La Danse Diable Cocktail Recipe

We've put it all on the table when it comes to Fernet this week. (You can check out all of our coverage here.) To cap off our surprisingly popular Fernet Week, our barkeep-in-chief Brian Quinn stirs up a Fernet cocktail recipe. Yes, a Fernet cocktail recipe.

Rarely found in cocktails, Fernet can be unwieldy and overpowering if not used in small doses, but there are a growing number of bartenders across the country that are finding it to be the perfect fit.

At the recently opened Pour Vous in Los Angeles, Adrian Biggs created La Danse Diable as a variation on the Harvard (a cognac Manhattan), but arrived at Fernet Branca, the most widely available Fernet brand in the U.S, as an alternative for vermouth to lighten this stirred drink with a hint of bitterness and complexity. Cognac may be an unlikely Fernet pairing, though as bar manager Dave Fernie notes, La Danse Diable speaks to the growing popularity of eau-de-vie by utilizing the astringent fernet to reverse the oak aging and return to an expression of the unaged grape that made this spirit. Similar to a palate cleanser served between courses, this delicate drink is meant to be consumed quickly and, despite being spirit-forward, also appear more refreshing than weighty.

Served in a stemless wine glass, La Danse Diable's cognac aromatics are concentrated and well framed, but with only a quarter ounce each of Fernet Branca, Maraschino liqueur and grenadine, it's a prime example of less is more. Lemon bitters and oils from the lemon twist are essential in tying everything together, adding to the cleanliness of the drink. Though decidedly not a showcase of everything fernet has to offer, it's perhaps a good first date for those who've yet to experience this dense liqueur.

La Danse Diable Cocktail Recipe
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  • 2 ounces Bache Gabrielsen VS 3 Kors Cognac
  • 1/4 ounce Fernet Branca
  • 1/4 ounce Maraschino
  • 1/4 ounce house-made grenadine (see below)
  • 2 dashes The Bitter Truth lemon bitters
  • lemon twist
  1. Combine equal parts POM Wonderful Pomegranate juice and cane syrup.
  2. Add in a cap-full of rose water and a cap-full of orange blossom water per every 16 ounces of POM/Cane batch.
  3. Combine ingredients and stir with ice for 10 seconds in a mixing glass, being careful not to over dilute.
  4. Strain into a chilled 5.5 oz. stemless wine glass and express oils from a lemon twist and garnish.
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