FEATURE: In the Mix with Julia Momose

A Q&A session with Jean Banchet Mixologist of the Year 2017, Julia Momose, to LEARN ABOUT what inspires her artistry.


Q: What's your go-to cocktail and how do you put your own personal spin on it?

A: Currently, I am infatuated with Japanese Whisky highballs. I love to make them for people and I love to drink them myself.

There are certain steps in the process that make it extra special: chilling the glass, hand-chipping chunks of ice from a large block and slowly building this cocktail of two ingredients, delicately topping off with sparkling water and ice until the sleek, refreshing beverage is complete.

Photo:  Sammy Faze

Photo: Sammy Faze

Q: Is there a specific hip-hop lyric that resonates with you or artist that you connect with?

A: Is it a cop-out if I say that there isn’t a single lyric that inspires me? But rather two artists, Charly and Margaux who together, are the group Chargaux. In an interview, Charly said “That’s what I want to accomplish—being true to myself in these industries. That’s something that people will pay you to forget.”

"No matter what the industry, as a bartender or as a musician, it is vital to stay true to yourself." 

The other thing that I find so impressive in these two women is their ability to take their strong foundation in classical music, and build on that through other forms of music, such as hip-hop.

There is a beat to their music that I can’t help but bob and sway to, and the instrumental melodies are perfect to listen to while I work. It is their dedication to the foundations of their art and to perfecting basic techniques, which allows them to improvise with precision. 

This is a skill that I work towards every day as a bartender: how to take the mundane basic repetitive motions and make them flow and dance into something spectacular.

Q: You're in Chi-town. What are your top food spots and watering holes?

A: Chicago is full of amazing restaurants and bars. It is incredible how many amazing people and places there are to go! For fantastic food, drinks, and service, I love La Sirena Clandestina, Boeufhaus, Quiote, Oriole, Takeya, Arami, Proxi, Avec, and the list goes on and on! For bars, you can find me at Spilt Milk, Scofflaw, Best Intentions, Estereo, The Drinkingbird, Moneygun, Lost Lake, Fox Bar, and for late night wine and dinner, Rootstock Wine and Beer Bar.

"What I love about all these places, aside from what is on the plates and in the glasses, are the people, and I know that they will have many other amazing places to recommend as well."

Q: In the world of mixology, what are you getting into lately and why?

A: I am getting to know spirits more intimately, by going beyond the category and where they are coming from and studying to know more about the people who make it and all the little nuances that may impart some flavor in the finished product. This, in turn, inspires cocktails that have fewer components, but maximize the inherent flavor of each ingredient and to form a harmonious marriage and a complex cocktail.

Susanna Arntzz