May 8, 2010

Around the world in less than four fluid ounces

I managed to finally get my hands on a new bottle of Fernet Branca, much to my joy and relief. Believe it or not, the last time I made it to my local liquor store that carried it, they had sold out of six bottles, their entire stock, in just a few days. Which astonished me, as pretty much nobody likes the stuff, save for San Franciscans, Argentineans, and a few lunatics like me. Happily, when I returned a few days ago,they had plenty in stock, and for four bucks less than some other stores I'd visited. So I was a happy lush. I had the obligatory Hanky Panky with it, and was pondering what else I might use it for. Then I figured, "Hey, why not come up with an original cocktail?" And so I listened to myself, and did.

This is another one that seems odd until you try it, and then you find everything fits together quite well. Considering all the disparate cultural influences it has, I call it:
The Globetrotter Cocktail

2 1/2 oz rye whiskey
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
2 barspoons (about a scant 1/4 oz) Fernet Branca
3 dashes Donn's Tinc

Stir all well with ice, and strain into an ice-filled Double Old-Fashioned glass.
So let's see. We've got American rye whiskey, sweet vermouth (Italian or French, depending on who made it), a bitter Italian amaro in the Fernet Branca, and a sort of faux-Polynesia in the Donn's Tinc. Hardly a likely combination. But. But. The spice of the tincture melds with the vermouth and the Fernet and the rye. The citrus zing from the grapefruit in the Donn's Tinc sings out over the Fernet Branca at the same time. The sweetness of the vermouth rounds out the bitter character of the Fernet. I'll be the first to admit it's another drink that doesn't seem like it should work. But, quite fortunately for me, it does. Which is good, because I hate pouring rotten experiments down the drain.

Globetrotter Cocktail


  1. This sounds great! Do you know if a dash of Fee's Whiskey Barrel bitters and a dash of grapefruit bitters might simulate Donn's Tinc? I'd like to try this.

    I've made a cocktail of my own with Fernet that I think is great. I'll post it here just in case you're feeling whimsical enough to try it. I suppose I'll blog it at some point, as well.

    2 oz bourbon
    .5 oz dry vermouth
    .5 oz dry cherry brandy (or .25 oz Heering)
    .25 oz Fernet

    Shake, strain. Maraschino garnish.

    Don't have a name for it yet!

  2. I'd imagine Fee's Whiskey Barrel Bitters plus grapefruit bitters plus a pinch of cinnamon could work (or a few drops of a cinnamon tincture, if you have time to make such a thing) would be a pretty good substitute, yes! Though if you have the time, energy and materials, I can't say enough good things about making your own Donn's Tinc.