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.
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!