The Tasting Panel magazine

February 2014

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february 2014 / the tasting panel / 31 are very focused on featuring the best spirits possible, so they're not going to love these brands just because they love Fernet. They love these products because they appreciate the story and the quality behind the brand." To put these products in the spot- light, the Fratelli portfolio was on dis- play in December for an L.A. bartender showcase, where some of Tinsletown's top 'tenders gathered to taste, mingle and explore ways to put these products to use at their own bars. With legs and a life of their own, brands like portfolio megastar Carpano Antica Formula and the new sibling Carpano Bianco, Candolini Grappa, Punt e Mes, Caffè Borghetti and Sambuca inspired mixologists to think outside the shot. "I'm an agave-head," explains Gilbert Marquez, "but I loved the idea of playing with a grappa and mezcal." Turning to Candolinni Grappa, which he calls "soft and aromatic," Marquez brought an international lair to the pulque cocktail with his Pulqueria La Risa. "It's Mexico meets Italy–and a bit of Hawaii too," he said with a laugh. "Events like these are what Fernet and the Fratelli experi- ence are all about: sharing ideas, enjoying time together," says Hagendorn. "These guys love Fernet," he continued, gesturing to a busy and vibrant room, "and now they're learning to love the rest of the Fratelli portfolio." While visiting Micah Olsen at his fantastic Phoenix eatery Crudo, I found myself surrounded by industry folks, when Micah mentioned that he'd been robbed. "They took my money, they took my electronics, but they didn't take my Fernet coins!" he said, with a veritable sigh of relief. Moments later, I found myself buying a round of Fernet for my industry friends; I'd forgotten my coin. If Fernet has become the bartender's handshake, the Fernet challenge coin has become the club's exclusive talisman. Issued to bartending communities across the country with market-by-market images printed on the backside, the Fernet coin brings an insider-chic bond of brotherhood. "We couldn't have anticipated the way the bartending and culinary ields have responded to Fernet," says Hagendorn, "and there's something very cool about the coin challenge that indicates you're one of the gang." Inspired by WWI coins used as medallions to prove loyalty and national- ity, the honor of having a Fernet coin carries a slew of responsibilities. Challenge coin rules include carrying the token with you at all times and presenting it to challengers upon request; if you can't, watch out!—the next round's on you. Lesson learned. —R. B. For more information on the Fernet Coin Challenge, reach out to your Fernet sales rep. The Fernet Coin Challenge: Every Bartender's Favorite Game Marco Antonio Ramos Monterrubio presents his Arthur Miller cocktail, made with Borghetti Sambuca and Caffè Borghetti. "The Caffè Borghetti is so much better than other espresso liqueurs," he says. "It's very smooth and true-to-flavor, without being too sweet, which gives it great range for cocktails."

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