“A knowledge-filled tome for true cocktail nerds or those aspiring to be” (Esquire), from one of the world’s most acclaimed bartenders
WINNER OF THE JAMES BEARD AWARD • WINNER OF THE TALES OF THE COCKTAIL SPIRITED AWARD® FOR BEST NEW COCKTAIL OR BARTENDING BOOK • IACP AWARD FINALIST
Meehan’s Bartender Manual is acclaimed mixologist Jim Meehan’s magnum opus—and the first book of the modern era to explain the bar industry from the inside out. With chapters that mix cocktail history with professional insights from experts all over the world, this deep dive covers it all: bar design, menu development, spirits production, drink mixing technique, the craft of service and art of hospitality, and more.
The book also includes recipes for 100 cocktails culled from the classic canon and Meehan’s own storied career. Each recipe reveals why Meehan makes these drinks the way he does, offering unprecedented access to a top bartender’s creative process.
Whether you’re a professional looking to take your career to the next level or an enthusiastic amateur interested in understanding the how and why of mixology, Meehan’s Bartender Manual is the definitive guide.
"Absolutely necessary for any spirits dork."
—Christine Muhlke, Bon Appetit
“There’s much more to being a good bartender than being able to quickly and efficiently make great cocktails. Yes, Meehan addresses cocktail recipes, what ingredients tools and techniques to deploy to make great drinks, but importantly this book is about much more than just mixing cocktails. Anyone who absorbs the pages on spirits will have more than passable knowledge of each of the spirit categories, and anyone who’s serious about bar management, or indeed any aspect of bar operations should read this book.”
—Simon Difford, Difford’s Guide
"One of the most recognizable names in the bar world brings you the ultimate cocktail guide, complete with recipes, origin stories and hacks—because not owning an esoteric bottle of bitters shouldn''t hold you back from a good drink. There are also floor plans of bars around the world and deep-cut cocktail facts for those who want to geek out."
—Abby Reisner, Tasting Table
"For anyone obsessed with cocktails and their unique subculture, this book will be fascinating and essential, a heady tome that pores over the origins of whiskey and gin like a graduate school volume."
—Matthew Kang, Eater
"Jim Meehan was among the pioneers of the craft cocktail movement, opening PDT in Manhattan in 2007. “Meehan’s Bartender Manual” is exactly what the title promises: a manual for professional bartenders. But it will make a welcome addition to the library of any serious at-home drink maker."
—Wayne Curtis, The Wall Street Journal
“There are hundreds of bar books that focus on cocktail recipes or history, but few really explore the art and practicalities of bartending. Jim Meehan strives to write a modern handbook on par with the 1862 book,
Jerry Thomas'' Bartenders Guide. Meehan whips through cocktail history basics and features in-depth recipes for classic cocktails, but the best sections look at what it means to run a bar today. [..]Meehan’s book is designed for everyone from newcomers to the bar industry to seasoned bar owners who are always seeking new ways to improve their establishment.”
—Amy Cavanaugh, Plate
"When he opened New York’s PDT in 2007, Jim Meehan helped kick off the speakeasy trend, and in 2012, the bar scored the first James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program. Now Meehan has distilled his bar expertise into this combination recipe book and bar industry guide. "
—Jason Horn, The Daily Beast
"Jim Meehan’s ''Bartender Manual'' a must-read for pros, home mixologists alike."
“Award-winning bartender Jim Meehan is one of a handful of drinks nerds who’s had a profound impact on the cocktail scene in America: the “modern speakeasy” he made his name at, PDT, is still a must-visit NYC bar ten years after opening thanks to its innovative and excellent drinks. Now, he’s taken a lifetime of knowledge and distilled it into a detailed bible of bartending that covers history, technique, tools and ingredients, plus 100 classic cocktail recipes and a sprinkling of invaluable insight from some of the world’s top bartenders.”
"A knowledge-filled tome for true cocktail nerds or those apsiring to be—it has insights from the who''s-who of the bar-and-spirits world and perfected recipes of classics drinks."
Jim Meehan is a renowned bartender and author of
The PDT Cocktail Book. He worked at some of New York City’s most revered restaurants and bars, including Gramercy Tavern and Pegu Club, before opening the James Beard Award–winning bar PDT in 2007. In addition to writing for
Tasting Table, Lucky Peach, and
Sommelier Journal, Meehan served as an editor for
Food & Wine magazine’s annual cocktail book and Mr. Boston Official Bartender’s Guide. He and his family reside in Portland, Oregon, where he runs the consulting firm Mixography, Inc.
In the spirit of Craddock’s
The Savoy Cocktail Book, my first book,
The PDT Cocktail Book, was a snapshot of what I hope many will fondly recall as a seminal moment in cocktail history. It’s a recipe book first and foremost, documenting the popular ingredients and proportions used to make classic and contemporary cocktails at the time of its publication.
In this book, instead of focusing on a particular time and place, I’ve panned back to address a much more layered subject: bartending itself. I’ll begin with a chapter on the history of the American cocktail, from seventeenth-and eighteenth-century punch to the neoclassical cocktails we drink today. From there, I move onto chapters on bar design, tools and techniques, service, and hospitality. This book does include cocktail recipes—one hundred total, which include classics and my own signatures—plus spirits primers to help stock your bar. Each recipe includes information on the origin of the drink, the “logic” behind why it works, and “hacks” for the curious bartender.
Throughout the book you’ll find insights from more than fifty friends, colleagues, and mentors who’ve shaped my views of the craft of bartending. I’ve included quotes from my former employers, Audrey Saunders and Jimmy Bradley, colleagues like Jeff Bell and Don Lee, icons like Dale DeGroff and David Wondrich, lifelong friends like Brian Bartels and my brother Peter, and spirits producers like Hans Reisetbauer and Beppe Musso. I hope that you’ll be as inspired by them as I have been.
I didn’t learn how to tend bar from reading books. Tending bar is mastered through thousands of hours spent watching, listening, and learning from your colleagues and guests. That said, I hope this book will foster dialogue about how and why we tend bar. Some of my most respected colleagues and friends (even those featured in the book’s portraits) may disagree with the philosophy and practices I’ve outlined here—so I’m sincerely eager for them to weigh in on the conversation. There are many ways to succeed in the bar business; this is mine.