The Beatnik Cocktail

The Beatnik Cocktail With Averna

S&C Design Studios

  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 cocktail (1 serving)

The popular Italian bitter known as Averna is an excellent cocktail mixer. It shines in sophisticated drinks and the beatnik is one of the best recipes you'll find to enjoy it in.

This complex cocktail was created by mixologist Duggan McDonnell for Averna. It requires just three ingredients, though each brings a fascinating an array of flavors to the mix. The tawny port wine offers a slight sweetness, the bourbon brings in a warming oak, and Averna gives it an herbal and bittersweet undertone.

Since both Averna and port are digestifs, the beatnik is an ideal after-dinner drink. You'll find it to be an amazing follow-up to a steak dinner and a fabulous way to end any meal with family and friends.


  • 1/2 ounce tawny port
  • 1 1/2 ounces Averna
  • 1 ounce bourbon whiskey
  • Garnish: flamed orange peel

Steps to Make It

  1. Rinse a cocktail glass with the port by pouring it into the glass and swirling it around to coat the inside.

  2. Pour the remaining port into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Add the bourbon and Averna.

  3. Garnish with a flamed orange peel. To do so, hold the peel between your thumb and forefinger, squeeze gently while expressing the peel's oils over a lit match so little sparks fall into your glass. Drop the peel into the drink.

  4. Serve and enjoy!


  • To create the best beatnik, choose a premium bourbon like Basil Hayden's, Booker's, or Maker's Mark. It deserves the best whiskey you have in stock, so be sure to pour the good stuff in this cocktail!
  • Complement the bourbon with a port of equal quality. The majority of ports are relatively inexpensive, so even a high-end port will not break the bank. If you prefer, a ruby port is a good substitute.
  • Since Averna is a proprietary recipe, it's difficult to find a viable substitute for it. However, you can use this recipe to explore other brands of amaro—Italian bitters—such as Amaro Ciociaro or Amaro Montenegro.
  • You'll notice that the recipe is very specific about how much stirring is required. While you don't have to be so precise, it's a good recommendation to follow. The 30 rounds of stirring—one circle around the glass is one round—mixes the ingredients perfectly and gives it the perfect amount of dilution from the ice. You can use this same approach for nearly any alcohol-only cocktail, including the martini or Manhattan.
  • Generally, you do not have to be as cautious with the burnt orange peel as you would with other flamed cocktails. It's not like you're starting a high-proof rum on fire or rolling a flaming drink like you would with the blue blazer. This is a relatively safe cocktail because the citrus oils will not actually catch on fire, but create small sparks instead. That said, do be careful near highly concentrated alcohol, paper, or anything that is flammable. Better safe than sorry!