Drink Like a Local: Fernet and Coke in Argentina


Heading to Argentina?  Plan on being offered Fernet and coke at the many parillas you will attend.

Argentines love the dark, bitter liquor, so much so that it is considered the national beverage, depending on who you ask.

First concocted in 1895 in Italy, Fernet Branca tastes like a spicier version of Jagermeister (think black licorice, mint) with a distinct, bitter aftertaste.

How to drink Fernet and Coke in Argentina.

The recipe of fermented herbs and spices has remained a family secret, though there is definitely cinnamon, saffron and chamomile in there, with other rumored ingredients such as rhubarb, aloe, echinacea, codeine, beets, peppermint and cocoa leaf.

Most Argentines drink Fernet and Coke, though some prefer it straight up with ginger ale as a chaser. Sound gross?  You’ll get used to it, and may even come to like it.

If you’re just starting out with Fernet though, you should know that it’s a digestive — it was developed to help aide with digestion. So too much might send you running to the bathroom! Pace yourself if you’re just starting out with Fernet.

Fernet is often cheaper to order in Argentina than other imported liquors, and some claim it can cure a hangover, digestive pain and even menstrual cramps, thanks to all the herbs.

At 45% alcohol by volume, it’s also sure to get you feelin’ tipsy,  if that’s what you’re after.

Please drink responsibly!

Have you ever had Fernet and Coke? What did you think? Would you try it again?


About Author

Ellen wanders. She wandered her way through Europe in 2007 during a semester abroad in Madrid, then through parts of the South Pacific after college graduation, and spent a year in South and Central America during 2010. Most recently, she went on a solo adventure south of the border to research and write the travel guidebook Go Girl Guides: Mexico.


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