Drink of the Week: Fernet

The first time I met Adam Harness, he was laughing. I’d soon come to know that smile doesn’t leave his face for long. He’s a kind soul who elevates everyone around him, whether he’s pouring cocktails, as he was when I met him, or teaching, his other job. He channels his passion into making the world a better place through hospitality and guiding young minds.

On the occasion of our acquaintance, he was pouring hot sauce–augmented Dark n Stormy samples for attendees at a book release. They were zesty, spicy, and I was smitten with his cocktail prowess immediately. I’ve been thrilled to follow his career as he has gone from running the bar at Café Maude to Hola Arepa.

Long story short (too late) this is a good man. He was recently involved in a horrific car accident that left him unable to work. When I had the chance to speak with him (as he poured me a sazerac, naturally), he noted he was bartending on one leg. All night long at the Minnesota Monthly Fine Spirits Classic, he entertained guests, served beautiful libations, and sported that smile all the while, masking what has to be some considerable pain.

His friends in the industry have banded together for a delicious upcoming event to benefit the Adam Harness Femur Project. The Fernet Summer Side Show will be held at Solar Arts by Chowgirls Catering and put on in conjunction with Fulton Beer, the Minneapolis Bartenders Guild, Bittercube, Glam Doll Donuts, Parlour, and Infinium Spirits on August 23 at 8 p.m. There will be a bartending competition, which means general admission attendees get nine half-size cocktails for the low-low price of $15. VIP attendees will be treated to a special spirit tasting that starts an hour before the big event for $40.

Throughout it all, there’s the bartender’s secret handshake, the hangover curative and powerfully flavored digestive: fernet. The spirit tastes like nothing else: a thread of spearmint, punch of bitter, tickle of pine, and dark basement bass of roots. Whether you’re nursing an aching head, upset stomach, or hurting heart over a friend’s tough luck, a stiff shot of fernet will cure the ills. It’s what I’ll be kicking back as I buy my tickets to help out Harness.