Boozy Chocolate Milkshake featuring Fernet-Branca!

National Chocolate Milkshake Day is September 12th... Not that you needed an excuse to enjoy a chocolate milkshake!

This is a sponsored post (full details provided at the end).  

Boozy chocolate milkshake featuring Fernet Branca! | recipe at

The milkshake as we know it today is actually a pretty recent invention. If you'd ordered a milkshake in the 1880s, for example, you would've ended up with a whiskey and egg cocktail, not too dissimilar to eggnog. Drinks made with syrups and ice creams gained traction in the early 1900s, and mixed shakes (or "frosteds") were made possible in the 1930s by fancy freezers and electric mixers. Soda fountains of the 1940s and 50s further popularized the drinks, and the shakes we drink today haven't changed much since then. 

I've had lots of great milkshakes in my day, but some of my favorites were ones we made at home growing up. Sometimes my mom would get fancy and break out the blender, but we couldn't always be bothered to dirty another dish. Instead, milkshakes in our house often consisted of dropping a couple scoops of ice cream into a tall glass and pouring milk over top. We'd plunge spoons deep into the glass and slowly stir until the ingredients combined, licking the drips from the sides of the glass as we worked. 

Boozy chocolate milkshake featuring Fernet Branca! | recipe at

The vanilla or chocolate shakes we made growing up were elegant in their simplicity, but I was feeling inclined to try something a bit more sophisticated and complex to celebrate National Chocolate Milkshake Day. 


Fernet-Branca (pronounced fer-NET BRAHN-kuh) is a complex herbal liqueur created in Milan, Italy in 1845 by Bernadino Branca. Bernardino-- a self-taught alchemist-- designed the bitter amaro to settle the stomach. The world's leading digestif, it is a lightly sweet aged amaro (bitter liqueur), deep amber in color. The pungent aroma of bitter orange, peppermint oil, saffron and spice reminds me of walking through eucalyptus groves where I grew up in California, at once earthy and vibrant. 

Fernet-Branca, by  Jesús Dehesa  on Flickr. 

Fernet-Branca, by Jesús Dehesa on Flickr. 

On the palate Fernet-Branca has deep flavors of butterscotch and citrus, with hints of cocoa. The bold finish leaves hints of espresso and campfire smokiness on the tongue, as well as a light, peppermint mouthfeel. These rich flavors and scents are a perfect match for the deep, dark chocolate flavors I love in a milkshake. 

Recipe: Boozy Chocolate Milkshake featuring Fernet-Branca

... With adaptations for just about anyone! 

By  Sara Galactica

I wanted to enhance the deep caramel and herbal flavors of Fernet-Branca with the addition of coffee liqueur. Experienced bakers and chocolate connoisseurs know that coffee is a natural partner for chocolate, providing a darker, more complex chocolatey flavor.

It's unlikely that you'll taste much coffee or booze in this shake, but you will experience a surprising depth of flavor due to the brilliant complexity of Fernet-Branca. 

Boozy chocolate milkshake featuring Fernet Branca! | recipe at


What you'll need:

Optional toppings: Whipped cream, sprinkles, cherry, chopped nuts, chocolate sauce, whatever!

Special equipment: Blender, immersion blender, or a good, old fashioned tall glass & a spoon. 

*Not sure if you're ready to commit to a full bottle of Fernet-Branca? The miniature bottles I found at my local BevMo would be the perfect way to test drive this complex spirit. Fair warning: You might end up hooked!

What to do:

Combine all ingredients in your blender, immersion blender cup, or tall glass.

Blend/stir carefully until well combined and smooth. 

Top with your favorite toppings, or just dig right in with a spoon or straw! 

Vegan/dairy-free adaptation: Use your favorite vegan or dairy-free ice cream and milks. My homegirl, Kelsey, over at Your Token Vegan Friend recommends Coconut Bliss Dark Chocolate or So Delicious Chocolate ice creams. 

For a milkier, thinner shake: Add 1-3 tablespoons of milk or half-and-half

For an extra chocolatey shake: Add 1 tablespoon of rich chocolate syrup such as the Hot Cakes Dark Chocolate Sauce pictured above (which also happens to be vegan). 


Boozy chocolate milkshake featuring Fernet Branca! Perfect for National Chocolate Milkshake Day. | recipe at

Happy National Chocolate Milkshake Day, everyone! 

I hope you take a moment to celebrate for celebration's sake on September 12th. 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Fernet Branca. I received a bottle of Fernet Branca and a gift card for ingredients in exchange for writing this post. I did not receive any additional compensation. I don't not make money from the sale of any products linked on this post.