My planned Christmas gift for Craig this year was a copy of The P.D.T. Cocktail Book by Jim Meehan and Chris Gall, based on the drinks at P.D.T. (Please Don’t Tell) in New York which was just named the best bar in the world by Drinks International. It’s a bar that’s hidden inside a hot dog restaurant; to get there you have to go through a telephone booth. Any time that I ever tried to go there, I was always turned away and told to make a reservation next time. But I’m not bitter over bitters. As things worked out, I was sent a press copy of The P.D.T. book last week and even though I could’ve saved it to give Craig on December 24th (or is it the 25th that you give gifts? This Jew doesn’t understand Christmas) I decided to give it to him now. And Craig, who’s often aspired to building up our bar and making drinks for our dinner parties, couldn’t have been more delighted.
The book really is gorgeous. The illustrations give it the feel of a graphic novel and the instructions–from what kind of glasses to buy to how to flame a citrus twist–are incredibly useful. Aware that we’d be having guests last Thursday (the night that I made the porchetta), we decided to visit a nifty bartending store in Silverlake called Barkeeper to get ourselves ready for Craig to make the drinks:
Here’s Craig studying his options:
He decided to get a two-piece cocktail shaker (most have three pieces) that came recommended by the man who owns the store. We also bought egg coupes; the preferred vessel for drinks at P.D.T. (as opposed to martini glasses):
(You can see the egg coupe in the middle of the second shelf.)
Then it was time to buy the alcohol. Craig decided that for his first feat of bartending he was going to make Sidecars. That’s been his favorite drink since we enjoyed them at Bar Centrale (another hidden bar) in New York’s theater district. To make the P.D.T. Sidecar, you need Rémy Martin V.S.O.P. Cognac, Cointreau, lemon juice and simple syrup, all of which you can see here (along with some decorative gourds):
Simple syrup couldn’t be easier to make: just mix equal parts sugar and water in a pot, turn up the heat until the sugar melts (it should come to a bare simmer). Turn the heat off, allow it to cool and then chill it in the refrigerator.
Your next step is to rim your coupes with sugar. To do that, pour some sugar into a pie plate and lemon juice into a wide bowl. Dip the rim of your glass in the lemon juice first, then the sugar.
There you are, a rimmed glass:
Carefully place your rimmed coupes into the freezer so they chill.
As for the drink, the ratio is 2 ounces Cognac:
.75 ounces Cointreau:
.75 ounces lemon juice:
And .25 ounces simple syrup.
That makes one drink so you should double that if you’re serving two people. Into the shaker it goes with “10 to 12 cubic ounces of 1.25 inch ice cubes” and you shake shake shake “for 8 to 12 seconds”:
The hard part is getting the top off the shaker–it creates something of a vacuum seal:
Once off, use a strainer to strain the drink into your chilled glasses:
And there you are, a perfect Sidecar:
It’s a refreshing, bracing, slightly sour, slightly sweet start to a meal. Get yourself a shaker, a strainer, some egg coupes, Cognac, and Cointreau and you’ll be making sidecars in no time. Who needs to go the real P.D.T. when you can create your own P.D.T. at home?