Brad Thomas Parsons ’95SOA is an amiable man with an unusual motto: “Stay bitter.” Fortunately, this has nothing to do with cynicism and everything to do with cocktails. After studying fiction-writing at Columbia and working for a decade as a cookbook editor at Amazon, Parsons published a James Beard Award–winning guide to cocktail bitters in 2011. His follow-up, Amaro, published this fall, is an ode to amari — bittersweet herbal Italian liqueurs that are the star ingredient in classic cocktails like the negroni. “Americans are starting to embrace bitter as a flavor,” says Parsons, “and bartenders are dusting off their old bottles and creating some lovely new drinks.” With more than one hundred recipes in his new book, Parsons is happy to join the cause. Here he shares a seasonal punch perfect for holiday parties.
Recipe: Cranberry Berret
Makes 1 drink
-1 orange wedge
-12 fresh cranberries
-1½ ounces Laird’s Straight Apple Brandy
-½ ounce Amaro CioCiaro
-½ ounce Aperol
-2 dashes cranberry bitters
-Hard apple cider
-Garnish: orange zest and 3 fresh cranberries, skewered
Combine the orange wedge and cranberries in a cocktail shaker and muddle until the fruit is just broken up. Add the apple brandy, Amaro CioCiaro, Aperol, and bitters and fill with ice. Shake until chilled and double-strain into a collins glass filled with ice. Top off with the hard apple cider. Garnish with the orange zest and skewered cranberries.