Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Places You Can Get Fernet: Spoontonic in Walnut Creek, CA

Got an email last week from a tipster named Kristen who says:

I work in the East Bay in Walnut Creek at this place called Spoontonic lounge. We sell a butt load of Fernet, and if you ever want to come check it out we're within walking distance from BART (pleasant hill or walnut creek).

"Butt load" is a technical term in the drink service industry. FYI.

Spoontonic is seems pretty hip since you can follow it on the Facebooks. They also have something called a "My Space", which I've never heard of so it must be hella cutting edge. FWIW they're also really well received on Yelp. One review in particular mentioned that they have a photobooth and only charge $2 for a PBR which makes me all nostalgic for the home base.

Pictures blatantly cribbed from Yelp go here:

They gots cute hipster girls in The Crick too.

Having grown up in the Far East Bay myself, I can say that I'm pretty familiar with the area. This place sounds objectively better than any other bar in Walnut Creek I've ever been to by a mile and a half. AND they serve Fernet, so bonus! Small caveat: According to Kristen a shot of Fernet is $7. This would be utterly unconscionable in SF, but one must make adjustments for what the market will bear out in the uncharted hinterlands of the Bay.

(I kid, I kid.)

ETC: My tipster graciously offered to have a shot at the bar waiting for me should I ever make it out there so I can "test if the fernet tastes different outside the city." Oooh, that sounds like research. I like research. Finally, check out Kristen's tumblr, which is filled with all kinds of general hilarity.
Filed Under: Places you can get Fernet, Fernets and their migratory patterns, Journey to the End of the East Bay, How much are you paying for your Fernet, Photobooths are where the magic happens

Friday, March 26, 2010

Fernetiquette asks The Internet for help... again

Second verse, extremely similar to the first.

Anyone sprechen sie the German?
And while you're at it...
Deleted scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey

Any attempts at translation would be appreciated. Danke schön!
Filed Under: a normal person might have taken a class or something by now, fernet adverts, these could be Dutch for all I know, monkeys they haunt me they attack me monkeys

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Russian Hill is Officially Fernet Central

As a proud Mission District resident this is an obviously difficult admission. Unfortunately, given the events of the past 24 hours the truth can be denied no longer. Russian Hill takes their Fernet more seriously than any other neighborhood in San Francisco. They are Kings of Fernet.
 The Queen of Fernet. (No relation.)

Take a second to let that sink in, my fellow Missionites. Shake off your south-of-market hipster prejudices, re-align your worldview, take a deep breath... then continue. No matter how much it may hurt, we have to come to terms with this simple salient situation: Another neighborhood in San Francisco does Fernet better than we do. That neighborhood is Russian Hill.

Still not buying it? Allow me to explain.

Pivoting off our recent discussion of the quixotic obsession with internet traffic, this site got a sizable jolt yesterday when the extraordinarily popular foodie blog Tasting Table linked to yours truly in their write up of the new phenomenon of Fernet On Tap. Because I am self-centered and like seeing my name in print, the link looked like this:
  As you can see, I'm taking celebrity in stride.

More relevantly to my thesis, the article noted the availability of Fernet On Tap at Bullitt. Bullitt is a bar on Polk between Vallejo and Green in (yep) Russian Hill. Thrillist got the scoop on Bullitt's tap two months ago (and Fernetiquette lamely followed) so it is not quite BREAKING NEWS that one can get Fernet On Tap in San Francisco. HOWEVA, Tasting Table also mentioned that Tonic Bar, which is another Russian Hill bar a block and change from Bullitt, now also features Fernet On Tap. It is not an exaggeration to say that this development is one of the greatest things to ever happen to humankind.

I will freely admit that math is not my strong suit, but the equation here seems pretty definitive. We now have TWO bars in ONE neighborhood that have Fernet On Tap vs. ZERO bars that have Fernet On Tap anywhere else in America. That adds up to unrivaled, unchallenged, undisputed dominance. I'm sorry, Mission bars. You may be cheaper and closer to me, but until you install a Fernet spigot at Pops, Benders, Uptown or 500 Club, you'll continue to play second fiddle.

Until then: Russian Hill is Fernet Central. So it is written, and so it shall be.

