Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Fernet On Tap is a Real Actual Thing

I can swear to the above statement in a court of law. Because last night, I ventured all the way over to the expensive side of the City to Bullitt and saw it with my very own eyes. It was glorious.
Hella OMGs!

Let's get a close-up view on that bad boy.
Yep. That's right. It's an an adorable wee lil Fernet bottle stuck on a tap. And that tap dispenses Fernet. It's like a unicorn gumdrop fountain made of $100 bills. Too good to be real. If they had one of these at The Homestead I'd probably try to move in.

Unfortunately, they don't have one at The Homestead or anywhere else in my general area, so I'm forced to go all the way to Fernet Central/Russian Hill to sample Fernet On Tap. Russian Hill is A) pretty far from me, and B) basically the Marina. More on B) later, but let's just say I'm glad they weren't checking neighborhood passports too closely.

So what did Fernet On Tap taste like? To be honest, it tasted a heck of a lot like regular Fernet. It may have been slightly more "open" and a tiny bit less sharp, but it was still Fernet so it still had plenty of prickliness to spare. Theresa, our ever-present companion and photographer, said it tasted "warmer". I think that's right, though none of the variances are present to a large extent. Bottom line: you really have to work hard to taste the difference.

This should not be a surprise. Fernet does not exactly present the subtlest of flavor palates. You can fuss with the margins all you like, but you're not going to alter the big picture a whole bunch. Fernet On Tap will still walk up to you and slug you in the face just like Fernet Not On Tap will. The only difference may be in the exact angle of the right cross.

I don't have much more to say about Bullitt itself, so allow me to comment on Russian Hill in general. First, this is the window of the bar right next door from Bullitt:
Yes, that's a gigantic bottle of Fernet-Branca with branchy tree-like things growing out of it. Well, OK. Cheers to you Cresta's 2211 Club. Your window display is beautiful like a rainbow.

Secondly, upon leaving Bullitt and heading back up Polk street towards my friend Such A Clatter's car, we passed yet another bar. Out from said bar came stumbling a prototypical Marina DudeBrah. He wasn't wearing an Ed Hardy T-Shirt, but I can only assume that was because he was at the end of a laundry cycle. At any rate, he stumbled up to our band of merry folks, nudged me on the elbow and pointed across the street towards an attractive young lady in the crosswalk.

"Hey man," he slobbered. "Wouldn't you like to get up inside that?"

Somewhat stunned, I laughed it off and said "Oh yeah, man. Absolutely."

She had apparently heard the exchange and was obviously smitten by the high compliment paid to her by our unnamed drunkard, because she turned towards us, raised a heavily manicured hand and went "WOOOOO!!!!"

Ahh, young love. You stay classy, Russian Hill. 
Filed Under: OMG OMG OMG, Best McQueen Tribute Evar, Russian Hill, DudeBrahs, Fernet Foto File, MSPaint Skillz, Fernet On Tap, Actual research-like substance.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Happy Birthday to New Coke!

That's right, kids. Twenty-five years ago today.
 What could go wrong!?!

Also a big Bon Anniversaire to Valerie Bertinelli, Warren Spahn, Sandra Dee, Miguel de Cervantes, Tony Esposito, Herve Villechaize, Bill Shakespeare, Shirley Temple, me, Lee Majors and Roy Orbison.

Filed Under: This has absolutely zero to do with Fernet Branca, I want to try Fernet con Coca Nueva, Spahn and Sain and pray for HELLA PRESENTS

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Maybe the Best Thing I've Ever Seen, Ever

This is all over the intertubes today but whatevs because OMG.

You see, Giants? You score when you actually touch the plate. Style points are extra, though they also have the potential make you immortal.

h/t Brigid
Filed Under: OMG OMG OMG, This has absolutely zero to do with Fernet Branca, The High Holy Church of Baseball, Profiles in Amazingism, No really watch it again it's the best thing ever, 5 runs in 4 games arrrgh

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Places You Can Get Fernet: Russell House Tavern in Cambridge, MA

The Russell House Tavern is in Harvard Square, across the Charles River from the Eastern Standard in Cambridge. Of course, Cambridge is where Harvard is. Thus, Russell House Tavern is a Harvard Bar, and I am legally obligated to deploy this picture:
Why yes, I do enjoy a nice Granny Smith from time-to-time.

