header home Backbar Bar Station Recipe Database Month's Feature "Drink-o-pedia" Mixology Contact


Averna Amaro Siciliano

By Robert Plotkin

One sign that we are evolving as a society is America's growing appreciation of things that taste bitter. A direct beneficiary of this trend is Averna Amaro Siciliano, an herbal liqueur famous worldwide for its delectably bitter flavor and prowess as a digestive and restorative. If you haven’t yet sampled this invigorating, centuries-old aperitif, you’re in for a treat.

Produced since 1868 by Fratelli Averna of Caltanissetta, Sicily, Averna Amaro is made according to a closely guarded recipe originated by the friars at nearby Convent of St. Spirito Abbey. The production process is an exacting one that involves macerating grape spirits with an all-natural array of flowers, roots, herbs, spices and dried citrus rinds. The liqueur is bottled at 32% alcohol by volume (64-proof).

Averna Amaro is a masterpiece. It has an opaque, dark brown appearance, a viscous body and captivating herbaceous bouquet comprised of fresh flora, anise and bitter orange notes. The surgically balanced palate presents a warm, bittersweet medley of herbal, spicy and earthy flavors, all of which persist throughout the long, satisfying finish.

While most often sipped neat or with a chill, Amaro is excellent served over ice, mixed with tonic water or used as an ingredient in cocktails to add a bitter component.

The Averna portfolio includes a pair of outstanding grappas. The Grappe di Vitigni di Sicilia is distilled from a blend of two white grape varietals—Grillo and Inzolia—while the Nero D'avola and Syrah is made from red grape varietals. All-natural Averna Limoni di Sicilia Liqueur, 54-proof, is made from fresh Sicilian lemons. The distillery also produces star anise-based Averna Sambuca (84-proof).


Averna Amaro Recipes

Extended Roman Holiday
Cocktail glass, chilled
Pour into an iced mixing glass
1 oz. Remy Martin V.S.O.P Cognac
1 oz. St Germain Elderflower Liqueur
1/2 oz. Averna Amaro
3/4 oz. simple syrup
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
Shake and strain
Orange slice garnish
La Tazza D'Eva
Cocktail glass, chilled
Add to an empty mixing glass
6–8 mint leaves
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
1/4 cup green apple, cored and diced
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
Muddle contents and add ice
1 1/2 oz. Averna Amaro
1 oz. G'Vine Gin
Shake and double strain
Top with 1 oz. Fever-Tree Tonic Water
Lime wedge garnish
Sicilian Triangle
Cocktail glass, chilled
Pour into an iced mixing glass
2 oz. Averna Amaro
1 oz. White Rum
1/2 oz. fresh orange juice
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. fresh pomegranate juice
Splash of fresh pineapple juice
Shake and strain
Pineapple wedge garnish