Although categorized under Italian Amari (Bitters), Fernet is its own bitter category and is most often listed under Elixir/Elisir in Italian liquor manuals, when not simply called 'Fernet'.
The extremely bitter (amarissimo is an apt description) concoction has conflicting data as to its origins and a recent Tempus Fugit discovery of an original Italian invoice and recipe attributed Fernet to a monk named Frate Angelico Fernet, who may have also been responsible for the origin of many herbal tonics and elixirs. Fernet is an historical French surname from the Burgundy region - pronounced 'Fair-Nay' - and it underwent many spelling transformations.
It was most likely created to counteract the effects of Cholera and Malaria, but went on to be used for everything from a cure-all tonic to hangover cure.
Today there are still several Italian Fernet producers (with the largest making so much of the world's production that some actually believe Fernet is a brand-name), but most is made in tiny quantities for local rural Italian consumption.
The various known recipes most typically share ingredients such as Aloe, Saffron, Quinquina, Gentian, Anise, Angelica, Mint and Myrrh. This latter ingredient, along with Saffron, extremely rare and expensive, tends to define and create the backbone of the best Fernets.
Fernet del frate Angelico is truly a step back in time and a major step up in quality from anything available on the modern market. It is made in micro-batches by hand at the Matter Distillery in Switzerland following an original, hand-written recipe, purchased by the distillery's original owner in 1930 from a long-closed Italian distillery.
This amazing liqueur can be sipped on its own, but shines in skilfully-made cocktails, especially the Employees Only 'Fernando' and the Toronto. It is a fantastic, multifaceted substitute for cocktail bitters. Tempting to take straight as a shot, stop to savor and enjoy its complexity, and Fernet del Frate Angelico will instantly become your go-to sipper for the first and the last drink of the night.
Deep colored, almost black from the extensive recipe herb-bill, with golden reflections from the expensive addition of fine saffron; there is no additional coloring added. The saffron aromas mix with lightly mentholated and medicinal notes. The bitterness is immediately detected on the first sip, but evolves with light mint, menthol flavors that are surprisingly balanced and a subtle sweetness carries the finish on for a long while, as the bitterness becomes surprisingly engaging.
|Alcohol content:||44% vol.|
|Lebensmittelunternehmer:||Lion Spirits, Markus Lion e.K., Münstertälerstrasse 12, 79427 Eschbach|
|Country of origin:||Schweiz|