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Bitterman's Field Guide to Bitters & Amari: 500 Bitters; 50 Amari; 123 Recipes for Cocktails, Food & Homemade Bitters Paperback – October 27, 2015
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About the Author
Mark Bitterman’s pursuit of bitters started as a child with a surreptitious sip at a family cocktail party. The spicy-bitter-sweet-stinging taste sparked a lifelong wanderlust for flavor. Decades later Bitterman opened the Meadow and began selling the largest selection of bitters in the world at all three locations. A renowned ingredient expert, Bitterman won a James Beard Award for his first book, Salted. He has been featured in the New York Times, Splendid Table, Food & Wine, Bizarre Foods, and countless other media. It has been speculated that Bitterman’s family name, which has Ashkenazic roots in Bulgaria, proves that bitters is in his DNA.
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Top Customer Reviews
First, the DIY part. This offers recipes similar to Parsons's, but probably fewer. That said, it takes a more playful and experimental approach to each recipe. Instead of a monolithic block of instructions, each recipe gives a framework of supporting and bittering botanicals, then offers a variety of different choices for the main flavoring. Clearly, if Bitterman suggests a half-dozen variations on a theme, you're welcome to come up with your own, as well. This section describes the qualities of the bittering agents used, but says little about the supporting cast of characters - you're on your own to learn about them elsewhere, often by trying his recipes.
The next big sections demonstrate use of bitters not just in a range of cocktails, but in all kinds of recipes from fried chicken to ice cream sandwiches! I'm curious to try a few of the recipes, but some seem a bit out-there. Then, the book ends with evaluations of a whole host of bitters and amari, as rated by Bitterman and his friends. I haven't tried nearly the number that he, as a retailer, has tried, but mostly agree with the rankings offered. I have to differ regarding Fee brothers cherry bitters, however. Although this book ranks it highly and I like other Fee bitters, I found the cherry flavor one-dimensional and overpoweringly artificial - the only bitters I ever threw out unused.
Parsons is still my favorite book on the topic - but this is a close second.