6 Chefs And Bartenders On What Fernet-Branca Means To Them
The industry is mad for this stuff
As part of Fernet Week, we reached to chefs across the country and asked them to pay tribute to the inky amaro.
1. Jamie Bissonnette is the Chef-Owner of restaurant Copa in Boston
“Too much of anything is bad. Too much whiskey is barely enough. I almost agree with Mark Twain, but I would swap Fernet-Branca for whiskey and then it's perfect.”
2. Levon Wallace is the Executive Chef of Proof on Main in Louisville, Kentucky
"As a young Jaeger-swilling cook, a mentor of mine turned me on to Fernet-Branca. It was a rite of passage, ‘this is what big boys drink’ kind of thing. Of course I thought it was awesome but now a little older and wiser I still love and pass along the tradition to some of my younglings. It’s just sweet enough, a little bitter but in all the right ways deep and complex…just like most chefs."
3. Chad Phillips is the Bar Chef at Lantao Kitchen and Social Club in Miami Beach
“A few years ago, a bartender I know slid a glass full of a dark, complex smelling liquid to me across the bar. As the first sip slid down my throat, I knew I was in love. From the beautiful combination of herbs to the surprising plethora of medicinal benefits to the mystique surrounding the secret ingredients, Fernet-Branca represents everything good in the world."
4. Maxwell Britten is the Beverage Manager at Maison Premiere in Brooklyn, New York
"Some people are not into the bitter, mint, bark flavor at 45% ABV of Fernet, but most chefs and bartenders like it for that reason. It's a little more aggressive in flavor, potency and profile. It can be dressed up and down and it doesn't take much for that. It could be with an espresso after a sophisticated dinner or a parting shot at a dive bar. I guess it's just one of those things that some of us always fall back on. It’s just a funny brand that some bar and restaurant people will scan dusty dives and sports bars when we are looking for just a tinge of something out of the ordinary from the garden variety well offerings."
5. Ken Oringer is the Chef and Owner of a number award-winning restaurants in Boston including Clio, Uni, Toro, La Verdad, Coppa and Earth
"The first time I ever had Fernet was 1997 at a famous dive sports bar in San Francisco. It was with an 80-year-old Italian woman from North Beach watching the 49'ers with Joe Montana at quarterback. Priceless!"
6. Julio Genao is Chef at Casa Nonna in New York, NY
"Late fall always makes me think of more herbal flavors, which is why it’s the perfect season for Fernet. As the temperature drops, the Italian spirit is the perfect ending to a great meal, an apertif to warm you up before heading out in the cold. I also recently rediscovered Fernet as an ingredient when my restaurant introduced a new Negroni menu. The sharp, bitter flavor of the Fernet gives the Negroni another dimension. Another background flavor. When balanced with a little sweetness and a little acidity, the bitterness of the Fernet is a bit more approachable for those who are new to the often overlooked or forgotten spirit. The result is a truly great drink."