Baytowne Wine & Spirits says that Fernet’s uniquely medicinal qualities make it the perfect finish to a Thanksgiving meal. The Guardian points out that its high acidity also seems to aid digestion. The exact ingredients present in Fernet-Branca are a well-kept secret, though Memorie di Angelina claims that it includes “aloe, gentian root, rhubarb, gum myrrh, red cinchona bark, galangal, camomile, cinnamon, saffron, iris, bitter orange, and white turmeric.”
Chilled Magazine says that Fernet-Branca’s medicinal properties were so well touted that it was still sold as a remedy in the U.S. during prohibition — despite its nearly 40% alcohol content. The Guardian points out that Fernet-Branca is considered an acquired taste by many, and that this reputation has led to its embrace by the bartending community.
Fernet-Branca isn’t the only option out there though, and a good list of solid Fernets can be found at Baytowne Wine & Spirits. Because Fernet isn’t a precisely defined spirit like bourbon there can be huge variations in flavor between different Fernets. That’s why it’s important to try a couple, before deciding which bottle to have on hand this Thanksgiving. Once you find the right blend of herbs and spices though, the rest of the fun comes from dreaming up the perfect after-dinner cocktail – or simply sipping it straight from the glass to ease an overburdened belly.