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Local Libations: L’Erbe Pazzo

2011 April 22

By Kat Durant

Pazzo-ingedientsAndrew’s use of apertif in last week’s Frida sent me searching my bar cabinet for my own bottle of Averna, that had been gifted to me by a friend.  A popular Italian after dinner drink, Averna is a digestif made from herbs, roots and citrus rinds macerated in alcohol and then combined with natural caramel.  I am not usually a fan of herbal digestifs, so in order to learn more about how to use them I started with some direction from the Averna website. The Mojitoitalioano: a combination of Averna,  simple syrup, lemon, ginger ale and mint, caught my eye. This offered the perfect opportunity to patronize my overgrown mint garden and to grab an over-sized lemon from my neighbor’s tree.

CLICK HERE for the full post and recipe.

I made the drink per instructions but was dissatisfied, so I began my journey of adaptation. First of all, it was way too sweet and syrup-y, so I nixed the simple syrup. Second, it was lacking a desired kick. I went with the herbal theme and added the earthy spiciness of gin to the mix. This definitely brought in a kick while contributing to the herbal-y profile.

With a few unusual twists I challenged my taste buds to find a compatible medium. I had decided to keep the ginger ale and chose one of my favorite brands: Thomas Kemper. This small Northwestern soda company located in Portland, Oregon mixes local honey with Jamaican ginger for an authentic ginger ale experience.  What came of this creation was a mélange of herbal goodness that had me rethinking my original theories on digestifs. The fusion of gin, ginger ale and mint brought out the best in the Averna. The counterintuitive choice of less sweet and more herb resulted in a surprising outcome that made me crazy for Averna . So I introduce to you L’Erbe Pazzo or The Crazy Herb!

L’Erbe Pazzo

Prep time: 5 minutes

Yield: 1 serving

Tools: knife, bar spoon, high ball glass, juicer, shot glass


  • 1 oz. Averna
  • 1 oz. gin
  • ginger ale, to top
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 10 mint leaves (torn)
  • handful of ice

Cooking Directions

  1. In a high ball glass add torn mint leaves and lemon juice, muddle.
  2. Add Averna and gin.
  3. Add ice and top with ginger ale.
  4. Garnish with mint or a lemon slice.