Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas (Hardcover)
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Featuring more than 100 recipes, Amaro is the first book to demystify the ever-expanding, bittersweet world, and is a must-have for any home cocktail enthusiast or industry professional.
The European tradition of making bittersweet liqueurs--called amari in Italian--has been around for centuries. But it is only recently that these herbaceous digestifs have moved from the dusty back bar to center stage in the United States, and become a key ingredient on cocktail lists in the country’s best bars and restaurants. Lucky for us, today there is a dizzying range of amaro available—from familiar favorites like Averna and Fernet-Branca, to the growing category of regional, American-made amaro.
Starting with a rip-roaring tour of bars, cafés, and distilleries in Italy, amaro’s spiritual home, Brad Thomas Parsons—author of the James Beard and IACP Award–winner Bitters—will open your eyes to the rich history and vibrant culture of amaro today. With more than 100 recipes for amaro-centric cocktails, DIY amaro, and even amaro-spiked desserts, you’ll be living (and drinking) la dolce vita.
About the Author
Brad Thomas Parsons is the author of Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs and Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, which was the winner of the James Beard and IACP Cookbook Awards, and a finalist for the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. Parsons received an MFA in writing from Columbia University, and his work has appeared in Bon Appétit, Lucky Peach, Food & Wine, Travel + Leisure, Punch, and more. He lives in Brooklyn, New York. Visit www.btparsons.com.
“Long before there were chef-driven cocktails, there were monk-driven digestivi, also known as amaro. They made us feel better, encouraged post-prandial discourse, and set us up for a better tomorrow. Thanks to Brad Thomas Parsons, we now have a book that properly celebrates the category, and teaches us just how sweet it is to drink what's bitter.”
– Danny Meyer, founder of the Union Square Hospitality Group
“I am a longtime lover of bitter Italian liqueurs. But this smart handbook has deepened my understanding of and heightened my appreciation for amaro and its kin. Read this and you will be thirsty.”
– Mario Batali
“Brad Thomas Parsons’s Bitters quickly became the definitive guide to a mysterious but essential cocktail ingredient. He’s done it again with Amaro, a gorgeous, comprehensive, and delectable exploration of the world’s bittersweet aperitifs and digestifs. Parsons’s passion for the history, culture, and personalities behind these herbaceous concoctions, coupled with Ed Anderson’s gorgeous photography, make Amaro a must-have.”
– Amy Stewart, author of The Drunken Botanist
“A few things happen as you age: you start really liking yogurt, you talk about seeing ‘other people,’ you’re willing to risk big to let out a memorable ‘Bababooey!’ scream at your son’s piano recital, and, fortunately, you begin to really enjoy bitters. Not only for their taste, but also because they’re a panacea for the middle-aged gut. Amaro is no longer strictly a clever way to deter teenage partygoers from raiding the house bar; it’s a staple ingredient, and it’s about time for such a thoroughly researched and deliciously presented book on the subject. Amaro is complete and thirst-inducing. Two thumbs up!”
– Frédéric Morin and David McMillan, authors of The Art of Living According to Joe Beef
“Fernet-Branca: what would we do without it? It is certainly my favorite of the amaros; some even say that it cures all known ailments and improves the humors. What a treat to read Amaro, a book devoted to these bittersweet aids to digestion, health, and happiness.”
– Fergus Henderson, author of The Complete Nose to Tail
"With cocktail recipes, amaro-spiked desserts, and even a guide to making your own amari, this book is a comprehensive guide to the liqueur. But more than just a guide, Amaro is a book you actually want to read. It’s written by Brad Thomas Parsons, the author of the James Beard and IACP award-winning book on bitters, and its best feature are the recipe headnotes. Ranging from personal anecdotes about cocktails to multiple paragraphs about a classic’s history, you get fun, interesting context with every recipe."
"One man’s love affair with bitter liqueurs…the book is ideally timed: Many Americans in the last few years have discovered the bracing pleasures of drinks like Campari, Aperol, Cynar and even the acerbic Fernet Branca.”
– New York Times
“...Parsons does a terrific job of showcasing [amari] in this collection of over 100 recipes."
– Publishers Weekly
“...Parsons succeeds at opening up exciting possibilities to try at home or seek out at bars."
– Library Journal
"Parsons more than delivers on sweet ways to enjoy the spirit, explains the vast amari family tree and gives tips for how to make your own variety for every season."
– Tasting Table
"If you're a fan of Campari, Averna, Cynar, or other bittersweet liqueurs, this book will have your mouth watering and your liquor cabinet collapsing under its own weight."
– Serious Eats
"Brad Thomas Parsons’s Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs serves as an Alice-like rabbit hole allowing full immersion in the world of amaro..."
– Wall Street Journal
"The man who might as well change his middle name to “bitter” is back with a follow-up to his award-winning Bitters. Beautifully photographed by Ed Anderson, Amaro is as much a desperately needed guide to the opaque and ill-defined world of bitter herbal liqueurs as it is a visual love letter to Italy. ... Parsons once again shows why he’s become one of the drink world’s most reliable voices."
"The amaro craze now has its bible."
– Chicago Reader
"Parsons, whose first book Bitters: a Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All covered similar territory via bitters, is a natural fit for this material. And his descriptions—both in page-long essays and in descriptive paragraphs for each drink—are biographical, informative, and witty enough to keep even the modestly curious engaged. That is, the index is not your only entry point—you can comfortably and sequentially flip pages."
– Seattle Met
"This book is a deep dive into the history and characteristics of amaro with excellent cocktail recipes. Any cocktail nerd will love reading this book."
– Tampa Bay Times
"With gorgeous photos and 100 original recipes, it will seriously amp up your man’s esoteric cocktail game."
"A must for anyone who has a shelf for cocktail books."
– The Manual
"Parsons lucidly explains how the centuries-old European tradition of digestifs made from complex recipes of ingredients ranging from artichokes to myrrh and often secret combos of mountain herbs became the latest obsession in American cocktail culture."
– Philadelphia Inquirer
"This stylishly-designed volume offers background on the main producers, over a hundred cocktail recipes and a section on how to make your own amaro at home."
"It is a definitive and enlightening take on this oft-misunderstood spirit category that continues to intrigue, perplex and confuse even the most seasoned hands."
– Tales of the Cocktail
"Amaro is the most in depth, detailed, and well put together book on the industry’s favorite class of liqueurs. From the better known Campari and Fernet Branca to American-made amari like Calisaya from Oregon, this work is encyclopedic in its scope."
– Star Chefs