Lush Life

To be a lush chef, does not mean to drink in excess - this can result in scary fires and bad dishes. A lush chef is one who enjoys gourmet cooking/baking, often with fresh ingredients and the smart use of one's home bar. If there happens to be half a bottle of beer, a glass of wine, or a sip of brandy left over...well, one cannot be wasteful. I give you permission to imbibe.

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The Lush Chef
Twitter: @thelushchef Provenance: Santa Monica Dish: Coq au Vin Spirit: Whiskey Wine: Malbec Beer: Hefeweizen Farmer's Market: Santa Monica on Main Street
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Feb 7, 2013

Libation Education: Fernet

Fernet-Branca, your favorite bartender's libation of choice at the end of the night.  You've probably seen a ton of them shot this dark brown spirit back and wondered what the appeal is.  Perhaps it's the minty flavor (which actually comes from the saffron), the bracing feel ones gets after downing a shot, or the cure to a hangover, but whatever it is, Fernet-Branca has been having a huge moment over the past couple of years.  It truly became popularized a few years ago by bartenders in San Francisco when there was a huge marketing push in the area, and the obsession has since spread across the country.

This bitter amaro was created by Bernardino Branca in Milan in 1845.  He created this fake persona of a doctor named Fernet to tout it as a cure-all to all sorts of maladies, primarily indigestion.  It contains about 27 different kinds of herbs, plants and roots, which include aloe, gentian root, cinchona bark, cinnamon, galangal, chamomile, myrrh, linden flowers, elderflower, possibly wormwood, and the aforementioned saffron.  Apparently, Fratelli Branca, the company that produced the libation uses 75% of the world's saffron.  The spirit is aged for at least one year in oak barrels and has a very dark brown color.  If you're still new to the world of amari, I wouldn't recommend drinking this as a shot.  Have it mixed in a cocktail, or instead of bitters in your Old Fashioned, put a few drops of Fernet-Branca in there instead.