PDT At Home

A Blood & Sand cocktail, made from Jim Meehan's PDT Cocktail Book

We’ve seen so many great cookbooks come out in 2011, books for every palate and skill level. In the weeks leading up to the holidays, we wanted to share a few of our favorite selections that would also make great gifts. From cocktails to carnitas, from sauté to sous-vide, the books range from gorgeous coffee table additions to workhorses that will never leave your kitchen.

As our holiday gift to you, our reader, we’re going to be giving away a copy of each book that we feature over the coming weeks. Scroll down to the bottom of the post to see how you can win!

Congratulations to Amanda, the winner of our PDT Cocktail Book giveaway!

The PDT Cocktail Book, by Jim Meehan

For last week’s giveaway, we cooked from the Eleven Madison Park cookbook, a massive and gorgeous tome detailing almost every dish they serve, step-by-step. It’s no surprise that we were in need of a drink afterward!

Enter this week’s book: The PDT Cocktail Book. After spending a few weeks perusing, we can honestly tell you that this is the only cocktail book you will ever need in your library.

While we love some of the more old-school books, this book combines the best of the old with the best of the new, along with complete guides to bar tools, techniques and ingredients.

Crif Dogs, home to famed speakeasy bar PDT, or Please Don't Tell

Short for Please Don’t Tell, PDT is one of the city’s most celebrated speakeasy-style bars. The East Village bar is tucked away inside a popular hot dog shop, Crif Dogs.

Once you’ve descended into Crif, you enter PDT by stepping into a tucked away telephone booth, where a door magically appears, transporting you to a sleek bar.

The interior of Crif Dogs, where the phone booth entrance to Please Don't Tell is located

Jim Meehan, the author of the book, is also PDT’s owner and main bartender. Meehan’s menu is heavily rooted in classic cocktails, many with his own unique touch or updated ingredients. The book features a lot of these favorites, in addition to Meehan’s creations and some favorites from other well-known New York City bartenders.

The first cocktail we attempted from the book was an Old Flame. If you’re hunting for the post-Thanksgiving dinner drink to impress (terrify?) your in-laws, we’ve found it.

Ingredients for an Old Flame cocktail, including Plymouth Gin, Green Chartreuse, egg and lemon

This drink is a variation of a cocktail called Neptune’s Wrath, created by Toby Maloney, who happens to be the head bartender at my favorite Chicago bar, The Violet Hour.

Cervantes Ramirez, a bartender at our beloved Little Branch here in the West Village, served up a flaming adaptation several winters ago, “to the delight of our guests,” Meehan writes.

Pouring gin in an Old Flame cocktail from the PDT Cocktail Book

First, we mixed a 3/4 ounce of fresh lemon juice, 3/4 ounce simple syrup, 1 egg white and 2 ounces of Plymouth gin in a shaker. After giving it a good dry shake, we added ice, shook again and then strained.

Flaming green chartreuse tops the Old Flame cocktail

Then, the fun part. The Old Flame’s name is not a misnomer. Ramirez’s recipe calls for a 1/2 ounce of flaming Green Chartreuse V.E.P. to be poured over the final product.

Green Chartreuse V.E.P. (Vieillissement Exceptionnellement Prolonge) is quite expensive, so we used regular Green Chartreuse that we had on hand.

The Old Flame cocktail, with gin, chartreuse, lemon and egg white

We lit the chartreuse while it was still in the jigger and then poured the blue flame over the surface of the drink. (And no, nothing burned down in the flaming process!) The final product had just a mellow hint of chartreuse.

The second drink had no flaming accoutrements, but it definitely didn’t need them.

The Blood & Sand, a drink first introduced in Harry Craddock’s Savoy Cocktail Book, is named after the 1922 film by the same name. Meehan notes that Craddock’s original recipe calls for equal parts of each ingredient, but we think Meehan’s adaptation is a little more nuanced.

Juicing an orange for a Blood & Sand cocktail

We juiced an orange to start, and then mixed a 3/4 ounce of orange juice with a 1/2 ounce of Cherry Heering, a 1/2 ounce of Carpano Antica sweet vermouth and 1 1/2 ounces of Famous Grouse blended scotch whisky. Shake, then strain into a coupe.

