A Hangover Cure for the Staunch of Heart

by Justin D'Olier on March 1, 2012 | (3) Comments |

I wonder how many of the world’s greatest inventions were inspired by a hangover?

I’d wager bacon, coffee, asprin, the panini grill, democracy, Yo Gabba Gabba, and the snuggie were all the result of a few too many cocktails.

(This list provides an intimate window into how I spend most hung over mornings.)

As of today, I can add another item to the list: coffee with Fernet.

Coffee and Fernet

Why, yes. My coffee mug does have a picture of a naked man attempting to stab someone on it.

In case you’re unaware of the wild flavor explosion known as Fernet, it is a bitter, aromatic spirit with a flavor resembling licorice-infused listerine. Image you took a pound of black licorice, put it in a blender with a haphazard mix of herbs, spices and grain alcohol, liquified it, let it ferment in the sun for 47 days, and then used it to lubricate the axels of an eighteen wheeler on a cross-country delivery. The resulting alcoholic goo would taste strikingly similar to Fernet. In fact, I’m not entirely sure that is not how Fernet is made.

During a recent philosophical conversation with bartender Dave Power about the existentialist nature of Fernet and the current state of my hangover, Dave recommended pouring a tablespoon of Fernet into my morning cup of coffee. I generally don’t drink before 8:37 AM – hey, a man has to have standards – but my throbbing head and slightly altered mental facilities quicily swayed me to the merits of the idea.

I was not prepared for the beverage I was about to consume.

I figured the bitter strength of coffee would tame the wild, mountain ruggedness of Fernet. It did not.

I figured the powerful aroma of a fresh cup of french pressed Kauai coffee would harness the hairy, gruff lumberjack smell of Fernet. It did not.

As I learned, there is no stopping the raw power of Fernet. If you have a problem with Fernet, Fernet will slap you in the face and call you Suzy. Fernet won’t take your shit. Fernet will take your mom out to a nice seafood dinner and never call her again. Fernet triumphs over all.

The powerful, herbal aromatics of Fernet leap from the coffee mug. Even in a relatively small proportion, Fernet plays a leading role. The flavor of the coffee and the Fernet do harmoize, and the rugged aromatics of Fernet are lightened somewhat, but a light Fernet flavor is like a small kick in the crotch. Fernet does subtle like Hulk Hogan.

Somewhat ironically, because both coffee and Fernet are extremely bitter, the combination significantly dampens the bitterness of both. The sweetness of Fernet adds a nice compliment to the austere bitterness of a black cup of coffee. The resulting beverage is powerful, ostentacious, and agressive, but undeniably appealing to the inner-Lumberjack in all of us.

Put simply, if you don’t like Fernet, you won’t like it in your coffee. On the other hand, if you’ve come around to the cheeky wiles and undeniable masculine sensability of the bitter, aromatic spirit, Fernet and coffee is a hangover’s dream come true.

It almost makes me exctied for my next hangover. Almost.

3 responses to “A Hangover Cure for the Staunch of Heart”

  1. Dave Newman says:

    Best DWA article ever!!! Well except the cocktail scavenger hunt, but that shouldn’t really count. Stoked you are back at it! Life is better!

  2. Kyle says:

    Fernet Branca wins again. I try to drink it the night before to avoid a hangover too; never works. Morning after, it is.