Fall in the Midwest - fire on the trees - is my favorite time of year. The weather is perfect, the trees look almost as beautiful as the-one-you-love's smile, Calvin Johnson (aka Megatron, aka Don Mega) is busy embarrassing foes - his outing against the Panthers aside - and meaty, flavorful cocktails are back. No more of those watered-down vodka/gin drinks.

Fall in the Midwest — fire on the trees — is my favorite time of year. The weather is perfect, the trees look almost as beautiful as the-one-you-love’s smile, Calvin Johnson (aka Megatron, aka Don Mega) is busy embarrassing foes — his outing against the Panthers aside — and meaty, flavorful cocktails are back. No more of those watered-down vodka/gin drinks.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a major fan of a gimlet or a Harvey Wallbanger — bring Galliano back, retro C-bus drinkers! — but a solid summer cocktail is hard to find. And, full disclosure, even if I can find a great, refreshing cocktail for the hot days, I’ll still often opt for a cold High Life and Jameson.

So given my proclivities, I get excited when I can mingle with an herbal, just-the-right-amount-sweet-liqueur that backs a big bitter bite. Thanks, Amaro Averna.

Amaro Averna is classified as a digestif, but I like to put it in the category of awesome(tif). It hits, on its own, like a bold, strong drink “that’ll smash your Corolla,” in the words of Kanye.

If you want to do Averna just right — and I mean blow your hipster socks off — pair it with an autumn liquor. Bourbon, small batch (or rye if you want extra bitter).

The cocktail is The Beatnik, but it might be hard to find — I haven’t seen one yet, but I have faith in Columbus’ mixologists. Thankfully, you don’t have to travel far from your home (bar) to execute.

A beatnik is simply port, bourbon, Averna and a (burnt) orange peel. If you’re feeling lazy — or in lack of port, which even my grandpa says, “I think I’ve got a bottle of that somewhere” — you can blend Averna, rye and some Angostura bitters for a poor man’s version. Not bad, but it doesn’t compare to the original.

But keep an eye out for Averna-boosted cocktails, because it’s also a versatile spirit that can make some damn fine libations. Or, if you’re just looking to try it alone, I give that a whole-hearted recommendation as well.