Workhorse

Important cocktails, new and old, all in one book

By now, much of the booze-loving world has picked up a copy of Jim Meehan's The PDT Cocktail Book ($25), though it only came out on Tuesday.

The highly anticipated cocktail tome is straightforward: It forgoes rambling anecdotes to focus instead on recipes for 304 drinks that have appeared on the menu at the book's legendary New York namesake.

Many of the featured drinks are originals from PDT bartenders and colleagues, which have since become touchstones for national trends: the Benton's bacon Old-Fashioned, which launched a riot of fat-washed spirits; a G&T with a recipe for tonic syrup, now a staple of many bars (including ours).

But beyond the inventiveness, we admire the book's archival heart. Meehan takes classic recipes from many of the seminal (and sometimes hard-to-find) cocktail texts: Mr. Boston: Official Bartender's Guide, Byron's The Modern Bartender's Guide, Thomas' Bar-Tenders Guide and Baker's The Gentleman's Companion, to name a few. He then adapts them to the modern palate, elucidating any cloudy instructions (see below for one such relic, renewed).

The result: a utilitarian index (organized alphabetically, like many of the original bar manuals) to a universal cocktail library. Meehan's done the digging for us; all that's left is to mix and drink.

Hanky Panky

Recipe adapted from "The PDT Cocktail Book" by Jim Meehan (Sterling)

Makes one drink

2 ounces Beefeater gin

1½ ounces Carpano Antica sweet vermouth

¼ ounce Fernet Branca

Ice

Orange peel

In a mixing glass, combine the gin, vermouth and Fernet and fill with ice. Stir and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with the orange twist.