Bartenders’ Choice Awards continue to invite top industry people to Stockholm for workshops and pop-up bars, and on October 27 one of the suites at Scandic Grand Central had been transformed into an intimate cocktail bar where Jim Meehan and Karen Fu from award winning Please Don’t Tell during the evening entertained the thirty people lucky enough to reserve one of the very limited seats.
|Jim Meehan stirring a Boston Tea Party|
There was a fixed menu of four drinks, all of them past or present PDT signature drinks of which two of them – Sage Old Buck and Great Pumpkin – can be found in the fantastic PDT Cocktail Book. Jim made one of each drink while telling the guests about them, and to keep all guests happy Karen made bigger batches simultaneously so that everyone could be served at the same time. During the 90 minutes, Jim and Karen were also happy to answer any questions about the bar, drinks, book and whatnot.
Of course, a pop-up bar in Stockholm can’t beat the real thing, but it was a great opportunity for people to experience Jim in action and to try some of his creations. To be honest, I don’t think you’ll find him tending bar at PDT very often nowadays – at least not from my own experience.
Anyway, to try out the drinks for yourself, here are the recipes:
Boston Tea Party (punch version)
750 ml Banks 5 Island Rum
18 oz. Sencha Green Tea
375 ml Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
6 oz. St. Germain Liqueur
½ oz. Bittermens Boston Bittahs
Combine all ingredients and chill in a refrigerator. Serve in a bowl with a large block of ice. Garnish each serving with grated nutmeg.
Sage Old Buck
1.5 oz. Benromach 12-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky
.75 oz. Lemon Juice
.75 oz. House Ginger Beer
.75 oz. Simple Syrup
.5 oz. Belle de Brillet
.25 oz. Eurovanille Vanilla Syrup
8 Whole Black Peppercorns
Muddle the black peppercorns with the simple syrup. Add everything else, then shake with ice and fine strain into a chilled Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with a smacked sage leaf. To learn how to make the ginger beer, please buy the PDT cocktail book.
|Jim Meehan and a Great Pumpkin|
2 oz. Karlsson’s Gold Vodka
.5 oz. Carlshamns Flaggpunsch
1 pinch of Fresh Dill
Add the dill and Flaggpunsch to a mixing glass and muddle. Add vodka and ice, then stir and fine strain over one large cube into a chilled rocks glass. Garnish with two spritzes of diluted Aftelier Black Pepper Essence.
2 oz. Southampton Pumpkin Ale
1 oz. Rittenhouse Bonded Rye Whiskey
1 oz. Laird’s Bonded Apple Brandy
.5 oz. Deep Mountain Grade B Maple Syrup
1 Whole Egg
Add everything to a mixing glass and swirl to decarbonate beer. Dry-shake, then shake with ice and strain into a chilled fizz glass. Garnish with grated nutmeg.
A few days later, Jim and Karen also held a workshop at Scandic Grand Central, during which they showcased the same cocktails as in the pop-up, as well as talked about how they come up with new drinks and how they decide what should be on the menu.
|Mr. Potato Head © Hasbro|
Jim utilizes two methods when creating new drinks, one of them is “Mr Potato Head” which refers to the toy potato figurine with lots of interchangeable parts. The term is used when a classic cocktail is used as the base for the new recipe. In the PDT Cocktail Book, he writes: “As long as you exchange an eye for an eye, such as tequila for cognac, an ear for an ear, say lime juice for lemon juice, and leave the rest or substitute with another ingredient in the same category, you have a good chance of creating a balanced drink”. The other method is to start with a base spirit, identify its specific characteristics and build the cocktail around them.
|Karen Fu in action at Scandic Grand Central|
Both methods are used with each season in mind when creating new cocktail menus, with mainly brown spirits during autumn and winter and white spirits during spring and summer – and always with seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs. Parts of the menu is constant and the rest is changed, which means that regulars can both find their old favourites as well as new and intriguing libations every once in a while.
|Jim Meehan, Karen Fu and
a King’s Cup at Purple Room
Because of the hurricane Sandy, Jim and Karen were stranded in Stockholm. To make the best out of the situation, they decided to come up with some brand new cocktails with typical Swedish ingredients and offer them during another pop-up bar, this time at newly opened Purple Room/Linje tio.
To make a long story short, it was another successful evening – unfortunately I was only able to try three of the six cocktails on the menu, but they were all very tasty. I don’t have the recipes, but feel free to experiment on your own with these cocktails and ingredients:
Beefeater gin, Dolin sweet vermouth, Lapponia lingonberry liqueur, Angostura orange bitters
Martell Cordon Bleu cognac, Minttu peppermint liqueur
Pappa Scan’s Old Fashioned
Bacon infused Four Roses Single Barrel bourbon, maple syrup, Angostura Bitters
Absolut Elyx vodka, Cederlunds Caloric Punsch, lemon juice, Perrier-Jouet champagne
Havana Club 7 años rum, Lapponia Buckthorn berry liqueur, pineapple, pomegranate and lime juice
Chivas Regal 18 y.o Scotch whisky, Aalborg Jubileums aquavit, grapefruit and lemon juice, cucumber, lavender honey