The definitive guide to the finest drinking experiences

The World Class 50: The Definitive Drinking Guide features 50 of the most innovative and talented bartenders from across the globe. Each bartender showcases the perfect location, the most inventive cocktail and the finest of ingredients and spirits that define the 'must have' fine drinking experience in their city.

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Jeff Bell’s Jan Collins

Jeff Bell represented the USA at the World Class Bartender of the Year final, 2013

PDT opened its doors to the East Village in May 2007. Perhaps an augur of its own success in the hip, savvy and competitive local market, PDT stood for Please Don’t Tell. Owners Brian Shebairo and Jim Meehan created a warm and welcoming interior, with leather couches, taxidermy and pictures hung on bare brick walls – it’s something of a secret space, hidden away behind a quirky entrance. ‘I don’t know what the design inspiration was,’ says Jeff, ‘but it reminds me of a US basement in the 1960s, where families entertained neighbours and friends – it’s like you are being welcomed into someone’s home.’

The Bartender

Jeff Bell, regional winner in the World Class America and Rest of World category, thinks that the ability to multitask is the most important criterion for bartending: ‘essentially you are controlling a big cocktail party and you have to make sure everyone’s having a good time.’ Jeff, 28, cut his teeth in Seattle before moving to New York. He’s the bar manager of PDT, where he likes to build his cocktails from the ground up, and not just in terms of the base spirit. ‘To us the concept of terroir is interesting, that things from the same part of the world often play well together,’ Jeff explains, ‘they come from the same soil, and perhaps the same grains or fruit, so they’ll have something in common that provides a smooth bridge.’

The Drink

Created for an event to coincide with Tennessee’s Bonnaroo Music Festival last year, the Jan (pronounced Yan) Collins was conceived with warm weather in mind. The lovechild of the Tom Collins and the Netherlands, it takes its lead from Ketel One, being both citrus driven and fresh, and is augmented by another Dutch product, Mandarine Napoleon, lemon juice and locally sourced cherries which are brandied in-house. The Jan Collins is ideally enjoyed on a late afternoon in summer, and Jeff recommends it with a hotdog which you can order in from the restaurant next door.


The Technique

Ketel One vodka • 45ml
Fresh Lemon Juice • 22.5ml
Mandarine Napoleon • 15ml
Simple syrup • 15ml
Club soda • 30ml
Brandied cherries and an orange to garnish
Contains 19 grams of alcohol per serve

Add the first four ingredients to a shaker. Shake and strain into a Collins glass. Top with soda. Garnish with orange flicks and a brandied cherry.

The atmosphere varies night-to-night and it’s a lot buzzier at the weekends, so decide if it’s a relaxed or energised experience you want and enjoy the house playlist alongside Jeff’s excellent cocktail.

‘The seasonal approach to menus, often with a regional specificity, ensures fresh and imaginative recipes are always available. It has a more tranquil vibe than many NYC venues. Plus the bartenders wait tables and all servers bartend so you’ll get the same caliber of service and expertise from everyone.

Jeff’s Insider’s Guide to NYC

Place to stay
The NoMad Hotel

Place to eat
Momofuku Noodle Bar

Place to relax
Prospect Park

Place to lounge
Booker and Dax

Place to shop
Modern Anthology in Dumbo, Brooklyn

Place to visit

Place to see
Brooklyn Bridge

Images by Shannon Sturgis