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Averna is a popular Italian amaro that’s worth adding to your collection! Here’s more about it and how to use it in cocktails.

Averna, Averna cocktails

Intrigued by Averna, or wondering whether it’s worth adding to your collection? This Italian bittersweet liqueur is trending, and for good reason: it’s absolutely delicious. The sweet caramel notes and hints of anise and honey make it a great candidate for sipping on the rocks: and there are lots of great ways to mix it into cocktails. What is it, and how does it fit into the family of Italian amari? Here’s a quick look at this popular liqueur.

What is Averna?

Averna is a popular Italian amaro or bitter liqueur (amaro means “little bitter” in Italian). It’s thick and dark brown in color, made by infusing roots, herbs, citrus and other botanicals. It was originally made in the 1800’s by Benedictine monks in Italy. In 1868, the secret recipe was gifted to a man named Salvatore Averna, who started manufacturing it in Sicily. It became popular all over Italy, and today is known all over the world.

Gruppo Campari, the company that sells Campari and Aperol (among other liquors), bought Averna in 2014. It is still manufactured in Sicily.

What does Averna taste like?

Amaro Averna is tastes spicy and herbal, with caramel, anise, citrus, and honey notes. On the spectrum of amari from very bitter to very sweet, Averna is somewhere in the middle. It’s an easy to drink amaro, often consumed straight, on the rocks, or in cocktails. It’s similar to dark brown amari like Meletti and Cynar, but has a unique flavor from the proprietary secret recipe.

How much alcohol is in Averna? It is 29% ABV (alcohol by volume), so it has a mid-range alcohol content. Compared to other amari, Averna is on the middle to high end. For example, Aperol is the lowest alcohol at 11% ABV, Cynar is 16.5% ABV, Campari is 24% ABV, and Fernet-Branca is the highest at 40 to 45% ABV (the same level as whiskey, rum, vodka and gin).

Are there any Averna substitutes? Substitute another dark, herbal and sweet amaro. Some good options include MelettiNonino (see the Paper Plane) or Amaro Tosolini (see the Brooklyn), or Cynar (see these Cynar cocktails).

Why we like it

Averna is full of intriguing bittersweet caramel flavor, and we’re always up for another amari to add to our collection! We love it in a Black Manhattan, or mixed with soda water. Even better, try the Averna cocktails below.

How much does it cost?

Compared to other liquors, Averna is mid-priced. A 750 ml bottle costs about $30.

Averna is great sipped on straight or on the rocks, or you can mix it up into drinks. Don’t want to follow a recipe? Mix it with soda water to create a make-shift spritzer. Or, check out these favorite Averna cocktails:

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Amaro spritz

Averna Spritz (& More Cocktails!)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


The classic spritz ratio of 3-2-1 makes a bubbly Averna spritz! It’s a great way to enjoy the bittersweet caramel notes of this Italian amaro. 


  • 2 ounces* Amaro Averna, chilled
  • 3 ounces Prosecco or other sparkling wine, chilled
  • 1 ounce soda water
  • Ice (try clear ice!)
  • For the garnish: lemon wedge, a straw if you like


  1. Add the amaro to a glass filled with ice and stir. Top with the sparkling wine and soda water.
  2. Squeeze in the lemon wedge and stir gently, then serve. Serve with a straw to minimize dilution!


*To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: Cocktails
  • Diet: Vegan

Keywords: Averna, Averna cocktials

More cocktail guides

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About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes for memorable kitchen moments! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Chefs,

    I am looking for a recipe for what is called Sicilian Coke – Amaro plus unsweetened lemonade plus lemon zest and a sprig of rosemary. It was mentioned in an online article about apertivos in various regions of Italy. Made is sound very famous but can’t find one reference on the web.



    1. That sounds great but I haven’t tried on! I would do 2 oz Amaro, 2 ounce lemon juice and 4 oz soda water. You may need to add some sweetener based on your amaro.