Fernet-Branca was invented in Milan, Italy in 1845 by Maria Scala as a stomach medicine. The health-enhancing properties of Fernet-Branca have made it the favored "digestivo" at tables across the world. Traditionally served straight up at the end of a meal, it aids in digestion and cleanses the palate. It can also be used to spike espresso to make the famous "caffč corretto" (literally, "spiked coffee") which is served all over the world.
Originally, many amari were purported to have medicinal properties. In fact,
this was one reason Fernet was able to make it through Prohibition as other
spirits fell by the wayside. It was sold legally in some San Francisco
pharmacies. Text on early versions of the Fernet-Branca bottle read:
“[Fernet] benefits the stomach, promotes digestion, strengthens the body,
overcomes cholera, reduces fever, and heals those suffering from nervous
weakness, lack of appetite, sickness or tapeworms; suitable for use as a
preventative measure for all those who are obliged to reside in damp and
Fernet Branca contributes an intricate vibrance to classic cocktails, such as the whiskey-based Toronto and the vermouth-laden Appetizer ŕ l’Italienne, as well as to contemporary drinks, such as the earthy Villa de Verano, created by Boston bartender Misty Kalkofen. Saffron is just one of the over 40 herbs and spices used to make Fernet-Branca: much more than Italy’s greatest after-dinner drink, it is a key ingredient in the healthy lifestyle that Europeans and Americans have been enjoying for over 150 years. In recent years, as a new generation of Americans and Europeans has discovered the invigorating liqueur, many have begun to serve it on the rocks, with cola, fruit juice, Grenadine, or just a splash of mineral water.
Originally bitter on the palate—almost acrid—Fernet slowly turns sweet in the
mouth. A hint of what could be mint (but is actually saffron) spreads across the
tongue, and gradually you’re ready for more. If you’re familiar with the German
digestif Jägermeister, with its licorice-forward
palate, this will seem similar.
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Branca Menta was created in the 1960s, inspired by a famous opera singer Maria
Callas. The singer was known to drink Fernet Branca along with a touch of mint
syrup before each performance. This preparation of Fernet Branca wasn’t uncommon
as it was known to be served as a frappe (over crushed ice) with mint syrup,
especially in the summer. Brancamenta, the unmistakable mint-flavor liqueur,
gives you an intense pleasure thrill at every sip. Its surprising formula
includes herbs, spices and the finest peppermint essential oil in the world.
Natural and specially refreshing, it's a drink perfect for all seasons.
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