Russell House Tavern is on "JFK street", which is kind of like having a gay bar in San Francisco called Moby Dick: too obvious to NOT be a real thing. The bar opened a few weeks ago, has a truly awesome special offer for the hungry brainacs who frequent the area.

Grossman said that the Harvard community was one of the top three factors he took into consideration before opening the restaurant. He added that he has informally created a “happy meal” for students, which consists of a 16-ounce Brooklyn lager tall boy, one shot of Fernet Branca, and a “giant” burger—priced at $18.
FUCK YEAH HAPPY MEAL. In my head these come in cardboard boxes in the shape of Fenway Park with a smiling David Ortiz on the outside dressed as the Hamburgler.

Filed Under: Places you can get Fernet, Boston, Oh Matt Damon he is such a tortured soul, Applesauce bitch, Hopefully McDonalds' lawyers will never hear about this

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Places You Can Get Fernet: Sable in Chicago, IL

In the middle of my junior year of college, my girl and I went to the City of Broad Shoulders to visit a friend of mine from grade school who had moved out there while he and I were in high school. It was in the dead of winter; the harrowing part of Midwestern January. According to the weathermen, it was something like -40 with the wind chill. I didn't know if what the forecast said was true, I just know it was the coldest I'd ever been in my life. It still is.

The three of us still managed to brave the conditions and fought our way downtown. I wore my Red Wings jersey. At the Art Institute, we did this:
Of course we did.

I mention this not because it's particularly relevant; it's just to remind myself that I should contact the old friend and the girl more often. They are wonderful people and I miss them both.

What is quite relevant is this: you can get Fernet in Chicago. True fact.

A good hotel bar can be a traveler’s best friend, especially when it comes with a pedigree like that of the recently opened Sable Kitchen & Bar in Chicago’s Hotel Palomar. With a spirits selection curated by bartender Jacques Bezuidenhout and cocktails like the Fernet- and St. Germain-laced Ginger Dram and the strawberry- and mezcal-bedecked Speaking in Tongues being mixed by Violet Hour alum Mike Ryan, Sable is the perfect bar away from home.
 Sable is at 505 North State street, which according to the googlz is right downtown-ish. Picture goes here.

For the record, the Ginger Dram consists of:
  • 1 3/4 oz. single-malt scotch whisky 
  • 1 oz. Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
  • 2 barspoons Fernet Branca
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Ice cubes 
  • A dash of DA BEARS
  • Lemon twist
  • Served in a Nick & Nora glass
One of those ingredients may not be entirely serious.
Filed Under: Places you can get Fernet, Chicago, Fernet cocktails, Over-sharing and functional alcoholism, I don't get the ginger fascination I really don't, I'd buy Steve Bartman a shot dude deserves it

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Official Rules of Fernet Etiquette, v. 1.0

It's funny. I never really started this blog with the idea of serving as some sort of Fernet authority. In fact, I explicitly disavowed any such notion in the FAQs. I started this blog because the name popped into my head one day after a terribly long night at Pop's and I thought "Huh huh. That'd be a good name for a blog or something."

And off we went.
Reposting because it's still my favorite

Then I got going a bit. And then I garnered a few readers. Then one day out of the clear blue sky, someone determined that this blog was about "Fernet Etiquette". Which: OK. I guess that makes sense. I may not be a bartender or a mixologist or someone with any specialized knowledge on the subject whatsoever... but I am a San Franciscan who drinks Fernet. Seeing as how San Francisco drinks somewhere between 35-50% of the Fernet in the United States AND I'm the only person within San Francisco to start a blog about it, I think the issue is settled: I am an authority on Fernet etiquette. Res ipsa loquitur.

