Some of you are aware that my New Year started off with a challenge that is a bit of a departure from the usual resolutions. I decided to take at least one shot of Fernet Branca per day for 30 days, and see whether it contributed to my overall health and wellbeing!
I'm documenting the progress through the 30 Days with a little video clip- usually taken at night as I take my daily dose (you can follow the fun over at my Youtube channel, and on twitter via the hashtag #fernetcure).
I'm finding it an interesting sociological excercise as well, as I try to describe to friends and random strangers just what I'm up to. Reactions have ranged from "Cool!" to "what the heck is Fernet Branca?" to "WHY?", and a few headshakes that suggest folks secretly think I'm off my rocker. And so I figured it was time for a quick blog post about why on earth I am doing this!
It began innocently enough, starting with … a conversation … at a bar!
Actually, it was back in November, and I was talking with a few people, including Shawn Soole at Clives Classic Lounge about the mysteries behind herbal-based infusions. And thus, the conversation naturally turned to Chartreuse and Fernet Branca!
The history of many of the alcoholic beverages we enjoy today have their roots as health tonics. Juniper was originally added to gin, for instance, as a means of helping people feel better. Chartreuse has 130 different herbs, spices and roots, most of which have medicinal properties, and Fernet Branca was available for consumption during Prohibition because it was considered a health tonic (marketed mainly to women at the turn of the Century as the Midol of the day).
I remember saying jokingly, that it might make an interesting experiment … to take a regular dose of said tonic, and see whether there was any different or not!
Over the next couple of days, moving from the half-serious conversation to the practical, I began doing a bit of digging into some of the ingredients behind Fernet Branca, and discovered that many of the ingredients in it not only have digestive benefits, but are also powerful antioxidants, anti-spasmodics, anti-inflammatories, disinfectants … and the list goes on. And so, I figured, ultimately it might be a little like going to an herbalist and walking away with beneficial herbal tincutures (which are often extracted using 80 proof alcohol), except that the kind folks at Fratelli Branca had done us the service of combining a number of these together!
Thus, 30 Days of Fernet Branca was borne! The rules are simple:
- every day I will take at least one "dose" of Fernet Branca (a dose being the 2 cl. line on the official Ferent Branca shot glass!).
- that dose may be consumed as a shot, but can also be incorporated into other forms (e.g. cocktails).
- the dose cannot be cooked (e.g. downing a plateful of Fernet Branca marshmallows doesn't count).
- every day I will capture the moment on film.
- I will do my darndest to talk about something new about Fernet Branca each day.
- These are quick one-take videos — no makeup, minimal lighting, so don't come expecting glamour shots 😉
I'd love it if you joined me (there are 15 days left!), or just follow along to see how things go!