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In The Kitchen with Bret Thorn

PDT founder Jim Meehan discusses making Oregon cocktails in a Japanese context

Now the bar director at Takibi in Portland, the beverage director sees different worlds merge together


Jim Meehan might not love being a cocktail legend, but that’s what he is. The founder of Please Don’t Tell, better known as PDT, in New York City, and author of its cocktail book helped introduce Americans to a new sophistication in mixed drinks, with house-made syrups and tinctures and complex combinations graciously presented.

Now he’s doing it with more factors in play at Takibi, a Japanese-influenced restaurant in Portland, Ore., owned by a Japanese lifestyle company, Snow Peak.

Portland is almost certainly the American city most sensitive about cultural appropriation, and so Meehan must tread lightly as he develops drinks that reflect Japanese culture. But he has leeway, because Japanese cocktail culture was derived from American cocktail culture, although with added focus on great local and seasonal products, which is the hallmark of food in Japan. As luck would have it, it’s also an important aspect of Portland’s food & beverage scene.

Meehan recently discussed how he is bringing all of that together at Takibi, as well as how the so-called “modern speakeasy” exemplified by PDT was never really that at all.

Contact Bret Thorn at [email protected] 

Follow him on Twitter: @foodwriterdiary

TAGS: Food & Drink
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