Mention mentholated aroma and profuse sweetness to liqueur fans, and they can’t help but think of Italian-born Fernet Branca that’s making waves abroad, thanks to its acquired flavor. And just in case you are looking for alternatives or substitutes, Tastessence investigates and reveals the other options for you.
À la Argentine Twist!
Argentinians enjoy Fernet Branca along with Cola. In fact, this drink has a song ‘Fernet Con Coca’ written by Vilma Palma e Vampiros (a native rock band from there) to its name. That’s some popularity, eh?
Soon becoming a household name, Fernet Branca is a liqueur brand that is recognized by its dark color and is infused with a thick, black licorice flavor. It’s similar to amaro except that it isn’t so sweet as its counterpart. Dedicated fans of Fernet Branca will vouch for its medicinal flavor and refer to it as a hangover remedy, especially when added to espresso. Are liqueur lovers listening?
The alcohol content in this brand of liqueur is country-specific, with some Italian bottles having 43 to 49% alcohol content. It’s generally consumed as a digestive aid right after a meal. Backed for its medicinal properties, it is composed of 27 medicinal herbs among which are aloe, rhubarb, gentian root, red cinchona bark, etc.
However, if the minty flavor of this drink leaves you a bit dissatisifed, don’t fuss over it. Instead, there are drinks on similar lines that might fancy your taste buds. Tastessence suggests a few alternatives to Fernet-Branca and also some substitutes for it in cooking or cocktail recipes.
Alternatives to Fernet Branca
◾ Luxardo Fernet: For people who don’t like much of the mint flavor, this is for you! Also, it has a chocolate and coffee flavor to it. It has a mellow and bitter taste which will appeal your taste buds. Also, it has a greater herbal aroma to it, than Branca.
◾ R.Jelinek Fernet: This fernet of Czech origin has a good herbal and bitter taste and some people prefer this more. The bitter taste in the end is not as minty, as that of Branca. It is supposedly easier to sip because of the light bitter taste.
◾ Fernet Leopold: This is a relatively new Fernet. It is lighter in color and has a different taste of lemon, caramel, and peppermint. It tastes nice because of the sweetness it imparts. The taste is not very bitter which is why it can be drunk without mixing it.
◾ Fernet-Vallet: This is a Mexican variety. It is said to have originated when a man from France shifted to Mexico. This fernet might be more bitter than Branca but the different taste is worth a shot! Moreover, it has a bitter taste with a twist of cinnamon and other herbs.
Substitutes for Fernet Branca in Cooking/Cocktails
➤ Worcestershire sauce: This can be used as a great substitute for Fernet Branca in savory dishes. It is a Britain variety of fermented mixture, also known as Salsa inglesa (English sauce) in Spanish. It is used in recipes, different cocktails, and is also an ingredient in the Mexican beer cocktail.
➤ Cynar: This can be very well used in cocktails or can be drunk without mixing. It is basically a drink that has a base of artichokes, mixed with spices and rosemary. Overall, it has an appealing and different bittersweet taste.
➤ Campari: This is also an Italian bitter served as an apéritif. It is dark red in color, and made of different herbs and fruits mixed with alcohol and water. It is used in cocktails or served in soda, lemon juice, or wine. Use equal proportion of this while substituting it for Fernet Branca.
➤ Punt e Mes: This can be an alternative because of the bitter taste. It is an Italian vermouth, dark brown in color, which is often drunk by mixing it with soda. Use equal proportion of this while substituting it for Fernet Branca.
➤ Suze: Suze can be used because it is also a type of bitter, originating from France. It isn’t well-known outside France but available in many regions worldwide.
➤ Amer Picon: It is one of the flavored bitters, originating from France. It consists of dried oranges mixed with alcohol and then mixed with caramel and sugar. Use equal proportion of this while substituting it for Fernet Branca.
➤ Angostura bitters: This is a saturated bitter, which is made by mixing high percent of alcohol, water, and other herbs. It is more often used in drinks than in food.
➤ Unicum: It is a bitter originating from Hungary. It is also used as a digestif. Use equal proportion of this while substituting it for Fernet Branca.
Now you don’t have to worry much to bring in that minty or bitter taste in cocktails. Also, you know what to use in cooking. Enjoy cooking and drinking!