June 12th, 2007

A summer drink for tough guys and broads

Fanciulli cocktail

Yeah, it’s summertime, but that doesn’t mean you have to fight for sidewalk seating at a trendy Boylston Street restaurant and drink mango margaritas. Just find a dark, cool bar that stocks Fernet Branca and crushed ice and order a Fanciulli. This is the perfect drink to have when you quietly slip out of work at 2:30 on a sweltering afternoon to assume the role of an anonymous barfly in a film noir.


1/2 bourbon
1/4 sweet vermouth
1/4 Fernet Branca

Frappé. (In other words, mix the ingredients together in a shaker and pour over crushed ice.) Tip: last Christmas, I received a Groggy ice crusher from Ikea; it’s a perfect home bar tool for frappé cocktails.

I found the recipe for this bracingly refreshing drink in that good, old yardsale paperback The Art of Mixing Drinks, based on the Esquire Drink Book, where I also found the Marconi Wireless.

Coming up … a back-of-the-napkin account of our recent trip to L.A.

Permalink | Filed under Bitters, Cocktails, Drinking supplies, Whiskey |

9 Responses to “A summer drink for tough guys and broads”

  1. MC Slim JB

    The Fanciulli reminds me a bit of the Toronto, an up cocktail of rye, Fernet Branca and simple syrup served at Green Street in Cambridge, MA.

    The frappé idea is nice. I have an electric ice shaver made by Hawai’ice (designed for making snow cones) that I use for frappés, like the Trader Vic’s Mai Tai, a fierce Tiki drink. It saves some elbow grease when I’m making frappés for a houseful of guests.

    The Ikea Groggy looks like a bargain; I’m guessing the mechanism is similar to the one in the vintage ice crusher used by John Gertsen at No. 9 Park.

  2. ljclark

    In fact, we just came from John G.’s bar, where we had mini Fanciullis and Torontos. They are indeed similar, the Fanciulli separated by the sweet vermouth, lack of simple syrup, and crushed ice. Didn’t ask to see John’s ice crusher, but I did take a sniff of about a half-dozen homemade bitters he keeps behind the bar (made by both himself and friends).

  3. Stephen

    i used to drink alot of those marconi’s. i made mine with punt y mes….

    frappe drinks are awsome when its hot. a lewis bag is a great simple stress reliever / ice crusher.

  4. Scottes’ Rum Pages Pyrat Pistol «

    […] Dinkboston.com has an article up about “A summer drink for tough guys and broads” – The Fanciulli, which is a mix of bourbon, vermouth, and Fernet Branca. I guess I’m not a tough guy since that doesn’t even sound appetizing to me. I’ll stick to rum, neat, thank you. […]

  5. Vincent Amicosante

    Dear Drink Boston, Manly yes , But just esoteric enough to warrant a tasting. I will give it a spin and see if testosterone levels increase. Thanks, Vincent

  6. ljclark

    Yes, do let me know, Vincent. I think Scott has a few more hairs on his chest since our discovery of this drink.

  7. Adam

    I just made my first one of these, and — wow!– that’s a tasty drink. I wasn’t sure if I wanted Fernet in my iced Manhattan, but the combination really does work …

  8. ljclark

    Ha! Yes, Fernet in your iced Manhattan. Fernet in your Manhattan Sno-Cone. Whatever, it’s luscious.

  9. Billy

    Couldn’t wait for summer to try this one. This bourbon recipe translates well in the southern states as well. Very nice drink recipe.

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