We've already established that fernet is having a moment in San Francisco cocktail bars, and now two Bay Area locals are bringing the largely imported spirit stateside—bayside, to be exact. After launching at a dozen local establishments last week, Fernet Francisco is set to conquer. The small-batch amaro is the labor of love between Max Rudsten and Ben Flajnik (yes, from The Bachelor) as a hat tip to our city's well-known enthusiasm for fernet. Fernet Francisco is distilled with a dozen secret local ingredients, which are then barrel-aged to perfection.
After meeting at Coachella, Rudsten and Flajnik cooked up preliminary batches of Fernet Francisco in a literal backyard before taking things to the next level with master distiller Farid Dormishian. Billed as "handmade fernet" and distilled in Richmond, this local spirit has been making waves across the city as well as across the pond for its easy drinkability and versatility in cocktails.
Amaro fans will recognize the layers upon layers of herbs that give fernets their distinctive taste, but Fernet Francisco has a markedly lighter consistency and lower levels of sugar than amaros we know and love. Indeed, the low sugar content technically classifies Fernet Francisco as a bitter, not an amaro, but you'll definitely want to add more than a dash of the spirit to your cocktails.
To get started, try whipping up the "Fernetaboutit" cocktail from the gents behind Fernet Francisco, and try asking for it the next time you head to your neighborhood bar. It won't disappoint.
3/4 ounce Fernet Francisco
3/4 ounce Green Chartreuse
3/4 ounce Maraschino
3/4 ounce lime juice
Mix ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, and shake until cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.