Fratelli Branca Distillerie claim that the recipe has remained unchanged since its invention in 1845. According to the company, Fernet was created by the “self-taught apothecary” Bernardino Branca. The name “Fernet” belonged to a Doctor Fernet, a fictional Swede with whom Branca originally shared the credit for Fernet, presumably to add authority to claims of the drink’s health benefits. The logo, featuring an eagle poised over a globe, was designed in 1893 by Leopoldo Metlicovitz. Fernet-Branca is a dark, syrupy alcoholic drink similar to an amaro, with a flavour that’s best described as being a cross between medicine, crushed plants and bitter mud. The exact recipe of Fernet-Branca is a secret but the producers, Fratelli Branca Distillerie, do say that it contains 27 different herbs and spices taken from four continents. Among the known ingredients are aloe, gentian root, rhubarb, gum myrrh, red cinchona bark, galanga and zedoary. The rumoured ingredients include saffron.
Deep sienna brown colour with a gold ochre hue and a viscous appearance. The intense aroma smells like fresh peppermint and is also reminiscent of a peppermint and honeycomb lolly familiar to many Australians. With time in the glass a subtle lanolin note develops. The alcohol is virtually indiscernible in this liqueur as the soft, silky, glycerous texture glides through the mouth. Peppermint freshness and citrus peel relieves the sweetness, with good length.