Drink Fernet with a Sixth-Generation Branca

Discover how these rare vintages are used in cocktails through Per La Mente

Sponsored by Per La Mente

Inside Fernet-Branca’s cozy speakeasy, with access granted thanks to the brand’s must-visit lifestyle and cultural destination Per La Mente, all mahogany bars and soft leather seating rise between floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Italian tunes from the 1960s commit the space to its retro vibe and throwback ads line the walls for eye candy. There are themed cocktails for sipping, and Edoardo Branca for answers—he’s the sixth-generation Branca family authority on bitters. Here, Fernet-Branca hosts tastings of vintage spirits from the 1970s and 1980s, as well as today, with the liquid drawn from private collections. It’s one of many cultural happenings readers can learn about, in depth, from Per La Mente if they can’t get there in person.

Further, each stop on the Fernet-Branca book tour, Storied Sips with Edoardo Branca, aims to recreate this intimate evening for media and industry folks (though, the recipes for what we drank are below). The first event touched down in San Francisco, naturally, as it’s the first city in the US where the bitter arrived in 1862. Italians were enjoying it earlier, though—Fernet-Branca was invented in 1845 by Edoardo’s great-great-grandfather in Milan.

In the intervening 172 years, the recipe has never changed. “A lot of people came to us—why don’t you add sugar? Why don’t you make it more palate-friendly?” Edoardo says. “I think all of you remember the first time you had a shot of Fernet-Branca, and maybe it wasn’t a pleasant experience. But it grows on you… You like it or you don’t, but we will never change.” More than something to shoot, Fernet makes for a truly versatile component in mixed drinks. Try replicating one of the recipes from the brand’s event series—which draws on the past, present, and future of Fernet-Branca—or explore Per La Mente to learn more about an altogether desirable world of inspiring experiences and creative expression.

Fanciulli Cocktail

1.5 oz rye whiskey

.75 oz Punt e Mes

.25 oz Fernet-Branca

Over a large ice cube with orange peel.

Don’t Give Up the Ship

1.5 oz gin

.5 oz Carpano Antica

.5 oz Fernet-Branca

.5 oz Cointreau

1 dash orange bitters

Serve up with orange peel.

5 Continents

1.5 oz scotch

.5 oz Fernet-Branca

.5 grapefruit

.5 lemon

.5 oz honey

.5 oz egg white

2 dashes chocolate

1 bar spoon coconut marmalade

Dry shake, add ice, shake, and double strain.

If you’ve enjoyed these recipes see more over at perlamente.com. Per La Mente—for the mind has been created by Fernet-Branca to expand your ideas about what’s possible by being the source of discovery into the universe of creative experiences. We’re endlessly curious about underground, experiential, and elusive culture, as well as the artists who make and love it. We want to share it all with you. We seek a spark of mystery, a hint of eccentricity, a dash of staggering originality, and a tinge of chaotic genius. Think of Per La Mente as the storyteller, the enabler—your conduit to the path less traveled. So open your mind and join us for some splendid adventures like the one we have brought forth here.

Text contribution from Carly Pifer, images courtesy of Allison Webber