First produced in 1845 by the Branca family in Milan, Italy, Fernet Branca is a type of oily herbal liqueur that consists of 27 herbs and spices. Ingredients are sourced from around the world, making Fernet Branca a truly global concoction. Chamomile from Europe, cinnamon from Sri Lanka, myrrh from Africa and aloe from South Africa are just a few of the parts necessary to make this digestif. The most interesting part is that only the company's president knows the precise formula, as it's passed down from generation to generation. To this day, Niccolo Branca still measures out the exact ingredients for each distillation.
In Italy and parts of South America, this liqueur is a household name, but it's just starting to gather popularity in the United States. The rise in popularity is almost entirely because of a resurgence of interest in vintage cocktails, although some consumers may find its bitter taste particularly soothing when it's on the rocks or served neat. With its thick, bitter flavor and intense aroma, Fernet Branca is definitely an acquired taste. However, those that like it tend to become die-hard fans of the product. If you're still on the ropes, Fernet Branca is often regarded as a cure for hangovers when mixed with espresso. That doesn't mean you can stay out until 3 a.m., drink one and be chipper for your 8 a.m. meeting, but it's nice to know you have an ally that can help relieve the regret. Plus, its 39 percent ABV gives you a bit of a jolt.