Introducing Averna

Amaro Averna

Not everyone understands an amaro bitter on the first taste. The combination of herbs and citrus can come as quite a shock if you are expecting something sweet. Yet somehow once a taste is developed for a bitter amaro, there is nothing quite so satisfying after a meal.

In Italy, there are as many amaro bitters as there are different regions. While Fernet Branca is the bitter of the north, Averna is distinctly Sicilian with its bright and refreshing bitter characters. Lemons and oranges impart a warm citrus flavour.

Averna is also one of the most versatile bitters for mixing drinks. While the traditional way to drink Averna is in a shot glass with a wedge of lemon, or over ice with a slice of orange, the complex bitter and aromatic flavours also provide a vibrant flavour palate to use in cocktails.

The original Averna recipe was developed in Benedictine abbeys, where the friars produced a herbal tonic following a secret recipe.  The Averna story began in 1859, when the friars gave Salvatore Averna, a wealthy textile merchant in Sicily, the recipe as a token of gratitude. Salvatore produced the bitter at home for his guests, but it was not until his son Francesco presented the bitters at fairs around Europe that the modern story of Averna started.

Over the past four generations, the Averna family have turned what was a family pastime into one of Italy’s most renowned digestive liqueurs.

You don’t just have to drink it straight up after a meal. Here are two classic cocktails with a Sicilian twist created by our Spirits team, Paul McFadyen and Nick Rodgers.

Averna Negro

25ml Averna
25ml gin
25ml sweet vermouth

Build in the glass onto fresh ice and stir. Garnish with orange zest.

Averna Manhattan

In a short glass pour 2 parts bourbon with 1 part 50/50 sweet vermouth and Averna, a splash of cherry liqueur, add ice and stir. Add a lemon twist.

Juel Mahoney
18th November 2013

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