Filed Under: Fernet On Tap, Russian Hill, Fernetiquette Gets Famouser and Famouser All The Time, fernet adverts, Best McQueen Tribute Evar, Tonic Bar, I should leave my hood once in a while

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Adventures in Internet Blogging, Pt. I.

Hello gentle readers. Allow me to take a small break from your regularly scheduled travelin' and boozin' and researchin' about boozin' to peel back the curtain a little bit on some of the subtleties of having a "web log".

Folks who have had a blog know that whether you're trying to scratch out a living or you're just starting out at some point the amount of traffic you get on a day-to-day basis becomes something of an obsession. I can't say exactly why it happens for those of us who aren't ever planning on making any money off blogging. It's probably narcissism (or at least that's the explanation with which I'm most comfortable.)

Regardless, this obsession is a universal thing. Bloggers pore over their traffic numbers like they're religious screeds. They analyze and determine the types of posts that are the most popular (here at Fernetiquette these babies are by far the most google friendly) and the posts that no one bothers reading at all (basically everything else.) This is a daily ritual, and for most of us it's a sad, silent struggle against sanity.

However, one of the great joys of compulsively checking your traffic numbers is seeing exactly how people stumble upon your site. The average reader may not know this, but when you load Fernetiquette I can see a whole lot about you. Not only do I get information on how many people view my page, but I am told those visitors' locations, their browser settings and how long they spend on my site before clicking off to look at lolcats. Most interestingly, I am also told the link that brought you here. I ALSO see it when people find me through a google search and I see what the google search was that drew the hit. As you can guess, google searches are often pretty funny.

For example, last Friday I posted this about the Eastern Standard in Boston, Mass. Because no Fernetiquette post would be complete without pithy, immature tag I slapped one on the bottom of it that said "Tom Brady is a Handsome Man." I did this for a few reasons. One because before Tom Brady was the quarterback for the Patriots, he played for Michigan.


As I explained in the True Faqs, I am a rabid Michigan Football fan. It is also true that Tom Brady is in fact quite handsome.

Proof pt. II. You know you want him.

Astute readers will note that my description of the Eastern Standard's "Heather in Queue" cocktail used the word "foxy". Less than an hour after throwing that baby up, I got a hit from someone in South Korea who had apparently googled "Tom Brady foxy". I found this amusing. You may find this sad or unremarkable, but this gets back to the Pathetic Life of Your Poor Blogger.

Along similar lines someone in Pinole, CA recently found me through this search, which ha ha google suggestion lulz.

Not quite as tasty. Or dangerous.

But my absolute favorite example of this phenomenon so far is the apparent confluence of this post about Varnish in Los Angeles and this one about the Football cocktail which produced a google result for Fernetiquette when someone searches for (I kid you not) "homemade cream for décolletage". Insert relevant picture here:

Insert inappropriate joke here.

UPDATES! So speaking of The Eastern Standard, behold the Power of the Twitternets!

Re-tweet away, minions!

To say that the post on Friday was the Most Popular Fernetiquette Post ever is a bit of an understatement. Someone in Boston found it Monday morning, tweeted about it and BOOM this blog hit triple-digit page loads for the first time in its young life. And there was much rejoicing.

There was also some helpful clarification. In the comments to that post, Frederic answers our question about Ms. Heather:
This cocktail is named for a regular Friday-night customer who was standing “in queue” when Jackson created this drink for her as a replacement for the Hoskins, “as I was running out of the then famous 164-bottle stash of Amer Picon that I picked from a dusty corner of the Martignetti warehouse.”
More at the Drink Boston link, which Frederic also helpfully provides. FWIW, My friend Aly who lives in Boston but is unfortunately not a Fernetophile had this to say about The Eastern Standard:

The Eastern Standard is the only good place to get a drink in the Fenway area. It's near the park, but manages to stay douche bag free.

So there you have it. More Fernet, Fewer Douchebags. How can you go wrong?
Filed Under: meta, The Pathetic Life of Your Poor Blogger, Tom Brady is a handsome man, Boston, these are a few of my favorite things, All Your Updates, Fellow Travelers, MSPaint Skillz

Friday, March 19, 2010

Places You Can Get Fernet: Eastern Standard in Boston, MA

So. You're in Boston. You've gone to Faneuil Hall. You've had your picture taken in front of the Civil War memorial on the Common. You've done the Duck Tour. And you've walked by Fenway and thought about how nice it would be to see a game there but all the tickets are sold out and $350 for a scalped seat behind a pole are you effing kidding me!?!?!

