Measure & Stir

I make drinks

Not For Everyone: Fernet, Mezcal, Elderflower


It’s been a while, Measure and Stir. Is anyone still reading this feed? I can’t promise I’m going to post with any regularity but I’ve been away for a while and lately I’ve been feeling the itch. I haven’t been posting, but I have been learning.

I have been spending a lot of time developing my technique. In the past, I confess there were times that I sacrificed the quality for novelty in pursuit of new and unusual drink recipes. I am humbler now, and I will try to push my limits to bring you new drinks that are more subtle, more balanced, and more refined.

Tonight I found myself craving a small digestif. I keep a backup for my backup bottle of fernet, and I knew I wanted a no-nonsense kind of a drink. I started with the idea of an old fashioned fernet cocktail, but I was out of simple syrup. Shameful.

Instead, I reached for elderflower as the sweetener, because I have seen St. Germaine mixed with Fernet before, and I found it to be a pleasing combination. Fernet is already bitter enough, so instead of bitters, I wanted to add a base spirit as the smallest component. I like elderflower and mezcal, so I felt like it was a natural choice.


Not For Everyone

2 oz Fernet Branca
.5 oz Elderflower Liqueur (pür likör)
.5 oz Mezcal (Del Maguey Mezcal de Vida)

Stir and strain into a chilled mason jar with a large ice cube. Garnish with a lime twist.

A savory quality emerged in this drink. The pür elderflower is not quite as sweet as St. Germain. If you are using St. Germain, you should probably use .5 oz, but if you are using pür like I did, you might consider .75. The elderflower in this ratio cut the bitterness, but it did not contribute as much to the end flavor as I would have liked.

Even so, the intersection of these three ingredients had a savory, almost bacony quality, It started with Fernet’s bitterness on the sip, gave way to elderflower and agave, and concluded with smoke and menthol.

It settled my stomach.

12 thoughts on “Not For Everyone: Fernet, Mezcal, Elderflower

  1. Did this mexcal taste like smoke? I just sampled some in a bar sat night and it was like liquid smoke!

  2. I haven’t posted in the longest time, though I’m out learning more as well. I know that my buddy at The Liquid Culture Project as well as myself are excited whenever you make a post!!
    Can’t wait to try it out. Good to know about the pür sweetness vs. St. Germaine. I have a bit of Chase brand left which is less floral but still pretty honeyed, so I might stick with a 0.5oz there too.

  3. Not For Everyone is right. My first sip of this was like a slap in the face… and I liked it!
    I’m just getting into craft mixology and just purchased my first Fernet Branca (this was the first drink I’ve made with it.)
    I haven’t gotten any mezcal yet, so I substituted some San Matias Gran Reserva tequila that I think has a smoky quality to it. In my opinion it played well.
    Anyway, you have to keep posting Joseph. I’m just getting started!

  4. Pingback: Fernet Lollipops | The Straight Up

  5. There is no ‘e’ in ‘St. Germain’.

  6. Pingback: 19 Fun Ways To Drink Fernet Branca |

  7. Bump up the Elderflower to 1:1, add a few drops of orange bitters, and a touch more lime… It turns into a totally different cocktail. More aperitif, less disgestif. Equally delicious and maybe more approachable.

  8. Thanks for tip. I was actually searching for a drink i could use orange liqueur in, with Fernet Branca. But I found you to be a kindred spirit because I too keep a backup to my backup of FB : )

    So, here’s a contribution for you: Your measurements of FB, orange liqueur instead of elderflower (which I don’t have) and Casamigos tequila instead of mezcal (also don’t have). I call it A Bitter Bitch. I think anyone would agree. That said, I like bitter, so for me, it works.

    Perhaps, you could substitute a good scotch for the mezcal and call it a shillelagh – just an idea : )


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