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The PDT Cocktail Book: The Complete Bartender's Guide from the Celebrated Speakeasy Hardcover – November 1, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This IS the book you are looking for if you are a budding mixologist. My bookshelf contains all the essential 30 books (regan, degroff, death and co, etc etc). Read morePublished 5 days ago by jg
A great book with fantastic illustrations and a wealth of recipes!
Hard cover and looks great on the shelf or on the bar top. Read more
I have a love / hate relationship with this book - on the pro side it's a gorgeous book. Full color, beautiful illustrations, a very unique and timeless look, that's also a handy... Read morePublished 1 month ago by BRK212
The bartenders behind PDT are absolute, mad geniuses. If you want to make a cocktail that will blow your customers' or your friends' minds, this is the book to get. Read morePublished 1 month ago by C.J. Capdeville
One of the best modern cocktail books out there. PDT is a cool little speakeasy in New York with a secret entrance and an even cooler cocktail list. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Anna A.
This is a good cocktail book if you're looking for a pure quantity of cocktails. The problem I have is that it suffers against others in its category, specifically the Dead Rabbit... Read morePublished 2 months ago by J. Brinkman
Good book from a place that was great before it got so popular that you can't get in anymore.Published 3 months ago by Chris F.