Writing and Publications


Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas (Ten Speed Press, November 2011) (Winner of the James Beard and IACP Cookbook Awards)

Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas (Ten Speed Press, October 2016) (Finalist, Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Award)

Distillery Cats: Profiles in Courage of the World’s Most Spirited Mousers (Ten Speed Press, September 2017)

Last Call: Bartenders on Their Final Drink and the Wisdom and Rituals of Closing Time (Ten Speed Press, October 2019)

Print Publications
Bon Appétit

“Every Bartender’s Latest Obsession Is Amaro”

“Move Over Bourbon, It’s Rye Time”

“Amaro, the Cocktail Ingredient You’re Seeing Everywhere”

“3 Grown-Up Ways to Up Your Apple Intake”

Food & Wine
Travel + Leisure

“5 Great New York Bartenders”

“Old School Spirits Enjoy a Youthful Revival”

Online Publications

“Mastering the Pornstar Martini with Douglas Ankrah”

“Mastering the Mint Julep with Chris McMillian”

“Drinking with Brooklyn’s BBQ Guru Billy Durney”

“Amaro’s Long Lost Cousin is Back”

“Mastering the Boulevardier with Toby Cecchini”

“Drinking with Italian Food and Wine Expert Katie Parla”

“Drinking with David Lebovitz”

“The Aperitivo Cocktails That Time Forgot”

“A Guide to Smuggling Rare Amaro Back from Italy”

“Last Call: Stumbling Toward Faulkner’s Grave”

“Lookbook: Gary Crunkleton”

“I’m Obsessed with Momofuku’s John McEnroe Painting”

“What Should Amaro from the 1960s Taste Like?”

“Mastering the Rob Roy with Anu Apte-Elford”

“Behind the Backbar at Portland’s Multnomah Whiskey Library”

“15 Essential Amari and How to use Them”

“Behind the Backbar at Seattle’s Barnacle”

“The New Wave of Italian Aperitivo Liqueurs”

“The Essential Vermouth Brands by Style”

“Ten Essential Bitters and How to Use Them”

“What Type of Ice Is Right for Your Cocktail?”

“Cocktails & Dreams”

“Is the Standing Bar Doomed to Extinction in America?”

“Created and Forgotten at Sea: Pink Gin”

“An Amaro Scene Springs Up in Seattle”

“The Art of Drinking Alone”

“The Secret Lives of Distillery Cats”

“The (Totally Unofficial) Lego Bartender Collection”


Countdown to BevCon

It’s just two weeks until BevCon! Last year I was thrilled to be a part of the inaugural beverage industry conference held in Charleston, and this year I’ll be back, hosting a few panels and events. Looking forward to seeing old friends like Scott Blackwell and Ann Marshall of High Wire Distilling Co. and meeting many new ones. And this year the gang from PUNCH will be on-hand as underwriters of BevCon. When I’m not hanging out at the bar at The Ordinary, you can find me at the following events:

Getting Published II
Wednesday, August 23
1:00PM – 2:00PM
Hyatt House Charleston
In this follow-up to last year’s popular panel, “So You Want to Write a Book About Booze?” I’ll be moderating a discussion with Paul Clarke, Matt Lee, and Kara Newman covering everything you need to know about the writing (and selling) a book.

Beyond Branca: The Fernet Family
Thursday, August 24
10:00AM – 11:00AM
Hyatt House Charleston
I’ve pulled together an eclectic lineup of 12 different fernet from around the world, including many new American-made expressions, for a talk and tasting about this dark, bitter category of amaro that’s a favorite among industry professionals.

