Whiskey Fernet Sour

The creamy mouthfeel and balanced flavors of this Whiskey Fernet Sour make this cocktail sing. With fernet, whiskey, egg white, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, and orange bitters, this whiskey sour with egg white is sure to please your palate! If you’ve got simple syrup on hand, you can make this unique cocktail in less than 5 minutes!

2 coupe glasses with whiskey fernet sours garnished with orange peel.

👩🏻‍🍳 Tamara Talks – Fernet: A Bitter Amaro

Have you tasted (or even heard of) Fernet? Fernet is an amaro, a bitter liqueur. While Italy is certainly renowned for its production of amaro (plural: amari), not all amari are made exclusively in Italy. The term “amaro” is Italian for “bitter,” and it refers to a category of herbal liqueurs characterized by their bitter flavor profile. Fernet is known for its strong, bitter flavor profile, which is achieved through the use of a variety of herbs, spices, and botanicals.

What does Fernet taste like?

Fernet has a distinctive taste that is characterized by its strong bitterness and complex herbal flavors. While the flavor profile varies by brand, typical flavor notes in Fernet include:

  1. Bitterness: Fernet is known for its intense bitterness, which comes from the combination of bitter herbs and roots used in its production.
  2. Herbal: Fernet typically has a rich herbal flavor profile, with notes of botanicals such as chamomile, cardamom, aloe, mint, gentian, and rhubarb.
  3. Spices: It often contains spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg, which contribute warmth and depth to the flavor profile.
  4. Minty freshness: Many varieties of Fernet have a refreshing minty or mentholated quality, which can provide a cooling sensation on the palate.

In general, Fernet’s flavor can be quite intense and complex, with layers of bitterness, herbs, and spices that vary according to the brand or recipe. It’s a unique flavor that some people find challenging initially, but may learn to love over time. It was love at first sip for this bitter flavors loving girl. I love extra dark chocolate, black coffee, grapefruit, brussels sprouts, endive, and bitter amari!

Is Fernet a brand name?

Fernet is not a brand name; rather, it is a type of bitter, herbal liqueur. There are various brands that produce Fernet, each with its own unique recipe and flavor profile. Some well-known Fernet brands include Fernet-Branca, Fernet Stock, and Luxardo Fernet. These brands may have different variations of Fernet, but they all share the common characteristics of being bitter, herbal liqueurs typically enjoyed as digestifs or used in cocktails. My personal favorite is Appalachian Fernet from a craft distillery in Asheville, NC.

📋 Ingredients Notes

Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.

Ingredients for the whiskey fernet cocktail recipe - bourbon, fernet, egg, lemon, orange bitters, and simple syrup.
Ingredients for your Whiskey Fernet Sour (left to right): Prepared simple syrup, orange bitters, 2 brands of fernet (Fernet-Branca and Appalachian Fernet), bourbon (you can use rye), citrus, and eggs.
  • Fernet – Many brands produce Fernet, each with its own unique recipe and flavor profile. Arguably the most well-known brand in the US is Fernet-Branca. Fernet Stock and Luxardo Fernet are also fairly well-known. As I mentioned above, the Appalachian Fernet from Eda Rhyne in Asheville is my favorite. It features locally sourced herbs and botanicals, and globally sourced spices. Any brand of Fernet will be good in this cocktail.
  • whiskey – You do not need to use a top-shelf whiskey. We keep bourbon in our liquor cabinet, but occasionally we have a bottle of rye whiskey. I do not hesitate to use it in this cocktail. With the bold flavor notes of the Fernet, I do recommend a relatively high ABV whiskey. A good “bang for your buck” bourbon is Wild Turkey 101 with 50% ABV. We typically use Evan Williams Bottled-in-Bond bourbon for mixing.
  • simple syrup – You can make simple syrup or buy simple syrup. Keep in mind you need to completely cool the simple syrup prior to adding, and this will add 15-20 minutes to the time. Simple syrup can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a month.
  • egg white
  • garnishes – I like both an orange twist and orange bitters.

