Jim Meehan


Over the course of the next series of posts I’m going to share the recipes of some of the luminaries that attend, and mix drinks at, Tales of the Cocktail.

One of my favorite events at Tales every year is the Cocktail Hour, an event that gathers the who’s who of the cocktail world into one room, and then forces them to make alcoholic beverages for lucky chumps like me. Now normally I would walk around the room taking pictures of each bar star, note their recipe and post here. Unfortunately this year the lighting in the rooms was quite poor, and I’m a horrible photographer of people, so the combination of both ensured that many of my pictures did not turn out. To add to my incompetence, this year Tales didn’t offer cards detailing the recipes at each table, in an effort to boost sales of this year’s Tales Cocktail Book I suspect. This would have been fine and dandy, but unfortunately all the recipes didn’t make it into the book so some drinks were omitted due to this lack of recipe. Anywho, enough compunctions, let’s get to our first bartender deity of the series and his recipes.

From his Tales biography we get this about Jim Meehan:

Jim Meehan’s career in the restaurant business began in 1995 while studying English Literature and African American Studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He worked his way from doorman to manager at both State Street Brats and Paul’s Club between bartending stints at The Great Dane and Café Montmartre.

One year after receiving his diploma in 2001, he moved to New York City and landed his first job at Five Points Restaurant on Great Jones Street. Two years later, he opened Pace, an ambitious Italian restaurant where he managed the bar and worked on the floor as a sommelier. When Pace closed, he spent over two years rebuilding the cocktail program at Gramercy Tavern while shaking drinks for renowned mixologist and mentor, Audrey Saunders at The Pegu Club. He currently runs PDT, a hidden cocktail lounge in the East Village where his work has been recognized by rising star awards from Star Chefs in 2007 and Cheers Magazine in 2009.

In addition to his work behind the bar, Jim is a contributing editor of Food & Wine Magazine’s annual cocktail book, Mr. Boston’s Bartender Guide and Sommelier Journal, a monthly trade magazine that features his bartender column. He has developed cocktails for numerous spirits companies, lectured at local and international trade shows and works as a wine and spirits educator.

Jim and his cocktails have been featured in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine, New York Magazine, Time Out New York, Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Imbibe, Details, The Malt Advocate and Wine Enthusiast.

Unfortunately, what the Tales website does not say is how great and down to earth of a guy Jim is. He always has a smile on his face and always has an ear to lend; not easy feats when you consider how many people want a piece of his time. It is thanks to Jim that I was able to work on this year’s Food & Wine 2009 Cocktail Guide and have drinks in two editions of Mr. Boston Bartender’s Guide. He was even kind enough to name a drink after me and put it on his menu at PDT. If that wasn’t enough for you, he had to go and win this year’s American Bartender of the Year at Tales. It’s almost enough to make you want to hate the guy, but to do so would be an act of foolishness and unnecessary jealousy, so instead you should just mix up one of his concoctions and toast Jim, who, for one day at least, was King of New York.


1 ½ oz Plymouth gin
¾ oz grapefruit juice
½ oz Pernod absinthe
½ oz simple syrup
¼ oz anisette
3 slices cucumber (+1 for garnish)
6 mint leaves
add cucumber, mint and simple to a mixing glass and muddle
add everything else with ice
shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with pebble ice
garnish with a cucumber wheel


2 oz Jose Cuervo Platino
1 oz lime juice
½ oz Dry sack
¼ oz Benedictine
1 teaspoon St Dalfour Royal Fig
slice of fig
add all into iced mixing glass
shake and fine strain into a chilled coupe
garnish with a slice of fig


2 oz rye
¾ oz Dubonnet
¼ oz Fernet Branca
¼ oz St. Germain
stir with ice
strain into a chilled cocktail glass
garnish with a lemon twist
**a perfect example of why he’s a better man than I. He took one of my recipes, added Dubonnet and bettered the drink.

(Seriously though Jim, congrats and thanks for your support throughout the years.)


Jim Meehan

Drinks by Jim Meehan
Unworthy picture by:
Jamie Boudreau