Jim Meehan is a bartender, the owner of the revolutionary, secret cocktail lounge Please Don’t Tell (PDT) in New York, and the author of modern cocktail tomes The PDT Cocktail Book and Meehan’s Bartender Manual.
Why He’s Important
After arriving in New York in 2001, Meehan honed his skills behind the stick at some of the bars leading the city’s burgeoning craft cocktail scene, including Gramercy Tavern and Audrey Saunder’s Pegu Club. In 2007, he opened Please Don’t Tell, an East Village Speakeasy hidden behind a phone booth in Crif Dogs hot dog parlour. It helped kick off NYC’s speakeasy obsession, which still continues to this day. After winning a James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program, Meehan published The PDT Cocktail Book, one of the most influential, original cocktail tomes of the last century. After his massive NYC success, Meehan moved to Portland, Oregon where he opened a bartending consulting firm, Mixography Inc. He’s served as an advisor for spirit brands like Banks Rum, worked with Moore & Giles to design bespoke bartender-focused accessories and even developed a line of Bloody Mary spices with spice legend Lior Lev. Meehan’s upcoming book, Meehan’s Bartender Manual, is an all-encompassing guide to the ins and outs of the bar industry with over 100 classic and original cocktail recipes.
An American bartender and author known for the Portland cocktail lounge and restaurant, Clyde Common.
Why He’s Important:
Morgenthaler was a pioneer in the early aughts who helped bring the cocktail renaissance to the West Coast. Besides tweaking classic cocktails and using good quality fresh ingredients, Morgenthaler incorporated advanced techniques into his bar program that hadn’t been seen before: He barrel-aged his Negroni and offered pre-batched, bottled cocktails. In 2014, he published The Bar Book, a deep dive into mastering techniques behind the bar. The book was revolutionary in that its focus wasn’t on recipes, but on essential skills.
A chef, scientist, bartender and author who is the former head of the Culinary Technology Department at the French Culinary Institute in New York, and one of the founders of Booker and Dax (a cocktail bar and food and beverage lab).
Why He’s Important:
There has never been a bar like Booker and Dax. Opened in 2011 by Arnold and Momofuku chef David Chang, the cocktail bar used high-tech culinary equipment and lab machinery to create revolutionary cocktails. In the basement of the bar, Arnold used centrifuges to clarify juices, CO2 tanks to carbonate cocktails and, most famously, liquid nitrogen to do everything from chill cocktail glasses to muddle mint. In 2014, Arnold published Liquid Intelligence, a tell-all book that included secrets to replicating his techniques at home. Though Booker and Dax is currently closed—for the moment at least—Arnold is far from off the clock. He heads the Booker and Dax company and lab, which develops products like the BDX Cocktail Cube, and is the founder and president of MOFAD, Brooklyn’s Museum of Food and Drink.
An American bartender known for her Brooklyn bar Leyenda and the Speed Rack competition.
Why She’s Important:
After apprenticing with Julie Reiner at The Clover Club, Mix and Reiner opened Leyenda; a Brooklyn bar that focused on Mix’s passion for unique Mexican and South American spirits. While the bar has been given many awards since opening in 2015 (including best bar in the United States), Mix is most known for founding the wildly popular do-good cocktail competition, Speed Rack. In 2011 Mix and Lynnette Marrero, the president of the NY chapter of LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails), launched the all-female speed bartending competition to raise money for breast cancer research, education and prevention. Since its inception, Speed Rack has gone on to become a nationwide competition, with all proceeds donated to charity.