Let’s Get Lit: Author Reading Party and Book Signing
Thursday, August 24
6:00PM – 8:00PM
The Oyster Shed at Leon’s Oyster Shop
At one of my favorite panels from last year’s panel, my dear friend Gary Crunkleton conducted a seminar/one-man show in which he admitted that he’s only read two books in his life cover to cover–The Bible and A Time to Kill. Who better, then, to MC this spirited reading event? I’ll be joining a pretty cool lineup of writers at The Oyster Shed at Leon’s Oyster Shop for a cocktail-fueled reading from our new and upcoming work. Featured readers include:

Talia Baiocchi
Jon Bonné
Paul Clarke
Wayne Curtis
Megan Krigbaum
Matt Lee
Kara Newman
Brad Thomas Parsons
Hanna Raskin
Robert Simonson
David Wondrich

Hope to see you there!


Announcing the “Amaro Never Knows” National Book Tour


I’m excited to announce the dates and cities for my upcoming “Amaro Never Knows” national book tour. My new book, Amaro: The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs, will be available on Tuesday, October 11 (if you haven’t already pre-ordered a copy, I hope you’ll consider doing so either online or at your local bookstore) and I’ll kick off a 12-city tour starting in New York City.

The events will be a mix of talks and guided amari tastings along with Amaro Power Hours, where bars and restaurants will be featuring cocktails from the book along with small bites. In Memphis, at Porcellino’s, we’ll have an evening of bocce and bonfires with roaming amaro cart service. Chef Matt Bolus at The 404 Kitchen in Nashville promises a family-style whole hog barbecue with bittersweet drinks to wash it down. The day before Halloween in Seattle, we’ll have a “Haunted Hangover” bitter boozy brunch service at The Carlile Room. In Los Angeles, Highland Park Bowl will be hosting an afternoon pizza and bowling party. And in Chicago at Billy Sunday, we’ll be “Tasting the Cover” by sampling some of the vintage amaro featured on the book jacket of Amaro.

Check out the “Events” listing on the left-hand side of this page for more details (and links will be added with more information). I hope you’ll save the date for any stops in your city, and I look forward to seeing you this fall. Stay bitter!

“Amaro Never Knows” Book Tour

10/11: New York, NY | Maialino

10/17: Memphis, TN | Porcellino’s Craft Butcher

10/18: Nashville, TN | The 404 Kitchen

10/20: Charleston, SC | High Wire Distilling Co.

10/20: Charleston, SC | Edmund’s Oast

10/21: Chapel Hill, NC | The Crunkleton

10/22: Raleigh, NC | Fox Liquor Bar

10/25: New York, NY | Eataly (Flatiron)

10/28: San Francisco, CA | Omnivore Books

10/30: Seattle, WA | The Carlile Room

11/1: Seattle, WA | Barnacle

11/2: Seattle, WA | Hot Stove Society

11/3: Seattle, WA | Book Larder

11/5: Los Angles, CA | Highland Park Bowl

11/13: Chicago, IL | Billy Sunday

11/13: Chicago, IL | The Milk Room

11/14: Chicago, IL | Billy Sunday

11/19: Washington, DC  | Masseria

12/3: Philadelphia, PA | Abe Fisher



Amaro: First-Pass Pages


Wrapped up a 3.5-hour conference call with my patient editor Emily Timberlake to review the first-pass pages of Amaro. Ed Anderson‘s photos are incredible. I can’t wait for everyone to see them in all their bittersweet glory.

It’s Rye Time


Loving the March culture issue of Bon Appétit, and not just because I have a piece on rye whiskey in it.

How Do You Like Them Apples?



Learn how to up your spirited apple intake in my piece in the January issue of Bon Appétit.

Distillery Cats Book


Photo: Brad Thomas Parsons, “Cats of NYC” Tote, The Strand Bookstore


While I’m an equal-opportunity friend of the animal kingdom, those who know me would easily identify me as a “cat guy.” Dogs were a part of my household growing up, but there was always a cat underfoot. From childhood through high-school there was Waldo, a larger-than-life, 20-pound bruiser who we always suspected was half Maine Coon; then my college girlfriend thought that breaking up with me would be easier by gifting me with Wushu, an agile calico kitten who came home with me on Thanksgiving break and was quickly adopted by my father as his own; and I now share my life (and my Brooklyn apartment) with Louis, an affable 11-year-old gray tabby whose exploits on Instagram typically garner more “likes” than my steady stream of food and drinks posts.

