PDT Cocktail Book: The Complete Bartender’s Guide from the Celebrated Speakeasy, by Jim Meehan (Sterling Epicure, 2011; $24.95)
Despite a steady stream of new cocktail books, few provide as much guidance on proportions and techniques to create great drinks as the bar standards The Joy of Mixology from Gary Regan and the Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock. With the release of Jim Meehan’s PDT Cocktail Book, Regan and Craddock have some new company. If you’ve ever found your way through the vintage telephone booth in the back of Crif Dogs and into Please Don’t Tell (PDT), a bar in NYC’s east Village, then you’ll likely find your favorite drinks in the 300+ recipes. The collection is a well-curated mix of classic pre-Prohibition drinks and contemporary creations from PDT bartenders and their colleagues at other bars, each with a concise description and back-story. Although Chris Gall’s accompanying illustrations add more whimsy than assistance with the cocktails, their colorful charm makes the book fun to read.
In addition to recipes, the useful, detailed guides to equipment, bar layout, glassware and spirits—including production, brands and history—could have easily filled a separate volume. The PDT Cocktail Book already feels like a classic.