As Eric Felten writes in the WSJ, small amounts of Fernet Branca in cocktails are the way to go for a lot of folks, substituting it for aromatic bitters like Angostura.
He writes of the Fanciulli Cocktail, basically a 2:1 Bourbon Manhattan swapping 1/4 ounce Fernet Branca for the 2 dashes of bitters, up or on the rocks. (I’d garnish that sucker with a big oily twist of orange, me.)
If you need it spelled out:
2 ounces Bourbon.
1 ounce sweet vermouth.
1/4 ounce Fernet Branca.
Stir and strain, up or on the rocks.
We’ve done this with rye, but didn’t know the Bourbon version had a name. I’ll give it a shot this way, but I’ve become an insane amaro lover. We drink Fernet on its own (and as the base spirit in Old Fashioneds), which apparently impresses Felten: “Though some of the herbs, roots and barks that go into it are common enough in bitter drafts — cinchona, orris, gentian — the flavors are so powerfully concentrated that the stuff is almost impossible to choke down straight, which is why it has been used as a morning-after shock to the system.”
Sheesh, I’ve never had any in the morning. I’m more of a Brandy Milk Punch kinda guy in the morning.
UPDATE, 7:34pm: Wes made Fanciulli Cocktails tonight using George T. Stagg Bourbon (at 144.8 proof, woof!), Punt E Mes and, of course, Fernet. It’s a hell of a thing.