Aside from calling out Louis in the Acknowledgments in Bitters, my twin passions for cats and cocktails didn’t fully align on the page until last December, when I wrote a piece for PUNCH entitled “The Secret Lives of Distillery Cats,” where I surveyed the spirited tradition of the subset of working class cats devoted to protecting distilleries’ barley, rye, and corn from rodents, birds, and other potential invaders. Feline legends like Glenturret Distillery’s Towser the Mouser, the Michael Jordan of distillery cats, and the new breed of distillery cats, such as Carlos and Jeffey of Brooklyn’s King County Distillery, were but a few of the featured cats carrying on this centuries old practice.

In early August I received an e-mail from NPR’s Ari Shapiro and the next morning I was in the New York studios of NPR off Bryant Park talking about cats for half an hour. Ari’s report, “Behind Every Good Whisky Is a Trusty Distillery Cat” (R.I.P. Peat the Distillery Cat) aired on Tuesday, September 9, and in an instant, distillery cats were not so secret anymore. You’ll forgive me for the high-reaching analogy, but if Ari was inspired by my original story (in this example, my Rubber Soul) to produce his own story (in this example, his Pet Sounds), then I can only hope that the next product of this inspirational trade-off, a book on distillery cats, will be my Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  That’s right, in addition to Amaro (Fall 2016), the book I’m currently working on, I’m happy to report that Ten Speed Press will also be publishing Distillery Cats (Spring 2016).

To continue the music analogy, Distillery Cats will be a much smaller book, an EP between Bitters and Amaro. A well-designed, very giftable volume of 30 notable distillery cats, with illustrations, photographs, essays, and cocktail recipes. It’s Profiles in Courage meets Secrets of the Sommeliers, but with cats. If you’re a distiller with a cat on staff,
drop me a line, and be sure to get your daily distillery cat fix @DistilleryCats on Instagram.


A Sweet Night for BITTERS at the IACP Cookbook Awards

Photo: Cynthia Nims

Lest I bury the lede, I’m thrilled to report that this past Monday night at the Times Center in New York City, Bitters was presented with the 2012 IACP Cookbook Award for Wine, Beer & Spirits. (more…)

Bitters on the Big Screen

angostura bitters

Photo: Brad Thomas Parsons

Last Friday I caught a late afternoon matinee of Crazy Stupid Love. Much of the action takes place at a slick pick-up joint of a bar, where Ryan Gosling’s Jacob prowls the room looking for a new conquest using his closer, “Let’s get out of here.” While Jacob always has a timeless old-fashioned in his hand, Steve Carell’s sad sack Cal nurses an emasculating vodka and cranberry through a skinny straw. (On straws in alcoholic drinks: unless it’s a tropical drink or a mint julep, whose intentionally short straw serves as a lure to get your nose closer to the aromatic bouquet of mint garnish, I do think a gentleman should part ways with the straw.) (more…)

Away We Go…


Photo: Ten Speed Press

It’s hard to believe that in just three months my first book, Bitters, will be out there in the wild. As an author, this is the dark side of the moon phase—there are no more edits or revisions; the layout and design are locked in; the book is off being printed; and my publisher’s publicity, marketing, and sales teams are pitching this admittedly esoteric, mildly obsessive book of mine to magazines and media outlets, bloggers and websites, radio and television, and booksellers and online retailers. While the book is done, my work has only just begun. I’ve written scores of handwritten notes on my best correspondence stock (fact: my handwriting is illegible) to include with copies of the galleys, and I’m e-mailing all of my friends and contacts to spread the good word (if you haven’t already heard from me, don’t worry, you will). But I’m doing my best, too, to enjoy this “quiet” time of radio silence, while Bitters is still something for readers to wonder about rather than have in their hands or behind the bar. Until then…