Author: Brad Thomas Parsons
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Why It's Essential: Bitters are vital for many classic cocktails.

If you buy a bottle of orange bitters and think you're all set in that department, then you really need to pick up this book. Bitters can enhance the subtle, nuanced flavors of a cocktail, pull together ingredients to create a harmony within the drink, and so much more. Parsons not only provides a history for this oft-unappreciated bit player, he walks the reader through the bitters-making process. The variation of flavors—from apple to coffee, pecan to root beer—is limited only by your imagination.