kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits, travel & lifestyle writer / wine educator


Averna Midnight Smash

The Midnight Averna Smash cocktail is perfect for summer. I'm a huge fan of bitter Italian digestivis--Campari, Aperol, Fernet Branca, you name it. if it's got a bitter finish I'm all. over. it.

If you share my enthusiasm for these liqueurs, or even if you don't but want to challenge your palate and branch out with a cocktail that's not overwhelmingly bitter, try the Midnight Smash, with Sicily's oldest licensed spirit, Averna Amaro.

Averna, Italy's favorite Amaro, was once considered an after-dinner digestivo (to help settle stomachs after those filling Italian meals...) and is popping up on back bars and in cocktail menus across the country. Distilled from a delicate blend of flowers, herbs, dried fruits, spices and licorice, this secret Benedictine recipe renders a complex spirit with a smooth yet firm taste to the palate and a full-bodied, bitter sweet finish. It's tamed by the muddle blackberries and fresh Meyer lemon juice, and ginger beer adds a pleasant effervescent kick.

Midnight Smash

6 blackberries Juice of 1 Meyer lemon, hand-squeezed 1 oz. Averna 1 oz. orange-flavored vodka 2 oz. ginger beer

Muddle blackberries in a shaker, add the juice of 1 meyer lemon, Averna, and orange-flavored vodka and shake vigorously over ice. Strain over ice in a highball glass and add ginger beer. Garnish with an orange wheel.