Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas by Brad Thomas Parsons

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Notes about this book

  • TrishaCP on January 07, 2017

    Best. Book. Ever.

Notes about Recipes in this book

  • Little Italy

    • fprincess on October 30, 2016

      A delicious, slightly bitter Manhattan variation. Picture here:

    • TrishaCP on May 04, 2018

      This was really nice. We used a maple rye that worked well with the other ingredients.

    • Totallywired on October 26, 2018

      Terrific Manhattan variation, splitting the modifier between vermouth and Cynar, though adding sweetness and indulgence with the triple luxardo cherry garnish. Overall reads cleaner than a straight ahead manhattan and slightly smoother and dryer. Just a terrific drink. Choose a spicy rye - used my regular here, Lot 40.

  • The velvet ditch

    • TrishaCP on August 13, 2021

      A great use of Montenegro. Smooth but boozy.

  • Yesterday, today, and Amaro

    • TrishaCP on February 03, 2019

      Agree completely how great this one tastes! It is very easy drinking. I'm not a huge fan of rye but it was very nice here.

    • Totallywired on October 23, 2018

      Fabulous. Typically find Benedictine dominates but small measure here is just right, good chocolate notes from the Averna. Didn’t use high proof Turkey and it didn’t matter. I should make this very frequently so I am leaving a note to remind myself.

  • Aperitivo ice pops

    • TrishaCP on July 05, 2017

      These tasted great! A nice option for a "grownup" popsicle (per my five-year old niece).

  • Fields forever

    • TrishaCP on May 17, 2021

      This is a nice spring cocktail. I subbed Averna for the Foro amaro.

  • Italian buck

    • TrishaCP on July 01, 2020

      This was really refreshing. It finishes with a nice bitter kick.

  • Letters of marque

    • TrishaCP on January 08, 2017

      Really easy-drinking cocktail. The lovely bitterness was there, after the initial sweetness. (We didn't have Galliano but used a Mexican anise- honey liqueur, Xtabentun, instead.)

  • Paper plane

    • TrishaCP on January 17, 2021

      This was very easy-drinking. The lemon juice really lifts and lightens the alcohols here. Could become a really nice spritz with sparkling wine.

  • Root down

    • TrishaCP on January 08, 2017

      This was a great use of Art in the Age Root Liqueur- it really highlighted the bitter and herbal aspects of the product. We made several substitutions- Peychaud's for mole bitters, a Jamaican aged rum for Demerara rum, and we used MacAllan 10 year as the scotch. I do not enjoy scotch and usually avoid it, but it is barely used here- just adding some complexity and smokiness to the drink.

  • San Francisco treat

    • TrishaCP on January 06, 2019

      This is a really well balanced cocktail. You get the menthol, medicinal notes from the Fernet, but smoothed out in a more approachable way.

  • Americano

    • TrishaCP on January 20, 2017

      Completely refreshing classic.

  • Campari and soda

    • TrishaCP on January 23, 2017

      Great summer drink, on the rare occasion that you wouldn't want something as strong as a Negroni.

  • Hanky Panky

    • TrishaCP on January 29, 2019

      This version of a Hanky Panky was a little too strong on the Fernet Branca for my taste. I think we also made a tactical error of using a pretty botanical gin (Aviation) rather than something smoother.

  • Art of the choke

    • TrishaCP on February 23, 2019

      I absolutely loved this cocktail. My husband is a bit more suspicious of anise notes, so upped the lime juice, simple syrup, and rum to suit his tastes.

    • Totallywired on October 25, 2018

      Brilliant drink. Immaculate balance and great flavour. Mint hit really comes through.

  • Averna smash

    • TrishaCP on February 10, 2019

      This cocktail is great. Not too boozy but complex flavors. I recommend going easy on the walnut oil, at least at first, as it can taste a bit overpowering. It’s personal preference but I preferred when I halved the oil the second time I made this.

  • Amaro sour

    • TrishaCP on February 09, 2019

      This was very delicious. We also used Averna.

    • Totallywired on October 21, 2018

      We make this frequently. Great balance, texture. Most often make with Averna. Great as well with Rammazoti.

  • Black Manhattan

    • TrishaCP on January 22, 2019

      Not my favorite recipe from this book. The Averna tasted really medicinal to me in this application. If I’m drinking something this boozy, give me a regular old Manhattan!