Now you're thinking to yourself "Man, I could really go for a rib eye steak, half a raw lobster, some standard (not special, mind you) foie gras with seasonal garnish, and an heirloom apple tarte tartin for dessert. Oh, and also some Fernet. I've only got $75 to spend (not including tax and gratuity, of course.) But where???"

There's only one place that THIS writer knows of. And that's The Eastern Standard.

The aforementioned standard foie gras and seasonal garnish

Jackson Cannon, the (one-time? current? I have no idea) bar manager at Eastern Standard apparently is in the habit of referring to Fernet-Branca as "Jäger for men", which is offensive on precisely two levels. However, the article that brings us that absurd quotation also says stuff like this:
The first time you taste Fernet, it literally assaults your senses. It’s intensely bitter, peppery and mentholated. ‘I can’t believe I just swallowed that,’ may be your first thought. But, intrigued, you try it again. You like that cleaned-out buzz, that feeling that your insides have been sandblasted. The next thing you know, you’re working in a restaurant.

Why do waiters, bartenders and chefs gravitate toward this stuff? Well … It’s a badass drink that very few people know about, much less like. Drinking it conveys both that you have an advanced palate and that you embrace the ridiculous.

...so perhaps some quarter should be given since that last sentence is oh so very wonderful.

Making her grand appearance on the Eastern Standard Cocktail Menu is the "Heather in Queue". Who is this Heather and why is she standing in line? Who knows? Who cares? I do know and care that she is made up of "A few of our favorite things:"
  • Plymouth
  • Martini Bianco
  • Bauchant (an orange liquer)
  • Fernet
Heather does indeed sound foxy enough to wait my turn.

Filed Under: Places you can get Fernet, Boston, Fernet cocktails, Fancy Fernet Free Verse, Duck Boats yall, Tom Brady is a handsome man

Thursday, March 18, 2010

This Seems Relevant to My Interests

Via Uptown Almanac, it's Mike Giant doing something... amazing.

OK. First off:
Well done, sir.

Naturally, I have a few small qualms
  1. What on Earth is Skylark doing there? You might as well go with Blondie's and be done with it.
  2. I probably would have included Elbo Room.
  3. I definitely would have included House of Shields, though I understand if we're discounting Downtown and Yuppie SOMA.
That's... pretty much it. Pretty much every other time I thought to myself "Oh, what about..." it was already on there. My roommate Timmy objected to the absence of Tonga Room, but I think these are mostly not expensive/touristy/frat boy places. Hence the absence of Bourbon and Branch, Hobson's Choice and every bar in the Marina.

Oh, and I've been to THIRTY-EIGHT of those bars. Tell the truth: you're a little impressed, aren't you? Of course you are.
Filed Under: Over-sharing and functional alcoholism, San Francisco in general, thats fuckin art man art, Pop's is for winners, Fellow Travelers, I sense a pub crawl coming on

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Okay, Okay, I'll Try Fernet Con Coca.

It's hard to argue that I'm some kind of Fernet purist. While my preferred way to take it is in shot form, I have obviously enjoyed my fair share of some entirely scrumptious Fernet concoctions. So why is it that until now I've resisted trying the most popular (and easiest to make) Fernet cocktail in the world?

Frankly, I have no idea. I like Fernet. I like Coke. I drink enough of either ingredient that I would conservatively estimate my bloodstream is typically around 40% Fernet and Coke anyway. But the idea of ordering a Fernet and Coke gets my dander up.

Maybe I blanch at Fernet Con Coca because I'm defensive of the idea that you'd have to water it down to make it palatable. It's definitely also a bit of (ahhh my old familiar friend) San Franciscan Pretentiousness. Regardless, the idea of cutting my delicious Fernet with something as pedestrian as cola has spurred me to deploy not just one but two derogatory (and probably offensive) tags to refer to Fernet Con Coca on this blog.

Well, folks. It's time to suck it up and try it. For science!

