San Franciscans are the most avid drinkers of Fernet-Branca outside of Italy (where it's made) and Argentina (where it's the unofficial national drink). A bitter digestivo that includes myrrh, rhubarb, chamomile and saffron among its many herbacious and aromatic ingredients, Fernet has forever been the not-so-secret handshake for local bartenders.
First brought to the West Coast by Italian immigrants, Fernet-Branca actually survived the Prohibition Era by billing itself as a "medicinal elixir." Now old Italian grandfathers do it. Hipsters do it. Even my Earth mother, holistic pharmacist at Pharmaca—the very picture of clear-skinned health—tells me it's the only thing she drinks. Jason King, owner of The Broken Record puts it simply: "It's an industry drink, and people look to bartenders for cues on what to drink. It started getting so popular three years ago that I couldn't stock it fast enough." Recently Fernet on-tap and Fernet desserts have become a thing. It seems like our love knows no bounds.