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…
My author’s copy of Bitters arrives. Louis approves.
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.
On November 1, I hosted a book launch party at the stable and garden of Frankies 457 in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.
The cocktail selections for the night.
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.
BTP with Tom Douglas.
The Dahlia Lounge hosted a cocktail party.
Holding on to my Negroni for dear life.
Rocking the gingham.
And it wasn’t a BTP Bitters event without Underberg. Lots of Underberg…
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.
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.
James Beard Awards winner’s circle. That night, I was Han Solo.
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.
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.
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.