A Blood & Sand cocktail and its ingredients

One thing I’ve enjoyed about this book is how Meehan is very specific with what label of spirit he uses in each drink. This cocktail is a perfect example. While the Blood & Sand is a classic that is tough to mess up, Meehan’s specifications for Carpano Antica and Famous Grouse take the drink to the next level.

The book also has detailed sections on creating various syrups and other house-made mixers. Even the foodies won’t be excluded—the Crif Dogs’ hot dog recipes have their own chapter. (And these aren’t just any “dogs”; most of the recipes were created by top chefs, including David Chang, Wylie Dufresne and Daniel Humm.)

Want your own copy? Leave a comment telling us: what’s your favorite classic cocktail? Thanks to all who entered!

– Ryan and Laura


  1. Kate (Embarrassment of Riches)
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 09:20:29

    We revisited PDT two weeks ago! There’s a cocktail on their list right now – the Salty Shores – that is incredible.

    My favorite classic cocktail is a Jerry Thomas Manhattan (the ratios are switched so that it’s heavier on the sweet vermouth and lighter on the rye). Using Carpano Antica is a must! It’s the best bottle on my bar cart.


    • Chelsea
      Nov 22, 2011 @ 12:28:18

      Love me a good Alexander. I actually went to Little Branch for a birthday, and the bartender gave me a really nice variant of one.
      I wish alcohol actually conferred some nutrition, then I could justify a nice cocktail every few days


  2. Dana
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 09:31:41

    I was so excited when I heard that PDT was putting out a book! I’m a rye Manhattan girl myself, with Blood & Sand coming in at a close second.


  3. Liv
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 10:05:19

    I love that you sneak through a hotdog place to get to this place, feels real Prohibition!
    My fave is the Tricolore (darn you, European roots): gin, Manzilla sherry and limoncello. I had it first in the Grovesnor in London (where they bring you the recipes of your drinks with the check!) and then made it using homemade limoncello (which, fyi, is a cinch). Hope you think it sounds tasty!


    • Smith & Ratliff
      Nov 22, 2011 @ 10:50:54

      Liv, that sounds amazing! We made sort of an imitation limoncello the other day (non-alcoholic), but I know nothing beats the real thing.


  4. Vanessa
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 10:06:53

    I’m just a huge fan of the highball, the Greyhound. A surprising number of people don’t actually what it is (gin and grapefruit juice), but I loooove it.

    The best cocktail I ever had, though, was some sort of cilantro martini that I got at the most amazing restaurant in London. I will never forget how slow I sipped to try to make it last as long as possible!


  5. Annie
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 10:53:38

    About once every two months, I start to crave a Peach Blow Fizz. PDT makes a great one, although I have to give Milk & Honey credit for introducing me to my favorite.


  6. Please Don’t Tell « Delicious Musings
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 11:12:17

    […] Pictures and more information on Smith & Ratliff. […]


  7. Pete
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 11:43:02

    Love the Mai tai


  8. sam
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 12:13:03

    nothing better than a french 75- and nothing worse than the hangover the next day after a few too many!


  9. Gina
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 13:43:56

    I need to visit PDT! Thanks to a visit to New Orleans, my favorite old school cocktail is a toss-up between the Ramos Gin Fizz or Sazerac.


  10. Laura
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 15:09:44


    I am a big fan of PDT, though I hate that there’s always a wait. But if you can’t get in you can pop round the corner to Death & Co. or Momofuku Saaam Bar, which has my favorite drink:

    The Bees Knees!

    See my blog below for links to the recipe and other favorite cocktails:


    • Smith & Ratliff
      Nov 22, 2011 @ 10:49:04

      Laura, you’ll be thrilled to know that the Bee’s Knees is in the book! I made one the other night.


  11. Janet
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 17:33:06

    I love a good mojito, but lately I’ve been on a whiskey cocktail kick. I just recently tried Blood and Sand at The Aviary in Chicago (didn’t even realize it was a classic), and loved it. Been looking at getting this book for Christmas – would love to win a copy!


  12. matt
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 17:48:27

    Since this post inspires me to stay on a Chartreuse-y kick, I’ll say the Scofflaw (the one with the Chartreuse, not the one with grenadine) or the Last Word are my favorite oldskool drinks. Would like to visit PDT someday…..


