This piece originally appeared on Liquor.com.
A long-time favorite of bartenders, Fernet Branca has made a huge leap in popularity in the cocktail world during the past decade or so. A go-to in much of Argentina (where it’s mixed with Coca-Cola), San Francisco and, of course, Italy, where it was invented in 1845, fernet’s reach—and the drinking public’s familiarity with it—has exploded.
Though the powerful liqueur has been described as “brooding” and “aftershave-like,” (are we allowed to quote ourselves?) and has been compared to things like “Robitussin,” many a bartending professional enjoys the minty amaro as a shot. That brave approach isn’t for everyone. Those who aren’t willing to down the digestif in one quick go might instead prefer it in a fine cocktail, like the Hanky Panky or the Fernando. But sometimes Fernet Branca’s distinctiveness doesn’t quite pop in certain recipes. That’s where other brands of fernet come in.