PDT At Home
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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