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Meehan's Bartender Manual

4.49  ·  Rating details ·  258 ratings  ·  21 reviews
A stunningly packaged, definitive guide to bar-building from one of the world's most acclaimed bartenders.

Meehan's Bartender Manual is acclaimed mixologist Jim Meehan's magnum opus--and the first book to explain the ins and outs of the modern bar industry. This groundbreaking work chronicles Meehan's storied career in the bar business through practical, enlightening chap
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Ten Speed Press
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Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received a free electronic copy of Meehan's Bartender Manual from NetGalley for my honest review. Although I am not a bartender I quickly discovered that this book was way more than I thought it was going to be. I found out there is a lot more to being a good bartender than serving drinks and knowing how to make them. Meehan goes into great depths of what ingredients are used, tools, and techniques (Propagating the yeast, fermentation, distillation, blending, filtration, bottling, etc.). It ev ...more
Brandon Larson
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
A very beautiful and very pretentious book that is very confused about who it's written for. Half of the manual covers the basics of running a bar - how to lay out a space, develop a menu, and manage staff. The other half is a 101 introduction to various spirits with a handful of cocktail recipes tacked on. So is this manual for aspiring bar managers or for newbies that don't know the ingredients of a martini? The whole conceit of the book is puzzling, and reads much more like the author braggin ...more
January Gray
Apr 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must have book! Easy to follow. Easy to find ingredients. A very impressive volume of work!
Alex Orr
Jul 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Maybe I'm being too harsh, but this one just left me asking, yet again, "How many more books do we on the basic 'classic' cocktails?" Admittedly, if this is one of the better volumes out there on the subject...perhaps the best...but it rarely feels necessary. The handful of original recipes Meehan includes are almost insulting in their dificulty. He even points out that one of them cannot ever be properly re-created because it relies on a proprietary liqueur Meehan ws sourcing from a now defunct ...more
Nov 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I received this book as a digital advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Since my review copy expired before I had a chance to finish reading it, I actually bought the book so I could read it for a review.

I have read my fair share of cocktail books and spirit books in the past two years, but this book was completely like anything that I have ever read. First, it was geared toward professionals in the trade, rather than cocktail enthusiasts and home bartenders. Second, the
Jan 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those interested in fine liquor and cocktails.
By golly, but does Mr. Meehan know his stuff! The descriptions of the drinks alone are wonderfully educational. Whether or not you may actually open a bar of your own, if you have any interest in this stuff this book is a must.

(I did not in actuality read it all in one day. But I spent an enjoyable morning reading enough of it to know that I need a copy for my bookshelf. Not just for the recipes! A man can dream of opening his own bar, can't he?)
Southern Today Gone Tomorrow
Nov 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is not a recipe book, this is a craft book.

And I love it.

Yes, there are drink recipes as well, a whole section dedicated to cocktails, but this may be the best, certainly one of the best, books I have seen that is great both for those in the industry and enthusiasts. This manual, written by Jim Meehan, goes through how to set up a bar, the utensils, how to ice, how to blend, how to make your own simple syrup, to the history of the spirits and how they are made.

I love this book. 

This book is
Feb 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
For my birthday last year, my wife asked our favorite bartender (Mike Dunn, of Misery Loves Co. in Winooski VT, and 2017 Vermont Bartender of the Year) to come to our house and give me a three-hour cocktail lesson. It was brilliant, and it made me smarter not just about drinks but about paying attention, about choice and improvisation, about history and intention.

This book is the text version of that gift, by Jim Meehan of the Portland landmark bar PDX. You'll get some recipes, sure, and a beaut
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: amazon-reviewed
Meehan's Bartender Manual by Jim Meehan is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early October.

Not simply a drink cookbook, but a true manual, Meehan writes comprehensively for someone who is lead bartender (if not an owner) of a bar. There's interior design tips, info on equipment, essential liquor to use/stock, tried and true methods, the absolute basics on service & assisting customers, and, yes, recipes. Debonair, symmetrical, classy, tidy - and that's just the graphic design.
Tony Milani
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Tossup between this, Sasha Petraske's Regarding Cocktails, and Jamie Boudreau's Canon Cocktail Book for my favorite bar books from the standpoint of containing usable information that isn't limited to recipes.

The Death & Co. books and the Dead Rabbit books are okay, but they lag behind the three mentioned above in my opinion.
Jordan J. Andlovec
Aug 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
While not having the prose or flair of say, Charles Baker's "The Gentleman's Companion or David Wondrich's "Imbibe!" The real strengths of this book are the background know-how of a seasoned professional and the stunning photography found in it's pages. I've made a number of drinks out of this and they were all delicious. ...more
Kyle van Oosterum
Jan 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Meehan’s bartender manual is pretty much the only book a bartender has to read. Filled with recipes, tips, techniques, insights into hospitality and the service industry, Meehan has packed a hefty amount of content into this robust manual. Won’t trust someone to make me a drink until they’ve read this one!
Sep 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
A must have for anyone interested in contemporary bartending. Meehan covers everything from bar design and management (of limited interest to the non-professional) to an overview of the major spirits and example recipes.

Not as much of a recipe collection as his earlier PDT Cocktail Book, but drilling much more into the philosophy and techniques. Highly recommended.
Justin Holiman
Apr 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
As a bartender, I found the tremendous amount of detail in Meehan’s guide to be refreshing more than intimidating/overwhelming. I took his suggestions to heart and totally refined not only my drink recipes, but my technique as well. Worth every penny.
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: drinking-culture
The most comprehensive guide written on bartending. From bar design, to running a service, prioritising orders, peppered with interviews and recipes. A handbook for professionals, but brilliant for enthusiasts.
Leandro Machado
Apr 07, 2020 marked it as to-read
#selena send me a copy please!
Jan 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Many compliments for this book, but the indexing is a disappointment. Maybe can be improved in 2nd edition.
Ryan Rummel
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great book for those of us that are in the bar business.
Mar 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Pretty but pretentious book
Rachel Best
Feb 10, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Clear and comprehensive.
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
A lot of love went into writing this book, important read for anyone in the trade.
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Joshua Aaron
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Pat Joyce
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Dec 09, 2019
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Jim Meehan is the co-founder of the celebrated speakeasy PDT in New York's East Village. He began bartending at the University of Wisconsin at Madison and worked at New York City mainstays such as Gramercy Tavern before founding his own cocktail bar inside of a popular hotdog stand. Mr Meehan is a frequent contributor to cocktail magazines; The PDT Cocktail Book is his first book. Mr Meehan now li ...more

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