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The PDT Cocktail Book: The Complete Bartender's Guide from the Celebrated Speakeasy Hardcover – Nov 1 2011

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The PDT Cocktail Book: The Complete Bartender's Guide from the Celebrated Speakeasy + The Craft of the Cocktail: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Master Bartender, with 500 Recipes + Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All, with Cocktails, Recipes, and Formulas
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Sterling Epicure (Nov. 1 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402779232
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402779237
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 816 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"I'd peg this as the gift book of the season for the serious cocktail fan: It's extravagantly illustrated by artist Chris Gall, beautifully designed, fun to browse and possessed of a satisfying heft. And there are some 300 drink recipes, many extraordinary, to adapt as your own classic and new-classic cocktails." —The Wall Street Journal
"Jim Meehan seamlessly blends classic and cutting-edge in The PDT Cocktail Book, and the result is basically a new-school bible for the cocktail geek. The book covers everything from barware to bacon-infused bourbon, complete with illustrations by Chris Gall. Buy two--despite your best gift-giving intentions, this is a book you'll want to keep for yourself. —
"Cocktails are evolving and becoming more culinary and with that evolution more skill is required from the craftsmen and women who make them. Jim Meehan of PDT is busily mapping the DNA of cutting edge cocktails and I am delighted he has decided to publish his delicious findings. The PDT Cocktail Book is a marvelous, classically illustrated book that I believe to be the book of the decade if not more." —Dale DeGroff, master mixologist and founding president of The Museum of the American Cocktail
"Jim Meehan's book is, as the subtitle says, a manual for bartenders, and one that will undoubtedly become a bible for many of them. But any cook--or, for that matter, person--who's seriously interested in mixology will quickly realize it's the definitive work, a roadmap for a lifetime of amazing cocktails." — Mark Bittman, New York Times columnist and author of How to Cook Everything
"Americans have always loved drinking, but in the past five years or so America has recommitted itself to learning to drink well! Jim Meehan has helped lead this joyful renaissance, but his specific influence has been to decouple drink perfection from pompousness. Quality drinking should be as unintimidating and fun as it is delicious and smart: that's Jim Meehan's doing. I'm so glad he's written this beautiful book -- shake yourself up an Applejack Rabbit, sit down, and read this like a novel".—Rachel Maddow, host of  The Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC
"I've imbibed every drink in this book; whether I can recall all the nights spent at PDT is another story. Jim Meehan has written a manifesto for aspiring drunks and bartenders alike." —David Chang, chef/owner of Momofuku

About the Author

Jim Meehan is one of the most celebrated figures in the drinks industry. Before opening PDT, he worked in major New York restaurants and bars, including Five Points, Gramercy Tavern, and The Pegu Club. He is a contributing editor of Food & Wine magazine's annual cocktail book, Mr. Boston's Bartender Guide, and Sommelier Journal. Meehan has been recognized as a rising star mixologist by Star Chefs Online Culinary Magazine, Cheers Magazine and as the 2009 American Bartender of the Year at Tales of the Cocktail. He lives in New York City's East Village.
Chris Gall has created designs for clients that include Ford, Nike, Pepsi, Shell Oil, Sony, McDonald's, and U.S. Steel. His work has been showcased in virtually every major publication in America, including Time, Newsweek, Forbes, People and the New York Times. Millions of New Yorkers will recognize Chris's “Flying Fish,” displayed by the MTA for over a year in countless underground subway cars. He has received over 50 major awards from the likes of the Society of Illustrators, Communication Arts Magazine, The New York Art Directors Club, and Print Magazine. Gall has authored and illustrated four children's books, including America the Beautiful, Dear Fish, There's Nothing To Do On Mars, and Dinotrux, which was a 2009 Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book. He lives in Tucson, Arizona.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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By diegompj on Aug. 16 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
best bartender's buy ! beautifully illustrated and designed. so much information and learning available
get it now!
or stay in the past!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 67 reviews
54 of 56 people found the following review helpful
An essential book -- belongs on every cocktail lover's shelf Oct. 27 2011
By David Montgomery - Published on
Format: Hardcover
A lot of cocktail books are published every year, some of them containing thousands of recipes, some of them focusing on only a few dozen. Many of these books aren't especially useful, presenting recipes chosen with little care or attention to detail. With books like that, it's caveat emptor and bibitor.

