One of the most famous Italian amari, Amaro Averna is quite popular, for good reason. Its dark color, caramel sweet flavor and bitter finish have been alluring its admirers since 1868.
Amaro Averna is one of the most accessible amari, due to its sweeter flavor and caramel laced flavor. For those who haven’t tried other amari or who are new to bitter flavors, Averna is a great place to start.
Herbal bittersweet scent. Smooth on the tongue with herbal and citrus, followed by dominant caramel flavors, a hint of coffee and a sweet and lightly bitter finish.
58 proof (29% ABV)
A Few Averna Cocktails:
- The Classics:
- Likely due to lack of world wide distribution during the time many classic cocktails were created, there are no specific classics I can find that use Averna.
- New Originals:
- The Borrowed:
Amaro Averna was created in 1868 by Salvatore Averna in Caltanissetta, Sicily, although the recipe is said to have existed for much longer. Salvatore came from a family of textile merchants who had done quite well for themselves. Like his family, Averna grew up to be successful. He was Judge Peace in addition to finding time to be active in his local community. He even gave to the Convent of St. Spirito’s Abbey.
You may be wondering how a man with this lifestyle got around to developing a new amaro. Luckily, he had a little help from the friars at St. Spirito’s Abbey. In 1859, to thank Averna for his generousity, they presented him with the recipe for an infusion that was popular among many of the abbeys at the time. This recipe is said to have been first created at the Benedictine abbeys in Normandy, but had made its way to many other abbeys and even into Italy. This recipe made a bitter spirit that was said to have health benefits. Just shy of ten years later, in 1868, Averna began producing the spirit for the family and their guests.
The House of Savoy began in the 11th century.. Members of this family ruled Italy for almost 100 years., until 1946, when Italy became a republic.
Salvatore’s son, Francesco, began bringing the bitter “Averna” infusion to various fairs throughout Italy as well as other contries. This led to a sudden popularity among fans and by 1895, Averna was well known throughout the country. Francesco even received a golden brooch with the insignia of the House of Savoy from the king of Italy, Umberto I (full name: Umberto Ranieri Carlo Emanuele Giovanni Maria Ferdinando Eugenio di Savoia…wow).
In 1912, Umberto’s successor, Emanuele III, enjoyed Averna so much that, Averna became the official supplier of the Royal Household. The company was even allowed to put the royal coat of arms on the label. Francesco remodeled the label to display the awards to help further the expansion of Averna.
After Francesco passed away at a young age, his wife took the reigns of the company and was eventually aided by their sons, Salvatore, Paulo, Emillio and Michelle. Throughout both world wars, Averna’s production was unhindered and continued to gain popularity, including exportation of their amaro to America and other countries.
The Averna group has been a publicly traded company since 1958, and is still led by the Averna family, now in it’s fourth generation. The company also makes Averna cream, a version of Amaro Averna blended with cream. In addition to other productions by the company, Averna also own many other products including Dalmore Scotch and Pitu Cachaca among other great spirits.
With its sweeter taste and caramel flavor, Amaro Averna has remained popular for over a century and is a great one to try, especially if you are new to amari.