Book Review: Amaro by Brad Thomas Parsons
I'm going to be honest with you when I tell you that I don't know that much about you. Sure, I have Google Analytics on the site, but I seldom remember to check it. And if I do remember, I normally get distracted when I notice that there are over 10,000 of you are coming here per month. Then I forget to dive deeper to see who you are (in the general sense. I like you and all, but me knowing specifically who each of you are seems like too much responsibility and frankly, more than a bit creepy).
I do know a lot about me though. So since you are reading this, I'll just have to assume that you are a lot like me. Or at least interested in some of the same things. So, if you are like me then not too long ago you may have found yourself muttering "What the hell is Amaro?" See I had found a recipe for a Manhattan riff called a Black Manhattan that swapped out the vermouth for an Amaro. It called for a specific one, but not actually knowing anything about any Amaro, I read some reviews and then picked up one that was in my budget.
It was about this time that I remembered that way back in July, I had picked up a book that probably would have answered my question. I happened to be on Twitter that day and saw a Tweet that mentioned the Kindle edition of Amaro by Brad Thomas Parsons was on sale for only $1.99. Now I normally like my booze books in hardcover, but the price was so good, I couldn't pass it up. I have long recommended the author's book Bitters to anyone who would listen so it was very easy to convince myself to drop the two bucks.
And the book didn't disappoint. The very first thing I saw when I looked at the cover were the words "The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs." So there was my answer. An Amaro is a bittersweet, herbal liqueur. And when I got into the book I learned even more. I learned about the history of Amaro and the Italian tradition of sipping them either before or after a meal to either set up or settle your meal. I learned about the various brands that are available in the US, both the specific details and their stories. I read so many cocktail recipes that I've been drinking cocktails for the past week just because it inspired an intense craving for bitter drinks. I even learned a little about making your own Amaro.
The most surprising thing I learned that depending on your definition, I actually had two Amaros in my collection already in the form of Campari and Fernet-Branca. Which on some level reassured me that I would enjoy exploring this category. I really liked this book and since it is also on my phone, I think I will be referencing it often while standing in the liquor store aisles.
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