Not so with Jim Meehan's PDT Cocktail Book, an essential volume from one of the cocktail world's brightest stars. Meehan is the manager of PDT, one of New York's most celebrated cocktail bars. Prior to that he worked under Audrey Sanders at Pegu Club. His credentials are impeccable.

As soon as you pick it up, you know this is a quality book; substantial and well bound, with thick glossy paper. The illustrations (by Chris Gall) are bright, colorful, whimsical and eye-catching.

The PDT Cocktail Book shares Meehan's advice on designing a bar, stocking spirits and choosing the right ingredients and glassware, along with his tips and techniques for properly mixing drinks. A novice mixologist can pick up this book and gain a solid introduction to the subject, even if they have little or no knowledge to begin with. But the experienced bartender will also find much to learn from here.

The heart of The PDT Cocktail Book is, of course, the drinks. It contains over 300 recipes: about half of them original drinks served at PDT, along with many classic cocktails, plus some new suggestions from friends and colleagues. This isn't a hodgepodge of random recipes either. These are hand-picked and tested; the real drinks as served in a world-class bar.

The ingredients and instructions for each drink are clearly spelled out. But Meehan goes one step further, including (where possible) the provenance of the drink, giving credit to the person who invented it. As such, The PDT Cocktail Book represents a valuable volume of cocktail history, helping those who are interested to trace the origins of various cocktails. (Along those lines, it also contains an excellent bibliography.)

Another interesting thing Meehan does is recommend specific brands of spirits for all the recipes. Thus we see that he makes his gin and tonics with Tanqueray, his Martinis with Plymouth, and his Aviations with Beefeater. These aren't hard and fast rules; they're simply guidelines, telling us how they make the drinks at PDT. They represent a starting point for building the flavor profile of the drink. You can (and should) try combinations of your own.

Meehan's book will appeal most to those who already have an interest in and facility with mixology. Any bartender would be strongly urged to buy this right away. But even the amateur will enjoy this beautiful book.

If you have any interest in drinking well, you will appreciate thumbing through it. There are so many interesting ideas for ways of combining flavors here. It also teaches a lot about spirits and how to use them. If you don't have the ingredients to make the drinks at home, copy the recipes down and take them to your favorite bartender and let him/her mix them for you.

The PDT Cocktail Book joins Gary Regan's The Joy of Mixology and Dale Degroff's The Craft of the Cocktail as the indispensable monographs on modern cocktails and spirits. It belongs on every cocktail lover's shelf.

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93 of 108 people found the following review helpful
Good, but not great, cocktail book Nov. 26 2011
By Jude A. Higdon - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I am a big fan of Meehan's, and I was very excited to see this volume published. Meehan's is one of the most authoritative and inventive voices on the subject of cocktails, both classic and modern, and this entry into the crowded world of cocktail books is decidedly highly anticipated.

To be fair, this is, undoubtedly, an excellent cocktail book. It contains interesting twists on some classic staples (Benton's Old-Fashioned, with bacon-infused bourbon, por ejemplo) as well as some interesting original concoctions from the PDT menu. Some of the boutique items, such as complicated syrups and infused versions of liquors, have detailed instructions on how to go about making your own version at home -- which is quite thoughtful and a mitzvah. The illustrations are whimsical and fun, and the book has the feel of something worth having -- it is nicely bound and solid in a way that few books are these days. It even has a nice satin-feeling bookmark so you don't have to dog-ear pages to remember where you want to go for the next round once you're a few drinks in.

There are, however, several downsides to this book, in my opinion. First, and probably most relevant, is that specific makes and models are suggested for each liquor in each drink. This would be fine, if the authors indicated the rationale for the suggested bottle and provided some guidance on substitution suggestions. Because they fail to explain WHY they choose a specific vintage (Beefeater gin for this drink, Hayman's Old Tom for that one), the reader is left with the impression that one needs 30 different bottles of gin to make 30 different drinks. This approach may make sense for a fancy cocktail bar in Manhattan, but the authors have now ventured into non-enterprise cocktail making, and they need to be more reasonable about what the amateur cocktailier knows and can reasonably access as she or he plays with these very inventive recipes.

