We like challenges around here, and just a few weeks back we whipped up a summer punch recipe for a challenge over at Liquor.com, and this time we’ve been asked to join in on the #Brancamenta challenge. #Brancamenta is a minty liqueur using the same blend of herbs and spices used to make Fernet Branca. If you’re not familiar with Fernet, it’s the bitter herbal liqueur originally created as a stomach medicine, and now is more commonly consumed as a after dinner apertif. If you followed our Tales of the Cocktail coverage last year, you know it’s often taken as a shot by bartenders and referred to as a Bartenders Handshake.
Brancamenta is pretty much like taking a shot of Fernet, and then chasing it with a thin mint girl scout cookie. It’s pretty delicious but Fernet itself is an acquired taste that most compare to licorice. Lori HATES both fernet and mint, so when we got this and I explained to her what it was, she gave me the look of death. More for me I guess. Mint in cocktails is what Ginger is to a chef. It’s pretty strong, can add incredible flavor to a recipe, but with too much can completely ruin it.
One look outside at the weather and I got in the mood for a Dark N Stormy and then the bottle of Branca started staring at me. When bartenders sometimes shoot Fernet, they chase it with ginger ale or ginger beer, and a light bulb went off in my head. So I made what I like to call the Dark N Minty. It looks amazing, and it tastes even better. The rum and the chocolatey flavor of Brancamenta mix together really well, and the mint and ginger go great together as I already expected.
If you’re looking for something a bit more tropical and lot less carbonated, I also made an amazing martini using Caorunn gin, Brancamenta, and fresh pineapple juice. I’ve been eating pineapples and drinking the juice a lot lately, I guess thats the 30 Year old me trying to finally live a healthy life. Garbage in garbage out right? I’ve used pineapples in the past to hide the bitter flavor of kale in my breakfast smoothies, so I thought why not see how it handles with this. I was actually surprised. It smelled great, looked a little shady, but tasted like something I would drink any morning before breakfast. Pineapple and mint, who knew. You can check out both recipes below and try them yourselves.
Dark N Minty
- 5-6 oz Ginger Beer
- 1.5 oz Dark Rum [Black rum if possible]
- .5 oz Brancamenta
Fill a tall glass with crushed ice, then pour in your ginger beer. Next float your Brancamenta, and finally top off with dark rum. Stir to combine ingredients and enjoy.
Pineapple Mint Martini
- 4 oz Pineapple Juice
- 1 oz Gin
- .5 oz Brancamenta
Combine your juice, gin, and brancamenta in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a lemon or lime slice.