DIG BOSTON November 17, 2011
At heart, we Americans are a culture are prone to excess, especially when it comes to eating and drinking on Thanksgiving. Borrowing a page from cultured old Europe, we’d like to share one of our secrets for eating and drinking for hours on end:
a lovely little spirit category known as digestifs.
As the name implies digestifs are consumed post-dinner to help the diner, you now, digest. Often rife with herbs and spices believed to have stomach-settling properties, these tend to be higher in alcohol than their antecedent, the aperitif. Modern bartenders use them to add flavor to cocktails, though digestifs are traditionally served straight or on the rocks.
Any cocktail nerd worth his rye knows of Fernet, the cocktail bartender’s shot of choice. How this became so among the cocktail glitterati remains a mystery, but it most certainly has arrived. Earlier this month the brand toured the Boston-area in a tricked out VW Fernet bus. And you shouldn’t be shocked to find some of our favorite local bartenders astride a baby blue Fernet cruiser.
Huzzah for clever marketing.
The American anomaly of Fernet shots aside, this amaro, or bitter, is consumed in Italy after dinner to help digest. Like most liqueurs it has a secretive recipe, containing dozens of different herbs including saffron, aloe, gentian root, chamomile, myrrh, and so many more. The flavor: bitter like a boxing glove to the head, and a little minty.
Nothing could be so effective at pushing all that turkey down your gullet.
Nipping Fernet at key points throughout your meal is a surefire way to keep you eating for hours on end, but for the bitter tasters among us, Fernet can be a bit much. Hailing from Sicily, Averna is much sweeter than its northern cousin.
When it’s time for a post-dinner cocktail, try this creation by the amaro-minded Joy Richard, a.k.a. Bourbon Belle. When designing the bar for The Citizen, she finagled a way to have Fernet on tap. Now that’s a bitter kind of love.
1.5 oz Punt e mes
.75 Falanghina Grappa
.5 oz averna
3 dashes ango orange
Stir, strain, grapefruit
The first annual Glovebox Fundraiser for the Arts at West End Johnnies features both specialty cocktails and a silent auction, so you’ll have something quality to sip on as you stare down potential bidders.