The other somewhat major challenge with the book is the fact that the drinks themselves are never pictured. Over the past year I've been working my way through many of the recipes in Esquire magazine's classic "The Drink Book", and this has been my biggest frustration -- for some obscure drinks with boutique ingredients, one never quite knows if you've gotten it "right". In the absence of lickable paper or a buddy who makes all the classics and can critique your technique, the best way for a novice to benchmark their end results is to have a picture of what a finished version of the cocktail looks like (well, that and drink it and see if it's delicious). Those images, even in illustration form, are decidedly absent from this book, which feels like a bad editorial decision.

There are other minor items that could have transformed this good book into a great book. When I blog about cocktails, I often try to provide some context for the drink to help guide people to something that they might like -- this drink is on the sweeter side, that one has a more tropical feel, this other is probably most appropriate for someone who loves a good belt of Scotch early in the morning, whatever, just something to give people a little organizer in their heads around what they might experience in the drink. Those discussion are missing from this (and most) cocktail books, much to my chagrin.

Overall, these little oversights (or editorial omissions) add up, and by the end the book sums up to less than it could have been. And yet...despite the challenges, it remains a good book with great recipes that will no doubt distinguish itself among the din of cocktail books entering the market this year. Its definitely worth having, but if you're a true newbie in this space, I'd start off with Dale Degroff's book and work your way up to this one.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
At first I disliked it, but then... April 5 2012
By Mark Twain - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Let's get the obvious out of the way: this book is beautiful, with an extensive list of drinks and an enviable pedigree. Regardless of anything else I write in this review, this is a lovely gift for anyone even vaguely interested in the cocktail arts.

But I must admit that my initial reaction was a sigh. I received the book as a gift and immediately started flipping through to see the recipes, only to find a plethora of prescribed brands and obscure ingredients. It was disheartening.

At first. What I realized later was that I'd been hoping for a true beginner's cocktail book, something of a primer with flexibility in ingredient choice. And for that purpose, I can't really recommend the PDT book. It's advanced - delightfully so - but it will be overwhelming to someone who doesn't already know their way around the classics (and some popular moderns, too).

However, as an intermediate or advanced cocktail book, the PDT book is wonderful. It really introduces you to a new suite of ingredients and the brand specifics do act as a nice starting point for the recipes. I think substitutions and suggestions would have been nice or, at the very least, some reasons for why the specific brands were picked, but that's excusable due to inventiveness of the recipes.

TL;DR - This is a great book, but it's not an appropriate first for an aspiring cocktailian to build their basic repertoire. For that, go check out The Joy of Mixology instead. Nevertheless, the PDT book DOES have a place on every bartender's bookshelf for when the basics just don't cut it anymore.
23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant, Utterly Brilliant Feb. 15 2012
By Camping Enthusist - Published on
Format: Hardcover
After reading the review "Good, but not great, cocktail book" by Jude I decided to write my own review of this book to set things right. As stated in the foreword that David Wondrich penned, this is the book that others wish they had written. No level of detail is spared; no secrets held back from this celebrated cocktail haunt. The content, format and illustrations are transcendent. To give it 3 stars because it lacks pictures of cocktails or descriptions of how a cocktail tastes, is like saying Shakespeare should have included cliff's notes, illustrated each scene and made a note about how the audience should feel. If the world came to and unfortunate end and cocktails revered to vodka martinis, a millenia later this book would be the Rosetta Stone that would bring back a cocktail renaissance.

Dave Catania
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
A must have! Nov. 23 2011
By Henry B - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The PDT Cocktail Book could be well be the new Savoy cocktail book. There is something for everyone from home mixologists just finding there love for cocktails, right thought to people trying to open a bar. The recipes, layout and artwork make this one of the most readable cocktail books I own, it has everything to be a classic.
The criticism that I can see being levied at it is the inclusions of brand names which many see as advertising, however as a professional mixologist I can assure you this is a very useful inclusion, it helps you gain an understanding the balance and delicate flavors of a drink, which becomes especially important when making substitutions.
This book has become my go to book when looking to make a new cocktail. Simply - a must have!