Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Black Manhattan

Black Manhattan ( )David, 29 Nov 05:27 AM When I picked up Bitters (


Black Manhattan
David, 29 Nov 05:27 AM

Black Manhattan CocktailWhen I picked up Bitters, a book celebrating the history and culture of using bitters in cocktails, I was immediately hooked on the subject. I am always drawn to books that not only tackle a single subject, but do it so well. The book sparked additional interest when I made the Pith Helmet from the book, an enticing mixture of gin, cucumbers, Pimm’s, lemon, basil, black pepper, and a few dashes of bitters. I wasn’t all that familiar with bitters (the renewed interest in cocktails was just taking off in Paris), but loved what a dash of this, and a few drops of that, could add to a drink.

Black Manhattan Cocktail

I eventually connected with Brad Parsons, the author of the book, and have been fortunate to pull up a stool at several cocktail bars with him. (A friend called him “The Holy Grail of Drinking Buddies.”) If you can’t be at the next bar stool from him, Amaro (and Bitters) are the next best thing.

In fact, they may be even better because the photos of his voyage to Italy by Ed Anderson (who shot the photos in My Paris Kitchen, who is also no slouch in the drinking-buddy department…) capture the beauty and spirit of the amaro culture in various places around the world. And you don’t even have to worry about taking a tumble off a bar stool to enjoy them.

Black Manhattan CocktailAmaro is an Italian liqueur that defies an exact description. They could best be described as herbal digestives, each flavored with a unique mixture of spices, citrus, barks, flowers, roots, and fruits. (And sometimes vegetables, such as rhubarb and artichokes.) Amari are not subtle and if you’ve even had a sip of one after a rich meal, it provides a jolt powerful enough to calm your stomach – and spirits, not matter what came before it.

As Brad notes in his book, humans have a natural aversion to bitter, a flavor that’s naturally associated with something dangerous. But many things that are bitter, such as broccoli and other greens, are actually good for you. I’ll let you be the judge on any health-giving properties of any kind of libation, but I know several people with young children who say that without wine, they could not function.

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