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Book Review: The PDT Cocktail Book

By now, you've probably heard of The PDT Cocktail Book: The Complete Bartender's Guide from the Celebrated Speakeasy by Jim Meehan. 

PDT Cocktail Book High Res

With the many wonderful illustrations by Chris Gall, the book is basically a modern Savoy Cocktail Book. Its 300+ recipes include both the classic canon of cocktails and recent inventions, with a particular focus on the drinks served at PDT and in New York by other notable bartenders. And unlike the Savoy Cocktail Book, all of the recipes' creators are noted. 

One unusual aspect to the book is that every recipe includes specific brands to use in it. That's both a pro and a con: By knowing the specific brands you'll know exactly how to make the drink as it is made at PDT, one of the most-respected bars in the world, but this also makes the prospect of making a large portion of the recipes very daunting lest you screw them up with the wrong ingredients.  

Many of the ingredients are are unusual and hard- or impossible- to find. Not just the base spirits (which can be more easily substituted with others if you know enough about the brand called for), but particularly modifiers, such as Clear Creek Kirschwasser, Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos "Red Label", and Amaro Ciociaro.  As this New York Times story implies, making many of the drinks in the book as directed is a very expensive proposition. 

Regardless of your feelings on that, the PDT Cocktail Book is a new essential cocktail book to own and I'm sure it will be cited in the future as much as many of the books we consider classics today. 

And if you'd like to see a simple recipe, I put one up on in my weekly blog over there. The drink is the Le Pere Bis, by Jim Meehan. It contains Ardbeg, St. Germain, honey, and chamomile tea. Yum. 

Le pere bis2m

The recipe is here.