Pictured: ingredients. Not pictured: irrational internal scorn.

As an aside, the bottle above cost me almost $30 with tax at the liquor store across the street. And yet I paid it. Don't ever say I don't do anything for you people.

Dramatic reflection shot!

For the sake of completeness, here's how to make a Fernet Con Coca.
  • One shot of Fernet-Branca
  • Coca-Cola
  • Ice

At least they look pretty

Look, I'm not going to beat around the bush. Fernet and Coke tastes exactly how you'd expect it to taste. The cola waters the Fernet down so it's less punchy, but not so much that you can't still get the flavor. It's fine. A little blander than I'd like it to be, but fine. The best thing I can say about Fernet Con Coca is that mixing it like this prolongs the Fernet experience and the ice and cold coke make it more of a summer-y refreshing drink. Like a Tom Collins that'll put hair on your chest. I just can't see myself drinking this regularly is all.

FWIW, The Ladyfriend liked it more than I did. Here were her thoughts:

It's kind of an interesting balance in this drink, it seems. Sometimes it seems as though it doesn't take much Fernet for it to taste sort of like just a drawn-out shot of Fernet--like a shot of Fernet diluted a bit with Coke because, say, hypothetically, you only had a little bit of Fernet left and really wanted to make one last drink for the night but were too lazy/tipsy/naked to go out to the store to buy more Fernet--not that I would ever be able to relate to such a hypothetical desire in such a hypothetical situation, ever, because that's just sad! Right?

At any rate: a Fernet con Coca that tastes sort of like a drawn-out Fernet shot is not a bad thing. I enjoy it. It does, however, take on a somewhat different flavor when it's heavier on the Coca-Cola and lighter on the Fernet. The Fernet taste and Coke do complement each other rather well, I think; the specific way in which Coke is sweet and syrupy works with Fernet. (Note: I am not sure I could be paid/what sum of money I'd have to be paid to try a Fernet con Diet Coca. The sugar and the syrupiness of the regular Coke is crucial, I think, and I don't really like regular Coke most of the time. I'm super into Diet Coke, and yet I still would be hard-pressed to drink, voluntarily/for free, a Fernet con Diet Coca.)

So, final verdict: I like it. If one didn't like Fernet at all, I think a very very light-on-Fernet Fernet con Coca might even possibly work for that one. Should I ever find myself in Argentina, I shall order myself a Fernet con Coca with white-chick-style-atrociously-accented-broken-Spanish gusto.

So there you go. I should note that I have no such compunction against trying a Fernet and Diet Coke. I'm trying to watch my girlish figure, see.
FINALLY, in pseudo-celebration of the holiday, here is the face-melting #1 hit in a google image search for "Fernet St. Patrick's Day":

Holy shit!

Fuck if I know what that has to do with St. Patrick's Day, and fuck if I could care. THIS. IS. AWESOME. Something tells me this isn't an official Branca advert, though I confess I don't know whether I would like it more or less if it was. Regardless, one thousand cocktails to whoever produced this work of art, and I will now seek out a print to hang on the ceiling above my bed.

Filed Under: OMG OMG OMG, Fernet and Cola, The Argentine Menace, Drink it like a man you pansies, Fernet cocktails, le sigh, Fernet Foto File, fernet adverts, thats fuckin art man art

Monday, March 15, 2010


Hi. My name is Clint. I'm a chronically under-employed attorney who plays guitar in a silly punk rock band on the side. This is my blog.

It's been a few weeks since I used this space. I know my four readers were very upset/might have been curious/were not bothered at all at my absence. Fear not my friends, I'm back.

Anyhoo, I took this picture the other night on a date night with my ladyfriend.
Going forward, I think this blog will be a little bit more personal and a little bit broader in focus. Of course, I'll still talk about our favorite Italian digestif, but I think I'll also use this space for more personal reflection as needed. I hope all four of you stick with.

I took the above picture at Vesuvio, which I also talked about here. It was date night with Theresa, and we had a very nice time. She took this picture:
...which I liked for obvious reasons. Tee hee.

Regular postings should resume now.
Filed Under:  Fernet Foto File, And you thought North Beach was only good for mediocre pizza and strippers, Vesuvio, Over-sharing and functional alcoholism, meta.