Food & Drink

What to Mix with Fernet

It is totally understandable when people don’t know what to mix with Fernet Branca because the bracingly bitter Italian amaro can easily overpower other spirits and modifiers. If you want to use  the jet black spirit in a cocktail (or have a hard time drinking it straight), these seven different combinations are all excellent places to start. Here, we found the best mixers for fernet that you’ll enjoy no matter your palate.

Coke

This is probably the most common and obvious combination, especially if you’ve spent time in South America. Extremely popular in Argentina—where fernet fanaticism rivals that of America and Italy, the spirit’s ancestral home—this Highball is one of the best ways to drink fernet. The sweetness of the cola is muted by the amaro’s robust bitterness, and, in turn, the amaro becomes more palatable too.

Ice Cream

Whether you drizzle a little fernet on top of your ice cream or whip up a boozy float with the two ingredients, this pairing makes an incredibly complex dessert. Not only does vanilla ice cream work wonders, but you can also use chocolate, mint chocolate chip or even olive oil ice cream—especially if you serve it with espresso, affogato style.

Seltzer Water

This is definitely one of the most intense and straightforward ways to imbibe fernet. While seltzer doesn’t hide or soothe fernet’s pungent bitter notes, if you’re a fan of drinking the amaro straight, you will definitely enjoy this spritzy Highball.

Tonic Water

Yes, this combo is bitter on bitter, but it’s also incredibly refreshing and thirst-quenching when the weather is uncomfortably hot. Use a quality tonic water like Q or Fever Tree (their Mediterranean Tonic works best) that is more bitter than sweet. If you really want to bring out the more herbaceous notes in the fernet, garnish with a sprig of fresh rosemary.

Sparkling Wine

Like a Mimosa for people who like their brunch cocktails on the herbal side, this unexpected mixer works incredibly well with the bitter Italian spirit. Make sure to balance it out with an Italian prosecco—or even a white or red Lambrusco—that errs on the sweeter side.

Beer

What type of beer you choose for this cocktail will determine its flavor. An IPA will create a cocktail that is a symphony of bitter notes, with a backbone of foresty, cannabis-esque herbalness. Serve this combination as a Boilermaker, or mix the fernet with the beer to make a Shandy.

Campari

This might seem like a strange combination, but we assure you it is absolutely fantastic. It is probably one of the most complex and intensely bitter things you can drink, but we don’t see that as a bad thing. You can take it as a shot made with equal parts of both amari (called a Ferrari), or you can mix the two Italian spirits together in cocktails like the Negroni, with fernet as a substitute for London Dry gin.