Friday, December 14, 2007

Averna -- the new Cynar???

Well, after filling our choiry bellies with Italian food for our big holiday bash, I became curious about just what that wacky Averna stuff really was. Luckily, we live in a world with Wikipedia.

First, here are some facts about the general class of liqueurs, known as Amaro, of which Averna is one type:

Amaro (meaning "bitter" in Italian) is a variety of Italian herbal liqueur, commonly drunk as an after-dinner digestif. It is usually bitter and sweet, sometimes syrupy, usually with an alcohol content between 16% and 35%. Amari are typically produced by macerating herbs, roots, flowers, bark, and/or citrus peels in alcohol, either neutral spirits or wine, mixing the filtrate with sugar syrup, and allowing the mixture to age in casks or in bottle.

Dozens of varieties are commercially produced, the most commonly available of which are Averna, Ramazzotti, Amaro Lucano, and Amaro Montenegro. Commercially produced Amari may contain "natural flavourings" and caramel coloring. A typical Amaro is flavoured with several (sometimes several dozen) herbs and roots. Some producers list the ingredients in some detail on the bottle label. Amari are typically flavored with some of the following: gentian, angelica, and cinchona (China), as well as lemon balm (melissa), Lemon verbena (cedrina), juniper, anise, fennel, zedoary, ginger, mint, thyme, sage, bay laurel, citrus peels, licorice, cinnamon, menthol, cardamom, saffron, rue (ruta), wormwood (assenzio), elder (sambuco), and centaurea minor.

So, now that we know that, here's some info about Amaro Averna:
Salvatore Averna was born into a well-off family of textile merchants in 1802. He grew up in the industrious city of Caltanissetta and became one of the most active members of the community; he was Judge Peace and benefactor of the Convent of St.Spirito’s Abbey. According to a very ancient tradition which originated in the fortified Benedictine abbeys, and afterwards spread all over Europe by Cistercian and Cluniac convents, the friars produced a herbal elixir following a secret recipe. Although the elixir tasted “bitter”, it was good and, according to the popular belief, it possessed some tonic and therapeutic quality. In 1854, as a token of gratitude, the friars decided to hand the recipe for the infusion over to Salvatore, and in 1868 he started the production for the Averna household guests.

So, there you have it gents. We're not gonna find out exactly what's in it cuz it's a secret! But will this young upstart replace Cynar as the official drink of the ILMC??

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Bruno Sammartino vs Waldo Von Erich

From Abruzzi, Italy, Bruno fights a Nazi in front of 26,000 screaming nuts in MSG. All of them see Waldo Von Ehrich's "foreign object," a can opener, but the ref doesn't :) This is theatre. This is life. Enjoy my friends.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

over the river, through the woods

Today, Siobhan and Jim and myself are off to Paul's house in upstate New York for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Paul has instructed us that this is how we must dress for the occasion, as pictured above! Personally, I hope I get to wear the fancy gold cape!
I am responsible for making the broccoli. Siobhan and I have also made brown bread, which is traditionally Irish brown bread. We hope everyone will like it.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


Since most of our loyal readers out there in Blog-O-Land will likely never get a chance to see the four of us sing, I thought I'd post this video of German Super-Star Singer, Heino, who we've patterned ourselves after. But, you know, in an Italo-Lithuanian way.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Marcello rocks

Jim, Stephen and I went to the Film Forum last night to watch Divorce Italian Style. It was almost a Men's Choir evening. But not quite. Paulie could not join us due to illness, but Stephen's amore Siobhan was present for the movie. It almost felt like the time Medusa took The Invisible Woman's place in the Fantastic Four! But Paulie, don't fret, we did not break the sactity of the Choir. After the movie, Jim and Sal went for dinner at Bar Pitti. No Cynar was served, and no women joined us. Stephen went home with Siobahn, and she cooked him his dinner as a proper wife should. We did have great food. Jim started with a Tuscan bean salad, while I opted for the Caprese salad. Nice. And Jim had some pasta with a ground pork ragu, while I went for fettuccelli with truffles. It was a festival of truffles! Very good.
As far as the movie, Marcelo Mastroianni slayed us. Amazing subtelty throughout, he was surrounded by an equally amazing cast. Tremendous! Based on this movie alone, I feel every member of the Men's Choir should grow mustaches. Until next time, Bafangul!
E Baci a tutti,

Wednesday, November 7, 2007


We had roasted chicken and potatos at one of our favorite eating establishments, the Bon Vivant Diner, on Broadway between 12th and 13th. Arturo served us, although Margaret seated us. Cookie (in the back) cooked. No singing was involved. We talked about the new play Paul's working on, and life. I drank seltzer (as I often do), and Paul had coffee. The chicken and potatos were delicious.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The official drink of the Italo-Lithuanian Mens choir

what is this thing, blog?

Hello Brothers

I toast to Stephen for his birth of the blog. I hope to share my thoughts about everything a man could want in this USA. Valio Valio!




No rehearsal today.
Eating and drinking likely.

Monday, November 5, 2007

We eat and drink. Also sing.

Members are as follows:
Jim Fina, (Italian-American);
Sal DeStefano, (Italian-American);
Stephen DeStefano, (no relation to Sal, Italian-American);
Paul Rajeckas, (Lithuanian-American).

Thank you.