Del Campo’s Fernet con Cola is Argentina in a bottle

Fernet con Cola The $12 Fernet con Cola at Del Campo is a minty, breezy refresher on warm days. (Fritz Hahn/The Post)

I don't need an excuse to drink my way through the cocktails at Del Campo: The South American menu by bartender J.P. Caceres is easily one of the best in D.C. at the moment, but on a warm, sunny day, I can't stop thinking about his Fernet con Cola. The combination of minty, herbal Fernet Branca and Coca-Cola is a staple in Argentina. Here in America, you're hard-pressed to find Fernet outside trendy cocktail bars.

Caceres soaks Madagascar vanilla beans in a bottle of Fernet for three or four days, which lends a creamy smoothness to the flavor. He adds Coke syrup, distilled water and a little bit of Madagascar vanilla bean syrup before carbonating and bottling the cocktail, which sells for $12.

It's served over a giant rock of ice, and because the bottles are 6.3 ounces, there's a little left over when the glass is full; that moment when you get to pour a wee bit more into your glass is always a smile-inducer. "I wanted to do something special" with the Buenos Aires specialty, Caceres said. He has certainly succeeded.

As a bonus, here's a funky song about the pleasures of drinking Fernet and Coca-Cola, courtesy of the Argentine rock band Vilma Palma e Vampiros:

Fritz Hahn has covered bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram.
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