Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tiny Bottles: Fernet Branca and Biscotti Liqueur

I like things in tiny packaging, not just because it allows you to sample a product, but because I just like tiny things. I have currently been scouring the liquor store for little airplane sized bottles of liquors that I’m not prepared to invest big bucks in before I know what they're all about. The last two I picked up were Fernet Branca and Faretti Biscotti Famosi, both Italian spirits.

Fernet Branca

If you're at all familiar with Fernet Branca's reputation as an extremely bitter digestive, then you at least know what to expect going in. Sip it plain and you are brave. Mixing it up in a cocktail is a better way to get to know Fernet. I made a Fernet Branca Cocktail (gin is the base) and took a few sips, made a few faces, then sipped some more. Beta Wife and I agreed that it tasted like something you might find in your great-grandma's medicine cabinet. It may not be love at first taste, but it will certainly grow on you.

Fernet Branca Cocktail

1 oz gin
½ oz Fernet Branca
½ sweet vermouth

Stir well (with ice of course) and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. I prefer to garnish the drink with a sizable piece of flamed orange peel.

*The Fernet Branca Cocktail is not to be confused with the Hanky Panky cocktail—they're quite similar, but with slightly different proportions.

Hanky Panky Cocktail

1 ½ oz gin
1 ½ oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes Fernet Branca

Stir well and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange peel or a twist.

Faretti Biscotti Liqueur

Usually i'm not too keen on sipping an overly sweet liqueur after dinner. I typically opt for scotch, schnapps, or a eau de vie. I liked this one because it was well balanced, pleasantly bitter to match the sweetness. With strong notes of anise and almond, this liqueur would be great over ice cream, with dessert, or just on its own.


  1. just a few days ago i made fernet branca ice cream. have tried your cocktails too, good stuff.

    blogged the recipe. enjoy


  2. Oh, Fernet Branca ice cream sounds exciting. Thanks for stopping by for a drink!

  3. Where did you find your mini bottle?

  4. Connie, they have them at Bevmo in CA.