Friday Classic Cocktail: The Fanciulli Cocktail

Not A Manhattan

Like most cocktails, the history of today's featured classic cocktail is as clear as hangover vision. According to Serious Eats, the Fanciulli Cocktail first appears in Albert Stevens Crockett's 1931 book Old Waldorf Bar Days*. The name, it is said, is Italian slang for "the boys". Having tipped a couple of these, responsibly, with some of the boys in the past I'd thought that it would be a good cocktail to revisit.

While simply replacing your preferred Manhattan's bitters with Fernet-Branca may sound like a simple thing, the complexity it brings to your cocktail will be something special. There's no reason to stop at Fernet-Branca, of course, because there are many different styles of fernet around. Try it with different sweet vermouths as well. I'd suggest Carpano Antica Formula or Punt E Mes. Rye or Bourbon? Why not mix it up tonight?

There's also the Toronto Cocktail variation which adds simple syrup and was introduced to me as a Sazerac variation. Once more those muddy memories. Oh, booze.

The Fanciulli Cocktail, by strict International Bartenders Association guidelines (If the IBA recognized the Fanciulli) would be:

Fanciulli Cocktail
Before Dinner cocktail
  • 5 cl Rye Whiskey
  • 2 cl Red Vermouth
  • 1 dash Fernet-Branca
Pour all ingredients into mixing glass with ice cubes. Stir well.
Strain into chilled cocktail glass. 
Garnish with cocktail cherry.



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