple, very minty flavor with a lingering, slightly bitter aftertaste. I quite enjoyed it, but it hardly opened a new door to my palette. It wasn't an _interesting_ flavor.

I am confused. I certainly bought a bottle of Fernet Branca and not Fernet Mentha, so I'm not drinking the mintified version. Perhaps I got a bad batch or (more likely) my taste buds are defective in some way.

What am I missing?


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