Categories

Musings on Books, Booze, Food (and Sometimes Cats). Return to recent posts

Looking Back On a Very Bitter Year

Bitters-James-Beard-House

Photo: Krishna Dayanidhi

This morning I received an e-mail from my editor that said “Happy 1 Year Bitters-versary!” It was a year ago today that Bitters was published, and it turned out to be a pretty eventful year. The book is now in its fourth printing (with a fifth just around the corner) and this year it was honored with an IACP Award and a James Beard Award, and nominated for a Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award. It also landed on Best of the Year lists from Amazon, iBookstore, and Bon Appetit. In Brooklyn, where I live, there were events at Whisk, Greenlight Bookstore, and The Brooklyn Kitchen, and I went on the bitters trail in San Francisco (Omnivore Books), Portland (The Meadow), Seattle (Book Larder, Dahlia Lounge), and Boston (The Boston Shaker). I’m still thrilled when I see Bitters in bookstores (I swear, I never, well almost never face out the book on the shelf), and it’s especially rewarding to come across it in the house library of actual bars and restaurants.

The Acknowledgements in Bitters already run too long, but another big thank you to my publisher, Ten Speed Press and the Crown Publishing Group for all of their support, and for all of the readers, bartenders, bitters lovers, and cocktail enthusiasts, who have embraced the book. And to my publisher, Aaron Wehner; my editor, Emily Timberlake; and Ed Anderson, who really brought this book to life.

Now, in the spirit of the celebrated TV series tradition of the “clip show,” I present some highlights from a very bitter year…

Behind the scenes on the Bitters photo shoot with Ed Anderson at PDT in the East Village.

Ed-Anderson-Bitters-PDT

Photo: Brad Thomas Parsons

 Ed Anderson gets up close and personal with a cocktail at Momofuku Ssäm Bar (bonus Karen Fu cameo).

Photo: Brad Thomas Parsons

My author’s copy of Bitters arrives. Louis approves.

bitters-louis

Photo: Brad Thomas Parsons

Signing bookplates.

bitters-bookplates

Photo: Brad Thomas Parsons

While official publication date for Bitters was November 1, the Southern Foodways Symposium was held in Oxford, Mississippi, the weekend before and we made copies available to attendees to purchase. Jerry Salter of Atlanta’s H. Harper Station holds the honor (well, I was honored) of being the recipient of my very first autograph.

bitters-southern-foodways

Photo: Brad Thomas Parsons

On November 1, I hosted a book launch party at the stable and garden of Frankies 457 in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

bitters-book-party

Photo: Brad Thomas Parsons

The cocktail selections for the night.

bitters-book-party-menu

Photo: Brad Thomas Parsons

Team Bitters: Emily Timberlake (editor), BTP (author), Ed Anderson (photographer).

bitters-emily-timberlake-brad-thomas-parsons-ed-anderson

Photo: Anne Bartholomew

End of the night. Happy, but starving. I was like a bride at a wedding. Never got to taste any of the killer spread. But I inhaled a cheeseburger at the after-party at Prime Meats next door.

bitters-party-brad-thomas-parsons

Photo: Anne Bartholomew

The next day, I took the G up to Bushwick to join Damon Boelte on The Speakeasy. All interviews should be fueled by bourbon, beer, and Underberg and followed by a Roberta’s pizza.

damon-boelte

Photo: Brad Thomas Parsons

The first official event for Bitters at Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, Brooklyn.

bitters-greenlight-bookstore

Photo: Brad Thomas Parsons

 

The crew at the Palace Kitchen, my regular joint when I lived in Seattle, were kind enough to feature two drinks from Bitters on their fall menu.

palace-kitchen-menu

Photo: Brad Thomas Parsons

BTP with Tom Douglas.

tom-douglas-brad-thomas-parsons

Photo: Amy Weinstein

The Dahlia Lounge hosted a cocktail party.

bitters-dahlia-lounge-menu

Photo: Amy Weinstein

Holding on to my Negroni for dear life.

brad-thomas-parsons-dahlia-lounge

Photo: Amy Weinstein

Bitters on display at Seattle’s Book Larder.

bitters-book-larder

Photo: Brad Thomas Parsons

Rocking the gingham.

brad-thomas-parsons-book-larder

Photo: Tom Nissley

And it wasn’t a BTP Bitters event without Underberg. Lots of Underberg…

underberg-book-larder

Photo: Brad Thomas Parsons

underberg-book-larder

Photo: Tom Nissley

The best-dressed bepsoke bitters barons in all of Brooklyn. The boys from Brooklyn Hemispherical Bitters and Hella Bitter drop by my event at Whisk in Williamsburg to raise an Old-Fashioned or two.

bitters-boys-whisk

Photo: Brad Thomas Parsons

If you’re in San Francisco, you must go to Omnivore Books. I was stunned to draw an SRO crowd who spilled out onto the sidewalk (and steamed up the windows). And Nico Vera, from The Pisco Trail, was sweet enough to join us and serve Pisco Sours to the crowd.

bitters-pisco-trail

Photo: Brad Thomas Parsons

Then, a few days before Christmas, I found myself muddling with Martha on The Martha Stewart Show, as we shook up a festive Cranberry Crush cocktail. And yes, this will be my 2012 Christmas card.

brad-thomas-parsons-martha-stewart

Photo: The Martha Stewart Show

Accepting the IACP Cookbook Award for Bitters, in which I thanked my photographer Ed Anderson, comparing him to equal parts George Harrison and The Dude from The Big Lebowski.

bitters-IACP-awards

Photo: Cynthia Nims

James Beard Awards winner’s circle. That night, I was Han Solo.

brad-thomas-parsons-james-beard-awards

Photo: Ken Goodman

And when you finally come back to your apartment at 4AM after celebrating a James Beard win, of course the first thing you do is drape the medal over your cat.

louis-james-beard-awards

Photo: Brad Thomas Parsons

I was back in Seattle in July to teach a cocktail class at the Tom Douglas Culinary Camp and while I was in town hosted a sold-out bitters demonstration at my beloved Book Larder. After losing three shirts to Angostura stains, I wised up and worked this Pointer Brand apron into the rotation.

brad-thomas-parsons-book-larder

Photo: Amy Weinstein

In September I was invited to collaborate with Marc Forgione on A Celebration of Bitters dinner at the James Beard Foundation. I enlisted my bitter bartender friend Damon Boelte to help me out and we served Autumn Old-Fashioneds and Long Hellos for cocktail hour and ended the night with a Sawyer digestivo. And, naturally, there was Underberg.

damon-boelte

Photo: Brad Thomas Parsons

Finally, one of my favorite “Bitters in the Wild” sightings at Seattle’s legendary Elliott Bay Book Company. Stay bitter!

bitters-elliott-bay-book-co

Photo: Brad Thomas Parsons

One Comment

  1. Brad Parsons
    I have been introduced into a bitter world at the ripe old age of 70!
    Your book has put me on a new direction.
    In regards to your book’s instructions where you state in the bitters recipes, every one includes the comment to discard the filtered residues. What I have done is not discard them but to dry them out in a dehydrator, then grind in a coffee/herb grinder and then use then as a addition when making teas. What a difference it makes. Now I have 24 flavours (ex bitters) that I did not have before. I also sell them at the local markets along with the bitters, jams and preserves.
    Thanks again.
    DK
    8-March-2014

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Name and email are required.

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>