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November 23, 2011

The PDT Cocktail Book

Cynthia Sin-Yi Cheng

Please Do Tell!

One of my favorite places to take out-of-town guests is the cocktail mecca PDT (Please Don’t Tell) in the East Village. My friends have found the experience especially amusing: you enter via the Crif Dogs shop front, proceed to the telephone booth to ring in and then, bam, you enter the hidden world of PDT. In The PDT Cocktail Book, managing partner and chief mixologist, Jim Meehan, reveals every curious detail of this secret world, from both sides of the bar.

Meehan’s book is exceptionally entertaining for a reference book, combining over 300 clear and thorough recipes and instructions (including intricate information on everything from equipment to syrup recipes) with poignant illustrations by Chris Gall that whimsically evoke the essence of the cocktails. Meehan also credits every cocktail with the name of its creator and date it was first made — intimate little details for the reader to connect with. The book’s unique specificity is what distinguishes it from other more basic reference guides. Each cocktail almost becomes a character, so much that the book could actually make for good bedtime reading, each recipe conjuring up its own specific dreamland.

Readers seeking more comprehensive information about cocktails beyond the world of PDT will appreciate the concluding chapter, “The Bartender’s Library,” a helpful guide to other books on the history of cocktails.

Here’s an example cocktail: Flying Dutchman. Click on the recipe box to the right.