I should note that while I did not ask for this responsibility, I shall not shrink from it. Thus, Allow me to present Fernetiquette's Official Rules of Fernet Etiquette, v 1.0. (A work in progress.):
  1. If you've never tried Fernet, you must seek it out immediately. I mean it. Look, whether you like it or you think it could peel the paint off the walls, Fernet is distinctive enough that it absolutely has to be sampled. Nay, not sampled: savored. Contemplated. Experienced. You must try it or you are not a complete person. Yes, Fernet is that powerful. Get to it.
  2. Don't think about it. Don't smell it. Don't hesitate. Just drink it. Whether you decide to shoot it or sip it, just dive right in. I will warn you: You will hate it the first time it touches your lips. That said, as soon as that warm clean menthol feeling hits your gut, you'll start to understand what is the big deal about Fernet. But I assure you my friend, it will be just a start.
  3. Ginger backs are acceptable, but not necessarily encouraged. The Infamous SF Weekly Fernet Article declares Fernet with Ginger to be "the style of drinking Fernet-Branca that is most popular in San Francisco." Whatever. If that's what it takes for you to handle the stuff, fine. I can't say I didn't need something to clear my palate after the first time I tried Fernet. HOWEVA... after a few months of practice, feel free to remove the training wheels. Put on your big boy pants and graduate to beer. Or hell, vodka.
  4. If you meet someone who hasn't tried it, you are obligated to buy them a shot. This is non-negotiable. Iron-clad. 
  5. If you are in somewhere outside of San Francisco and you see Fernet behind the bar, you are mandated to order it under penalty of law. Also non-negotiable. As a corollary: if the bartender then asks you if you are from San Francisco, you are obligated to tip like a Rockefeller and buy them a shot of their own.
  6. San Franciscans may not drink Fernet and cola in public within the city limits. Why? Because it's just not how we do things here and everyone else will point and laugh. In fact, unless you work for Bourbon and Branch or you're going to stir it in directly with your Pabst, you should probably just leave Fernet cocktails to the auslanders. Now, if you're barricaded inside the relative privacy of your own $1850/month-250-square-foot junior bedroom suite in the Excelsior and you decide to indulge in the forbidden pleasure of a Fernet con Coca, so be it. Just be sure the blinds are securely closed. Dear God, no one else wants to see that shit.
  7. The artificial "You are not supposed to drink alcohol until X time of day" rules do not apply to Fernet. Fernet is not just a delicious spirit. No my friends. It's also a hangover cure. It's also a fantastic digestif. In short: it's a miracle drink. Therefore it is appropriate for consumption twenty-four hours a day. If anyone looks askance at you, refer them to me. Besides, it's always noon somewhere.

Any other suggestions to add to the Official Rules? Post them in the comments.

So it is written, and so it shall be.
Filed Under: THE RULES AS I DECLARE THEM TO BE, San Francisco in general, The Infamous SF Weekly Fernet Article, I come from a long line of functional alcoholics, Fernet and Cola, Pop's is for winners, meta

Monday, April 5, 2010

Life Intervenes

Sorry for the light posting of late, but I had a bit of a busy week. I gots myself a brand new job and can no longer claim to be "chronically under-employed". That's right, ma. I'm a big boy lawyer now!

As you can imagine the new job necessitated a lot of errand-running, tying-up-of-loose-ends, and getting-my-ducks-in-various-rows. Oh, and celebrating. Lots of celebrating.

Job starts today, so once I get a handle on things we should be back to normal. I don't anticipate that it will be too long before we get back to our regularly scheduled drinkie blog.

In the meantime, today is also that all important holiest of days: Opening Day. 

And so that picture is pretty well perfect for the day. Today so much begins anew; so much is full of promise.

Here's to cherishing those beginnings fulfilling that promise. Cheers!

Adorableness via CALIBER
Filed Under: The High Holy Church of Baseball, Over-sharing and functional alcoholism, Posts about the Giants, That kid is so cute I almost want to reproduce