My dear reader,
If you’ve never had the pleasure of tasting Fernet… well, I can’t recommend that you should. It’s been likened to being punched in the face. It’s a powerful, medicinal, kick with a flavor that’s the product of 27 different ingredients (which remain a closely guarded secret).
As far as its history, it was originally invented as a digestif, for an after-dinner aid to the digestion. It was used as a cure for stomach aches, night-sweats, cramps, and essentially every ailment known to man. It was invented in Italy in 1845, and when it came over to America, it was mainly imported into San Francisco as a cure for cholera, which was ravaging the area.
During the prohibition, it gained popularity because it was decidedly alcoholic, but was sold as a medicinal product and could therefore be purchased without a fuss.
Nowadays, it’s said 70% of Fernet-drinking in the world happens in San Francisco. It may be an acquired taste, but apparently once it’s acquired, it’s it never gets old.