We’ve been eagerly awaiting the publication of Liquor.com advisor Jim Meehan’s The PDT Cocktail Book for months, and it’s finally coming out next week. It features the recipe for every cocktail served at Meehan’s award-winning New York bar, as well as advice and a lengthy section about building a bartender’s library. So we asked the talented mixologist, who boasts a large collection himself, to share with us his all-time-favorite spirited volumes. Here they are.
“The Artistry of Mixing Drinks is one of the most intricately decorated bar books ever printed, and among the rarest. The recipes Meier claims as his own, among them the Bee’s Knees, are all marked in the volume. It closes with a section of ‘useful formulas,’ which gives the reader an idea of the breadth of a master bartender’s expertise at the time, including first aid and horse racing!”
“A bar’s legacy is defined not only by the skill of its owner and employees, but also by the people who frequented it. Few cocktail books celebrate a bar’s patrons more explicitly than this one, which is an expanded edition of McElhone’s Harry’s ABC of Mixing Cocktails with illustrations from caricaturist Wynn Holcomb.”
“Before the smartphone became the bartender’s reference tool of choice, alphabetically organized vest-pocket-sized books were used to devise a guest’s recommendations. Instead of cramming in as many recipes as possible, Vermeire picked great drinks and devoted ample space to annotate them.”
“Charles H. Baker must have been a lot of fun; at least his The Gentleman’s Companion (and its sequel, The South American Gentleman’s Companion) makes it seem so. In addition to a host of great recipes compiled during his world tours, Baker captures the conviviality of the time through entertaining stories—a skill all bartenders should hone.”
“Widely considered to be the definitive collection of recipes and published at the apex of the cocktail’s golden age in Europe, The Savoy Cocktail Book is also the most ambitious aesthetically. A renowned stable of head bartenders over the last century, including author Harry Craddock, Ada Coleman, Peter Dorelli and most recently Erick Lorincz, have helped preserve the sterling reputation of this historic London hotel bar.”