Fernet-Branca challenges bartenders for Italian trip prize


Bartenders are being challenged to create two drinks – “one for me, one for you” – in a new competition for classic Italian bitter liqueur Fernet-Branca.

UK distributor Hi-Spirits is seeking two recipes – one that appeals to bartenders’ own tastes and one with a strong consumer appeal – to reflect the social aspects of making drinks in Italy.

Six UK finalists will be flown out to the Branca Distillery in Milan to face an international panel, competing among themselves for the top prize of £1,000 in cash. The trip will also include a tour of other Italian distilleries.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “Fernet-Branca has been lubricating conversations and social gatherings in Italy for 170 years. We know that bartenders love working with Fernet-Branca, and so we’re challenging them to create a drink that they enjoy as well as one for their customers, in order to keep the conversation going.”

The “one for me” bartender’s choice cocktail must include a minimum of 20ml of Fernet-Branca, while the “one for you” with customer appeal must include at least 10ml of Fernet-Branca.

The competition is open for entries until February 28. The best will be invited to take part in six regional heats held during March at venues in London, Newcastle upon Tyne, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, and Bristol. Full entry details and rules are online at www.hi-spirits.com/competitions.

The winner from each heat will take part in the final at the Branca distillery in Milan in April. As well as making their “one for me” bartender’s choice drink for the judges, they will be challenged to create a cocktail from ingredients supplied on the day.

The trip will also include a visit to the Antiche distillery in Venice, where Antica Sambuca is made, and the Lazzaroni Amaretto distillery in Milan.

The overall winner will also be invited to join the Fernet Branca Secret Society, an exclusive drinks industry group that celebrates the heritage and versatility of the liqueur.

Invented in Milan in 1845 by Bernardino Branca, Fernet-Branca is a digestif amaro liqueur with a distinctive bitter flavour which is still made to a closely-guarded original recipe.

Along with Fernet-Branca and the minty Branca Menta, other drinks from Fratelli Branca Distillerie distributed in the UK by Hi-Spirits include classic vermouths Carpano Antica Formula and Carpano Punt e Mes and coffee liqueur Borghetti Caffe.

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