Master mixologist Jim Meehan used to have a secret only certain new Yorkers knew about. That secret was speakeasy spot Please Don’t Tell, where the door is a phone booth and reservations are as coveted as brunch tables at Balthazar. Now, this cocktail spot is a New York legend, run by Meehan himself – the legendary mixologist who got his start bartending at iconic spots like Gramercy Tavern and The Pegu Club. The New Potato sat down with Meehan for a few recipes featuring a spirits favorite, Karlsson’s Vodka, and some tidbits on this cocktail connesieur himself.
Describe your ideal food day…
What’s your drink?
Being in the drinks business, I don’t have ONE drink. I’m a liquid guy.
What would your last meal be? What drinks would you pair with it?
I hope I never have to plan it. My mother’s pasta with a bottle of Barolo would be nice. I’d make Negronis for everyone before dinner and stir up Sazeracs for my last drink.
How do you start your day?
My wife Valerie and I walk our French Bulldog Pearl to Ninth Street Espresso every morning.
What’s your favorite place to travel for food?
I’m currently convinced that New York is the best place to eat in the world. Besides home, Chicago, San Francisco and New Orleans are big destinations for me in the U.S. Mexico, Copenhagen and France are my favorite abroad.
The farthest you’ve travelled for a drink…
Probably Seattle to have a Last Word made by Murray Stenson at Zig Zag Café. I’ve travelled to Korea and New Zealand, but not to have one person make me one drink in particular.
Where do you go for inspiration?
Inspiration is everywhere. Everyone has something to teach me. When I’m alone, I tend to look up at the sky to take a peak at the world we live in. Asphalt, concrete and glass tend to obscure our view of nature’s beauty in NYC.
What ingredient are you convinced always makes a drink better?
Perhaps not better, but a quarter ounce of St. Germain works in just about every cocktail. Some call it bartender’s ketchup.
What ingredient is overrated?
I try to steer clear of trendy ingredients to avoid having to answer this question.