Bartenders and cocktail lovers have long been fans of the hyper-bitter, medicinal-tasting Fernet Branca. But still less recognized is its cousin Brancamenta. It’s got Fernet’s intense bitter kick, but an even stronger mint flavor that manages to dominate — we’re talking mouthwash levels of minty-powerful. It’s an intense elixir that’s certainly polarizing, but those who love Brancamenta tend to really love Brancamenta. Our recommendation? Try it in one of these three simple cocktails, where you’ll really appreciate its minty character.
Easy: Menta & Soda
Like making a mint soda, but much, much easier — just lighten up Brancamenta with a whole lot of sparkling water. A few sprigs of mint ups the fresh herbal flavor while slightly camouflaging its more bitter aspects.
Instructions: In a tall glass with ice, combine an ounce and a half of Brancamenta and four ounces of club soda. Stir briefly and garnish with two mint sprigs, lightly slapping them on your palm beforehand to release their aroma.
Intermediate: Bourbon & Mint
Anyone who’s ever sipped a julep knows that mint and bourbon are a great pair. Here, we’re adding lemon and sugar for a pleasantly refreshing cocktail that gets its body and weight from the whiskey, but still delivers on the clean, crisp mint flavor.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine one and a half ounces of bourbon, one ounce of Brancamenta, a quarter-ounce lemon juice, and a quarter-ounce simple syrup. Shake until well-chilled, then strain into a rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a lemon wedge.
Advanced: Menta Mojito
How could you taste a super-minty liqueur and not contemplate putting it in a mojito? Mint, rum, and lime are a great combination — but mojitos can be pretty messy to make, with all that pounded-up mint, which gets bitter if muddled too hard and gets stuck in your teeth unless you double-strain. Swapping in Brancamenta saves you the trouble, while a mint sprig garnish brings that fresh herbal vibrancy back in.
Instructions: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine one and a half ounces of white rum, 3/4 ounce of Brancamenta, 3/4 ounce of lime juice, and a quarter-ounce simple syrup. Shake until well-chilled, then strain into a tall glass with fresh ice. Top with two ounces of soda. Garnish with a mint sprig and a lime wedge.
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