Jim Meehan, renowned author, and founder of New York City’s famed speakeasy Please Don’t Tell, is set to visit Australia in August along with Jeff Bell (pictured), US World Class Bartender of the Year 2013. Presented by World Class, the pair will speak at Melbourne’s Top Shelf Festival on 8 and 9 August, as well as hosting an exclusive pop-up of their New York venue.
The duo will be presenting at Top Shelf as part of a national World Class Drinking incentive – Steeped & Spritzed – encouraging bars to create their own batched cocktails with spirits such as Ketel One Vodka and Tanqueray Gin.
Propelled by industry leaders such as Bell and Meehan, batching is a trend that has taken hold of the US bar scene for obvious reasons – it allows bartenders to pre-make batches of signature cocktails, freeing them up to serve guests more efficiently.
Bell, who has been managing PDT since 2010, has stressed that while batching creates efficiencies behind the bar, it is not about cutting corners.
“The goal of operating a bar is to create a great experience,” he says. “We’ve found that batching some of our drinks allows us to fill our bar from 6pm-4am and serve complex drinks. This isn’t cheating, we’ve just found a compromise on the process which leads to the same great drinks, but they just come out quicker and we have the benefit of spending more quality time with patrons.”
Meehan agrees that once batching is mastered, life behind the bar can become a lot simpler, however it’s not just a matter of pre-mixing drinks.
“With cocktails becoming more and more complex, we developed a number of techniques and methods to pre-build elements of popular drinks or pre-mix whole cocktails in advance of service,” said Meehan.
And it is those techniques that the pair will be sharing during their Top Self presentations.
Melbournites can experience first-hand the magic of Bell and Meehan’s cocktail artistry as the duo take over Melbourne establishment Black Pearl for one weekend only. From 6-9 August, they will be appearing at the PDT pop-up which will feature a specially curated menu. A selection of the pair’s world-famous cocktails will be on offer alongside the bar’s signature hot-dogs. Unfortunately the event now seems to be booked out.
This year’s Top Shelf Festival will be held at the Royal Exhibition centre in Melbourne. Bell and Meehan join a number of international guest speakers presenting at Top Shelf, including Charlotte Voisey from William Grant & Sons USA; Tequila Tromba master distiller Marco Cedano; and bartending legend Naren Young.
Save $15 when you buy Top Shelf tickets online here.