The Spirited World of Bittersweet, Herbal Liqueurs with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas

Spirited Award Finalist

The European tradition of making bittersweet liqueurs—called amari in Italian—has been around for centuries. But it is only recently that these herbaceous digestifs have moved from the dusty back bar to center stage in the United States, and become a key ingredient on cocktail lists in the country’s best bars and restaurants. Lucky for us, today there is a dizzying range of amaro available—from familiar favorites like Averna and Fernet-Branca, to the growing category of regional, American-made amaro.

Amaro is the first book to demystify this ever-expanding, bittersweet world, and a must-have for any home cocktail enthusiast or industry professional. Starting with a rip-roaring tour of bars, cafés, and distilleries in Italy, amaro’s spiritual home, Brad Thomas Parsons—author of the James Beard and IACP Award–winner Bitters—will open your eyes to the rich history and vibrant culture of amaro today. With more than 100 recipes for amaro-centric cocktails, DIY amaro, and even amaro-spiked desserts, you’ll be living (and drinking) la dolce vita.


“Brad Thomas Parsons’s Bitters quickly became the definitive guide to a mysterious but essential cocktail ingredient. He’s done it again with Amaro, a gorgeous, comprehensive, and delectable exploration of the world’s bittersweet aperitifs and digestifs. Parsons’s passion for the history, culture, and personalities behind these herbaceous concoctions, coupled with Ed Anderson’s gorgeous photography, make Amaro a must-have.”

—Amy Stewart

Author of The Drunken Botanist

“A few things happen as you age: you start really liking yogurt, you talk about seeing ‘other people,’ you’re willing to risk big to let out a memorable ‘Bababooey!’ scream at your son’s piano recital, and, fortunately, you begin to really enjoy bitters. Not only for their taste, but also because they’re a panacea for the middle-aged gut. Amaro is no longer strictly a clever way to deter teenage partygoers from raiding the house bar; it’s a staple ingredient, and it’s about time for such a thoroughly researched and deliciously presented book on the subject. Amaro is complete and thirst-inducing. Two thumbs up!”

—Frédéric Morin and David McMillan

Authors of The Art of Living According to Joe Beef

“Fernet-Branca: what would we do without it?  It is certainly my favorite of the amaros; some even say that it cures all known ailments and improves the humors. What a treat to read Amaro, a book devoted to these bittersweet aids to digestion, health, and happiness.”

—Fergus Henderson

Author of The Complete Nose to Tail

“With cocktail recipes, amaro-spiked desserts, and even a guide to making your own amari, this book is a comprehensive guide to the liqueur. But more than just a guide, Amaro is a book you actually want to read. It’s written by Brad Thomas Parsons, the author of the James Beard and IACP award-winning book on bitters, and its best feature are the recipe headnotes. Ranging from personal anecdotes about cocktails to multiple paragraphs about a classic’s history, you get fun, interesting context with every recipe.”


“One man’s love affair with bitter liqueurs…the book is ideally timed: Many Americans in the last few years have discovered the bracing pleasures of drinks like Campari, Aperol, Cynar and even the acerbic Fernet Branca.”

—New York Times

“…Parsons does a terrific job of showcasing [amari] in this collection of over 100 recipes.”

—Publishers Weekly

“…Parsons succeeds at opening up exciting possibilities to try at home or seek out at bars.”

—Library Journal

“The man who might as well change his middle name to “bitter” is back with a follow-up to his award-winning Bitters. Beautifully photographed by Ed Anderson, Amaro is as much a desperately needed guide to the opaque and ill-defined world of bitter herbal liqueurs as it is a visual love letter to Italy. … Parsons once again shows why he’s become one of the drink world’s most reliable voices.”