Brad Thomas Parsons book Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All is 3 books in one… history, Bitters guide, and recipe book. That being said let’s dive deeper into how this book held court at the start of the cocktail renaissance and how everyone should have it on their shelf.
The book starts with a history of bitters as the title states, “a cure all medicine” before they were regulated by the Pure Food & Drug Act of 1906. The book then discusses the history of some classic bitters brands like Angostura and Peychaud before moving into the bitters boom of today. Parsons provides a list of bittering agents- common botanicals, herbs, and spices to make your own bitters along with some fantastic DIY recipes…not for the beginner but fun for everyone. I know what I’m going to do next weekend!
The last part of the book is where you can find the cocktail recipes for more than 80 cocktails split between vintage ones and modern creations. Nothing out of control here with difficulty but appealing to all cocktail lovers.
What makes this book a must is the quality of how the process is explained. What book do you know that discusses how to taste bitters or better yet how to peel your fruit correctly…not many! But what separates this book from others is how to build your own home bar from the bitter perspective.