Fanciulli Cocktail Recipe

Fancuilli Cocktail This drink first appeared in print in Old Waldorf Bar Days back in 1931. The book mentions that Fanciulli is Italian slang for “the boys.” A variation on the classic Manhattan, a Fanciulli substitutes Fernet for the traditional bitters. This drink is dominated by the vermouth and the Fernet, so it is important to use a strong rye or bourbon as the base. As is our preference, generally we recommend using one that is bonded or higher proof. This is also a cocktail that benefits from a more robust vermouth. Jordan’s go-to is Punt E Mes, but ask your knowledgeable liquor store clerk for other recommendations.

This is another cocktail for tipplers that appreciate bitterness, but Fernet also provides a menthol-like flavor that can be divisive among palates. It provides a minty-ness that is not at all like fresh mint in a Julep or High Ball cocktail.

Fanciulli Cocktail

  • 1 ½ oz. 100+ proof rye (recommend Rittenhouse) or bourbon (recommend Old Grand-Dad)
  • ¾ oz. sweet vermouth (full bodied; i.e. Punt E Mes or Carpano Antica)
  • ¼ Fernet Branca


Combine ingredients in mixing glass, add ice, and stir well. Strain into chilled coupe or cocktail glass.


Have you experimented with Fernet Branca? What did you think?