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How to Make the Perfect Holiday Dessert Cocktail with Fernet and Irish Cream

Illustration for article titled Fernet and Irish Cream Need to Be Together

Photo: Claire Lower

3-Ingredient Happy Hour3-Ingredient Happy HourThe weekly drink column featuring super simple yet delicious libations.

Beyond ethanol, Irish Cream and Fernet do not have a ton in common. One is candy-sweet, creamy, and appealing to palates of all ages; the other is bitter and herbaceous, with a taste most would describe as “acquired.” But their seemingly conflicting natures is what makes them such great partners. When combined, the more extreme aspects of each are tempered by those of their counterpart, resulting in an extremely delicious, perfectly balanced, absurdly flavorful dessert beverage.

I am—to be completely honest—drinking one right now, and it is going down far too easily. (I will be a little tipsy by the time I finish writing this blog but, frankly, I deserve it.) The Fernet supplies just enough botanical character to reel in the chocolatey liqueur’s more cloying qualities, making their combined result almost chuggable. It’s probably good holiday parties are off the table this year, because I would for sure serve this if I had the chance, and it would get many people very wasted. (It sneaks up on you in the best way.)

Honestly, this is one of the best dessert beverages I’ve ever had. It’s really only two ingredients—I just added the nutmeg garnish to bump the ingredient count up to three, but you don’t need it. All you need is Irish Cream and Fernet. For the Irish Cream, you can use store-bought or you can make your own. I made my own, and it fucking rules. I used Mexican Fernet, because it’s what I had, but the more minty Branca would absolutely own in this capacity. To make this near perfect holiday beverage, you will need:

  • 1 1/2 ounces Irish Cream, either Bailey’s or homemade
  • 1 1/2 ounces Fernet, either Branca or Vallet
  • Fresh nutmeg if you absolutely need a garnish

Pour Irish Cream and Fernet into a cocktail shake with ice and shake violently to chill and dilute. Strain into a coupe glass and grate some nutmeg on there if you desire. Drink and be happy.

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