After a rainy night with winds rushing through the leafless trees, we have settled into one of those trademark muddy, grey January days. Secretly, I always sort of enjoy this kind of weather, perfect for cuddling up in your cardigan with a good book, while something savory simmers on the stove. Getting lost in a story while the flavors slowly melt together and the scent of comfort floats on the air, full of the promise of a taste of home coming when the grey finally shifts to black. That’s a good way to spend any day, taking the time to do things right. So, if you enjoy that sort of thing, won’t you join me in the kitchen as we stand and make the Chef’s Kiss.
This interesting mixture is a Fernet inspired riff on one of my favorite drinks, Joaquin Simo’s Naked and Famous. A truly amazing cocktail described by its creator as “the bastard love child of a classic Last Word and a Paper Plane, conceived in the mountains of Oaxaca.” So, when Jon Pizano invented this one at Chicago’s Lazy Bird cocktail Bar in 2020 I somehow feel like he had me in mind. I love Fernet Branca and he created a drink featuring it based on one of my favorite cocktails, which is a combination of two of my other favorites. What is not to love? Well, let’s make it and find out.
Grab your tins and pop in 3/4 of an ounce of Fernet Branca, 3/4 of an ounce of Yellow Chartreuse, 3/4 of an ounce of fresh squeezed lime juice and 1/2 an ounce of rich Demerara syrup. Add some artisanal ice and give it a good shake to the beat of Orville Peck’s amazing “Let Me Drown“, because I adore the depth of feeling in the song and I get the feeling I could easily founder in the depths of flavor in this drink. When your tins are well chilled, double strain into a coupe and garnish with a dehydrated lime wheel rolled in ground black lime.
Well, isn’t that sublime? Superbly balanced with a little lean toward the herbal side. The floral sweetness of the Yellow Chartreuse combines with that herbaceous bitterness from the Fernet while the demerara and the lime join forces to soften the edges and bring some much needed acidity to the drink. You know when the Wonder Twins come together to do their thing and save the day? That is this drink. Just like its inspiration, this one is a masterclass in balance and a nod to those of us who are a little obsessed with Fernet Branca’s charms.
Even though it is served up in a coupe, this drink really is lovely for sipping by the fire as the rain comes down outside. Maybe it’s the herbal finish or that molasses like backbone, but it feels like I found a drink that matches my mood, my music, the weather and even my old jeans and flannel shirt fashion choice today. I love it when things come together like that. In our hectic lives, it is easy to overlook those little moments of happiness; and they matter, especially on a grey and rainy day. So take a little time for yourself and enjoy that cup of coffee or tea or even a cocktail as you watch the rain falling, because even though better days are coming, today ain’t so bad. Try to keep dry while you stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.