Nick Talarico oversees the front of the house and the beverage program for [Memphis chefs Andy Ticer and Mike Hudman’s] ever-expanding restaurants and also makes a mean old-fashioned, which he doctors with house-made Shiftless Hog orange bitters. I always love geeking out over cocktails and trying new local spirits and beers with Talarico and he kindly shared the story of the Bitter Swagger with me, a cocktail on the menu at Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, just across the street from Hog and Hominy. “We had a comedian come in after his show downtown late one Saturday night, and he and I talked for a bit about Nardini amaro. He ended up leaving with a bottle from our stock to take with him on his tour and after he left.” That encounter inspired Nick to add a drink on the menu that focused on amaro as a base spirit, and a pisco sour template did the trick. “It’s a total cocktail nerd drink—amaro, pisco, and egg whites don’t necessarily sell themselves—but that’s the fun of having a few cocktail lists where you can hide your nerdiest drinks,” Talarico says.
Reprinted with permission from Amaro by Brad Thomas Parsons, copyright © 2016. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.