Fratelli Branca Distillerie claim that the recipe has remained unchanged since its invention in 1845. According to the company, Fernet was created by the "self-taught apothecary" Bernardino Branca.
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 digestive aid.