    • mjes on September 08, 2021

      I drink very little, but I enjoyed this drink. The recipe suggests that one can vary this with other gateway amaros -- this might work well at a tasting party.

    • Totallywired on November 10, 2018

      A favourite. Just like the classic it derives from you can endlessly tweak ingredients for different results. I’ve made with rye (which I believe is the original recipe, though this book calls for bourbon), a variety of different bourbons, or a split base. I’ve increased the bitters or omitted the orange bitters or modified further with chocolate bitters. Made here to spec with Woodfords for a bittersweet, smooth, deep and rich drink, with a bitter orange peel and chocolate finish.

  • Cynara

    • TrishaCP on May 21, 2017

      Boozy and sweet, but also complex from the bitters, this goes down smoothly. We didn't have Buffalo Trace bourbon on hand- instead we used Four Roses. Not a light cocktail, so I will save this for cooler temperatures.

  • Eeyore's requiem

    • TrishaCP on August 12, 2018

      This is amazing. The combination of amaros makes a bitter, boozy, but still drinkable cocktail. (I didn't have Fernet Branca on hand, so used Ferro Kina by our local distiller, Don Ciccio & Figli.)

  • Elena's virtue

    • TrishaCP on January 24, 2021

      The book refers to this as an Italian-style Mai tai, and it certainly tastes as good as one.

  • Bitter balls

    • TrishaCP on December 31, 2018

      These are quite tasty. They are more like a truffle than a cookie because of the chocolate. I also found it difficult to roll them because they were either really soft, or too hard after being in the fridge to want to come together.

    • Yildiz100 on December 07, 2018

      This recipe calls for 2 cups of shortbread (crumbled) or 12 to 14 ounces. Since the weight measure was a range, I figured it was tested with the volume measure of 2 cups, so that is what I used. I think this was less than 12 to 14 ounces, and the mixture with this amount of shortbread was very moist and difficult to roll into balls, even after chilling for longer than stated in the recipe. Next time I will use 14 ounces of crumbled shortbread. However, I did manage to get these rolled, and though it was very messy, by the time these chilled overnight, they had firmed up well. Used cocoa rather than demarara sugar to roll in (cocoa appears to be in option in the picture, though this isn't mentioned in the recipe) and this was perfect, as these were sweet enough. The Averna adds a bit of complexity and a very mild alcohol burn-but it isn't in the least overpowering. This recipe is definitely a keeper, hopefully easier to roll and just as good with more shortbread crumbs.

  • Bitter Giuseppe

    • Yildiz100 on June 01, 2019

      Kind of like caramel. Sweet, but well balanced with bitter.

  • The brave

    • Totallywired on December 08, 2018

      This recipe is a dare. Going to concede that I served it at the wrong part of the evening but I’m not sure I’d be an enthusiast in any state. Mezcal/agave dominates. Incidentally, Makes a good base for an eggnog.

  • Exit strategy

    • Totallywired on August 01, 2019

      Pleasant, fragrant, with strong orange flavour and crisp finish. Bet you could stretch it out with soda in a highball.

  • The bitter swagger

    • Totallywired on February 11, 2019

      Mind warp of a twist on a pisco sour, nardini bringing caramel and mint flavours and aroma. Stellar.

  • Ferrari

  • Sharpie mustache

    • Totallywired on October 13, 2018

      A number of substitutions here, Byrrh for Bonal, and tried to manufacture missing Meletti with Averna, Montenegro and Pernod. Scrappy’s chocolate and cardamom bitters for the tiki bitters. Successful given the odds. Reduce pernod to a spritz bottle shower next time.

  • Friûl libar

    • Totallywired on January 22, 2019

      Bright orange, fruit-forward, gin bite on the finish. Nice.

  • Ice-berg

    • Totallywired on January 28, 2019

      Fabulous and surprising cocktail.

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Reviews about this book

  • Food52 an ode and guide to the untamed world of amaro, the bitter liqueur that everyone loves to love ...but that no one exactly understands.

    Full review
  • ISBN 10 1607747480
  • ISBN 13 9781607747482
  • Published Oct 11 2016
  • Format Hardcover
  • Page Count 280
  • Language English
  • Countries United States
  • Publisher Ten Speed Press

Publishers Text

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.
Amaro is the first book to demystify this ever-expanding, bittersweet world, and a must-have for any home cocktail enthusiast or industry professional. 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.

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