“Higher-proof bourbons have more flavor after dilution and can stand up to more assertive cocktail elements.”

~~ The Best Bourbon for Mixing, According to Bartenders, Punch Drink.

A line drawing of a martini with citrus and straw.
A wood cutting board with egg whites and fresh-squeezed lemon juice with jigger and shaker in the background.
Prepare ingredients for the whiskey fernet sour: Simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, separate egg whites, and make garnishes.

🔪 Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. Make the simple syrup if you need to (this will add 15-20 minutes to the time). Bring your egg(s) to room temperature for the most volume. Juice the lemon. Prepare any garnishes.
  2. Separate the egg white: Crack a fresh egg and carefully separate the egg white from the yolk. You can do this by cracking the egg and transferring the yolk back and forth between the two shell halves, allowing the egg white to drip into a separate container. Alternatively, you can use an egg separator tool.
  3. Add ingredients to the shaker: In your cocktail shaker, combine the other ingredients for your cocktail – whiskey, fernet, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white – without ice.
  4. Shake the cocktail vigorously without ice for about 10-15 seconds. This emulsifies the egg white and creates a frothy texture.
  5. Add ice: After the dry shake, add ice to the shaker.
  6. Shake again: Close the shaker and shake the cocktail again, this time with ice, for another 10-15 seconds. This chills the cocktail and further incorporates the ingredients.
  7. Strain and serve: Once the fernet sour is thoroughly chilled and well mixed, strain it into a chilled coupe.
  8. Garnish: Optionally, garnish your cocktail with an orange twist, and a few drops of orange bitters on top of the foam.
A single whiskey fernet sour garnished with orange peel, a shaker, and a jigger.

❓ FAQ

Is it safe to consume raw egg white in a cocktail?

Yes, it is generally safe to consume egg whites in cocktails when they are fresh and properly handled. When separating eggs, ensure that no egg yolk contaminates the egg whites, as this can increase the risk of bacterial contamination. Additionally, store egg whites properly in the refrigerator and use them within a reasonable time frame. NOTE: People with compromised immune systems, pregnant individuals, young children, and the elderly may be more susceptible to food borne pathogens, and may choose to avoid consuming raw eggs. I love cocktails with raw egg white (like this pisco sour and this pisco sour, and I have never known of anyone that had an issue!

💭 Tips

A “dry” shake followed by a “wet” shake produces the optimal froth on your cocktail. See Step-By-Step Instructions above for “How To.”

Have you tried fernet in a cocktail? If not, does it sound appealing? Please feel free to ask questions or provide feedback in the comments box below. Cheers!

Signature in red and green with chiles and limes. Healthyish Latin cuisine.

2 coupe glasses with whiskey fernet sours.

Whiskey Fernet Sour

This whiskey cocktail sings with the creamy mouthfeel and balanced flavors of fernet, whiskey, egg white, lemon juice, simple syrup and orange bitters…
5 from 8 votes

Click to rate!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Cocktail
Cuisine American
Servings 1 cocktail
Calories 258 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • 1 ½ ounces whiskey - see Ingredients Notes
  • 1 ½ ounces fernet - see Ingredients Notes
  • 1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice - not bottled!
  • ¾ ounce simple syrup
  • 1 egg white
  • orange bitters - several shakes
  • orange twist

Instructions

  • Make the simple syrup if you need to. Separate egg white(s). Prepare garnishes.
  • Add the whiskey, fernet, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white to a cocktail shaker without ice. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.
  • Add ice to the shaker. Shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.
  • Strain into a coupe or other cocktail glass. Add a few shakes of bitters, and garnish with orange peel. Cheers!

Nutrition

Calories: 258kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 4g

NOTE: Macronutrients are an approximation only using unbranded ingredients and MyFitnessPal.com. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

Did you make this recipe? Please leave a comment and/or star rating! Email us with any questions: tamara@beyondmeresustenance.com

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