When I started getting into the spirit and cocktail scene in New York City just a few years ago, I immediately learned about trends that I had no idea about before. Classic cocktails? Totally in. Punch? Totally in. Shots of Fernet Branca? Wait, what?

It took awhile for me to warm up to this herbaceous liqueur, but it didn’t take me long to get completely hooked once I did. Upon ordering a shot of Fernet Branca at most bars, I’ll get at least one of three reactions from the people I’m with, or the strangers sitting nearby who hear my order:

Reaction #1- “What the hell is that?”

Reaction #2- “That smells horrible.”

Reaction #3- “That’s gross. Do you drink lighter fluid, too?”

Fernet Branca image courtesy of Morton Oddvik via Wikimedia Commons