She eased off the pressure she was applying on my earlobe with her teeth. “Ow”, I exclaimed half in pain and half out of mock alarm. This was the third time she’d come over to visit in the past two days and as much as I’ve been enjoying this new status of irresistibility, I’m beginning to wonder whether or not it was something more than my charming behavior (which I knew didn’t exist.)

    “I want you to do me a favor.”  Pow! There it was large as life.. the reason I’d been waiting for… the validation that put my life back on track.. that which made all this attention make sense.. “Could you get me into the museum on Saturday? I’ve heard that the Pharaoh exhibit is coming to town and I’ve also heard that it’s standing room only when it visits”  I was stunned. Was that it? If so crap I’d’ve given a first class tour with no audience for the personal attention she was paying me.

    “Oh you know what, never mind I can’t make it Saturday.” And there it was in eight point five seconds the universe made itself crystal clear and then became the bog of eternal unknowing.. I can’t even pee that quick.

    I looked her in the eyes thinking I would bust out with some moment of clarity and stop time because it was bothering me, and as soon as I blinked she was not only done talking, but had left altogether.

    Yes.. I was standing by myself.. alone staring off into a cloudless rainy sky with nothing but my armani exchange boxer briefs, a twenty dollar bill and the effervescent feeling in my belly of undigested two day old raw squid from the festival buffet at the Magic Castle…

    I closed my eyes.

    Go away… go… a… way… but no. No matter how many times I opened and closed my eyes I was stuck with this imaginary world. A world that I had constructed with heaven forbid my own mind… maybe if I got out of the house..


    There were spirits everywhere. I’d always assumed that spirits would be about the same size, but this wasn’t the case. There were tiny little fairy sized spirits and rather large (somewhat intimidating) ones. The potency varied as well from intense to smooth and supple. I wasn’t afraid, slightly overwhelmed maybe, but I knew I could take on this challenge I had put before me. The challenge of tasting as many spirits as possible at the San Francisco Craft Spirits Carnival.


    I went earlier this month, and talked about it already in my last post. I wanted to continue on with some of the other craft spirits today. So many good ones to choose from.


    One of these spirits I imbibed was Fernet Branca.

    Fernet Branca is an enigma.


    Fernet Branca’s popularity in San Francisco is shocking to the Italians who make it,


    and to me it tastes like an herbal toothpaste. It is however one of the two most popular shots in San Francisco. They (the city as a whole) sell more Fernet than all of Italy put together. The only other shot more popular is Jameson. If you ask someone for an ‘indecisive bartender’ they will pour you half of each into the same shot glass.


    It’s a digestif that helps settle the stomach after considerable food intake. People love it, and even though I find myself slightly put off by it there are a bazillion people who like it!


    How does it taste you might ask? Well imagine a cockfight in the woods surrounded by pine cones, bark, mint chocolate, a midget talking backwards about that gum you like, a splash of Jagermeister, a Johnny Cash song playing in the background and a hot redhead slapping you across the face.

    Kind of like that.. no exactly like that

    The tour guide site Rome file describes it as

    Fernet Branca is a dark, oily alcoholic drink similar to an amaro, but less sweet. The flavour might best be described as being a cross between medicine, crushed plants, and bitter mud. Like most strong drinks in Italy, Fernet is usually drunk at the end of the meal as a degestive aid. It’s also a popular hangover cure when added to an espresso: you’ll often hear people ordering a caffè corretto con Fernet in coffee bars on the way to work.

    The exact recipe of Fernet Branca is a secret but the producers, Fratelli Branca Distillerie, do say that it contains 27 different herbs and spices taken from four continents. Among the known ingredients are aloe, gentian root, rhubarb, gum myrrh, red cinchona bark, galanga and zedoary. The rumoured ingredients include saffron.


    All I can say is try it for yourself.


    I have so much more to discuss like Bourbon, Rum, espresso liquor and craft barrel aged cocktails, but I thought this was a good stopping spot. Besides the fact that I caught a few pictures of the dancer of the pole at the carnival.


    I left happy and still am.