Fanciulli Cocktail Recipe

Jennifer Hess

The origins of the Fanciulli cocktail are somewhat dim, but the flavor certainly isn't. It's a Manhattan with a bitter menthol backbone. The drink first appears in the 1931 book, Old Waldorf Bar Days, by Albert Stevens Crockett, and Mr. Crockett states that the name is Italian slang for "the boys." Crockett traces the cocktail to no later than 1910, however, and as Eric Felten showed in his Wall Street Journal column a few years ago, the Fanciulli may have been named for a music composer of some renown.

The original recipe calls for bourbon; rye works too. But whichever you choose, pick a strong whiskey, something that will stand up to the fernet. I'd go with Bulleit or Wild Turkey 101, if you're choosing bourbon.

As for the vermouth, Felten suggests something with backbone: Vya or Punt E Mes, he recommends. He was writing before Carpano Antica was fairly widely available, so I'd add that suggestion to his. You'll certainly want something a little punchier than your standard sweet vermouths.

Recipe Facts

Active: 3 mins
Total: 3 mins
Serves: 1 serving

Rate & Comment


  • 1 1/2 ounces bourbon or rye

  • 3/4 ounce sweet vermouth

  • 1/4 ounce Fernet Branca


  1. Pour the whiskey, sweet vermouth, and Fernet Branca into a mixing glass filled with ice. Stir until outside of mixing glass is very cold to touch, about 15 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass and serve.

Special Equipment

Mixing glass, jigger, strainer, cocktail glass

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
165 Calories
1g Fat
24g Carbs
4g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1
Amount per serving
Calories 165
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 258mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 24g 9%
Dietary Fiber 2g 9%
Total Sugars 4g
Protein 4g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 33mg 3%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 91mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)