• Foto Ruta loves Fernet – Our guide to Argentina’s national drink

    Foto Ruta’s love affair with Fernet started about a year ago. At an office Christmas party. It wasn’t love at first drink. Like many extraneros it was more like disgust at first taste. What the hell was this weird medicine / tar-like liquid that the Argentine’s loved so much? And why do they mix it with coke to create a weird scummy, flotsam-like head on the drink?

    Foto Ruta had to really work at liking Fernet. They say it takes the average person approximately four drinks of Fernet before the taste is acquired. We’d agree with that. But once we turned we really turned. To the point of obsession…we even went on a pilgrimage to the factory to profess our love (check out the photos below) So here is the Foto Ruta ode to the lovely herby, bitter drink.

    A few interesting Fernet facts:

    • It was brought over from Milan, Italy in the 1890′s, thought to have healing qualities that contained the symptoms of Cholera.
    • The only country outside of Italy that produces Fernet is Argentina, the factory is situated in Tortuguitas a suburb just outside of Buenos Aires. Branca now produces more than 25 million litres of the herby liquid for consumption around Argentina
    • For some unknown reason its the folks in Cordoba that can lay claim to being the biggest Fernet obsessives, consuming over 30% of the countries Fernet. Which is pretty impressive when you think of gusto in which Portenos consume Fernet on a night out…just imagine what it’s like in Cordoba!
    • There is a facebook group campaigning for the face of Bernardino Branca to be put on 50 peso notes


    Reasons to love Fernet

    • Fernet and Coke is the perfect Porteño drink, full of caffeine to keep you dancing until 7 in the morning without flaking
    • Ferrrrnet y coca… we love the way it sounds
    • It’s kind of bitter and weird tasting, so it doesn’t go down as easy as say, a caipirihna or rum and coke which means you drink it slowly good for the wallet and maintaining the ability to stand up
    • It doesn’t give you a hangover. However much you drink. This is what Argentines love to tell you, and we have to say, its kind of true.
    • It’s a digestif, which means its good for you. Right?

    The rules of Fernet

    • Don’t you dare serve it with anything other than Coke. Full fat coke. Not Pepsi, not Coke Zero and definitely not the sugar free stuff. Foto Ruta regularly bend these rules, ordering Fernet y Coca Light. Shame on us
    • Don’t stray from the Branca. There are many  rival brands. None of them acceptable. Apart from 1882, a recent addition, which apparently (according to an Argentine friend of Foto Ruta), is just about acceptable. But not really. Stick to Branca to avoid embarasment
    • Kill it. Kill the rising of the foam after a fresh pour of coke over fernet, by adding a touch more fernet immediately after
    • Must be ordered with an emphasis on the Rrrrr of Ferrrrnet.
    • Each swallow must be followed by a slight wincing expression ( some know this as bitter beer face ) to express both the strength of taste and slight discomfort felt by most after every sip.

    The language of Fernet

    •  Matálo: (Kill it, kill it!) The final touch, adding those extra drops of Fernet to “kill” the foam.
    •  Fernando: The well used nickname for a glass of the good stuff. Never go to a party without Fernando by your side
    •     Cabezón: (which means Big headed) A strong glass of Fernet. The best kind

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