  13. Sarah
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 20:54:37

    My favorite is the classic cocktail, St. Germain and champagne with a lemon twist. Appealing to completely different tastebuds, I love anything with Pimm’s, especially Pimm’s rangoon. :)


  14. Alena
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 21:48:29

    This book looks fantastic!! My favorite is a mojito – – I keep trying to make them myself, but I can’t quite conquer the drink.


  15. Jacqueline
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 22:08:51

    My favorite is mojitos in the summertime!


  16. Erin
    Nov 21, 2011 @ 23:35:15

    I love a gin gimlet.


  17. JK
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 00:24:12

    My favorite vintage cocktail is one that became the namesake of another excellent NY watering hole, the Pegu Club Cocktail. It’s the one that really kick-started me on the magic of vintage cocktails. It’s bracing, crisp, the perfect thing for a blazing hot day when you just want to lay on a tile floor and watch the ceiling fan spin…


  18. Ben
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 00:25:48

    Well, my classic go to cocktail has to be the negroni. We recently barrel aged our own negronis in French oak: Plymouth gin, Carpano Antica and Campari. Round two is Beefeater, Punt E Mes and Campari. We’ll give it a taste in a few weeks and see how it’s coming along.


  19. brian dressel
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 02:30:51

    Great write-up on a great book.

    As far as classics go. I find myself always coming back to a well-made Martinez. The room for expierimentation is endless…old tom, london dry, genever… different vermouths, different bitters, different sweetening agents. Haven’t found one I dislike yet.


    • Smith & Ratliff
      Nov 22, 2011 @ 10:47:34

      Brian, I’ve been on a Martinez kick lately too. I agree—impossible to make a bad one!


  20. Sherill
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 08:30:02

    Being from Texas…we take our margaritas very seriously….but I prefer a Mexican Martini or a Tangerine Mojito from Maria Maria…Pimm’s is also the bomb!


  21. Danielle
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 09:20:08

    As a DC girl, I like a DC drink–the gin rickey. Basically a gin and tonic with some lime fizz. It always does the trick.


  22. Jaime
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 13:23:15

    Love the write up of the book. I’m partial to a Salty Dog (Greyhound with margarita salt on the rim), especially with fresh squeezed juice.


  23. Zack
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 14:01:56

    I like a Rye Manhattan, but will happily make a fruit salad Pimm’s Cup on a hot summer day.


  24. Katie
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 17:08:15

    Love the blog and the book of cocktails sounds great. I love a French 75- definitely my favorite classic!


  25. kara
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 19:37:42

    i’d have to go with a french martini as my favorite classic cocktail…though now that i think about it, i’m not one hundred percent sure how “classic” that really is


  26. Alissa
    Nov 22, 2011 @ 21:01:08

    Definitely have to go with an Old Fashioned!


  27. Ashley
    Nov 23, 2011 @ 06:21:29

    I am a huge fan of the Negroni… how can you go wrong with gin, vermouth and Campari?? So glad I found your blog – I share the Texas roots!


  28. Linda Lawler
    Nov 23, 2011 @ 17:28:09

    Just browsed through this book at Barnes & Noble in DC. Was going to put in on my Christmas list. My favorite classic cocktail is the “sidecar.” it makes me feel like a grownup with each sip.


  29. Jennifer
    Nov 23, 2011 @ 20:53:31

    I’m a Manhattan girl, and apparently am not alone!


  30. Diana
    Nov 24, 2011 @ 03:45:42

    The Bee’s Knees will do it for me.


  31. Diana J
    Nov 24, 2011 @ 11:49:57

    On behalf of my husband, Geoff- Nutty Italian Martini. This is a concoction of: two parts Vodka, one part Frangelico, one part Amaretto. Shaken, serve up.


  32. jessica clare
    Nov 26, 2011 @ 22:39:58

    My fave is the Airmail. I would love this book!!


  33. Amanda
    Nov 27, 2011 @ 08:57:24

    I’m an Old Fashioned kind of girl. Perfection!


  34. Reagan
    Nov 27, 2011 @ 15:13:35

    Gorgeous book! I’d gladly make a place for it in my home, while sipping a Sazerac.


  35. Danila Filatov
    Jul 16, 2013 @ 13:14:47

    my favorite old fashioned cocktails are gin tonic, mojito and of course pina colada which i am drinking whilst I’m writing this comment


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