Every bottle is full of secrets
What gives Fernet-Branca its bitter, minty flavor? Tough to say, chum, when it contains 27 natural “roots, plants, and flowers.” Fratelli Branca is surprisingly open about what those are. Its known ingredients are aloe ferox, gentian, saffron (the company buys so much of the world’s saffron that it actually affects the spice's market price), Chinese rhubarb, chamomile, galangal, myrrh, laurel, cinchona, zedoary, bitter orange, laraha, cardamom, cornflower, peppermint oil, juniper, bay leaf, angelica, colombo root, and orris root (derived from the iris flower).
Some of the herbs are boiled, then left to settle for a month. Others go into a cold centrifuge. The processed herbs are combined in brandy, where they’ll blend in a 50,000-liter tank for 20 days. After that, they’re moved to smaller barrels made of Slavonian oak, where they’ll rest for a year while the aloe matures. The rest of the ingredients hang out, checking their watches and saying “Come on, aloe!”
If you’re wondering about those remaining elements, they’re rumored to include linden, sage, gentian root, and St. John’s wort, but don’t get sad that you’re still a few ingredients short. Fernet-Branca could release the full list and your homemade batch would still be garbage: the proportions and production methods heavily affect the final flavor.