Alexis Jenkins, for The Baltimore Sun
Fernet Branca, a potent herbal liqueur, is a favorite among Italians. They drink it after large meals to settle their stomachs (a darker alternative to white Sambuca) and they add it to espressos to cure hangovers.
In America, it's fueling our bartenders. According to Julia Momose, lead bartender at Willow, Fernet Branca is also a popular shot among peers because of "its intensely refreshing flavor."
So for the Branca Miele ($7), a hot drink developed by Momose, she knew to pair the minty liqueur with Buffalo Trace bourbon, a liquor with "the body to match the boldness of the Fernet."
Hot water, honey syrup and a twist of lemon make up the rest, and the result is a winter cocktail made for tea lovers. It's also a drink that should be investigated slowly, as the combination of flavors will likely surprise with each sip. Fernet Branca by itself may be an acquired taste for some, but the Branca Miele makes the flavorful liqueur approachable and, best of all, enjoyable, especially on a cold night of bar-hopping around Fells Point.