Employees Only | New York City
Needing money to pay for art school, Jason Kosmas found work
at The Old Bay in New Brunswick, NJ. At the time considered
the largest “small blues house” on the North East
Coast, the Old Bay served up Cajun cuisine with Creole cocktails.
"I was hired originally as a bar back. The bartenders were
mostly grad students working their way through college. They
would have me make all the drinks so they could study.”
Jason quickly became a bartender just as the vodka scene
broke open. The martini was on the rise, and Jason became
more and more an enthusiast of the cocktail. Realizing that
mixology was lost in a college town, Jason followed his passion
for drink-making to Manhattan in 1998. He was first hired
at the famed Tavern on the Green in Central Park where he
disciplined himself in the subtle art of classic mixology.
He next moved on to work at one of New York's most innovative
cocktail bars, Pravda located on the edge of Soho. The trendy
cocktail lounge was the perfect compliment for Jason's classic
approach toward mixology. He combined traditional technique
with exotic ingredients to shape a new path in cocktail making.
In October of 1999 he received 1st Place in the Independent
Cocktail Awards sponsored by Food and Wine Magazine. After
two years in the trenches, he was promoted to Bar Manager
at Pravda. Jason molded his position to that of a "cocktail
chef." He researched ingredients that were previously
foreign to the bar and incorporated them into Pravda's cocktail
menu. In July of 2001 Pravda was recognized by Timeout as
the "Best Martini Bar" in New York City. Even while
Jason managed Pravda, he still worked regularly behind the
"I enjoy mixing cocktails. It is ever changing and exciting.
You must keep your finger on the pulse to stay ahead of what's
going on.” After 3½ years, Jason retired from
managing to form Cocktail Conceptions, a beverage consulting
company that has worked with restaurants such as Schiller’s
Liquor Bar and companies such as Absolute Vodka.
In late 2004, Jason became principle bartender and co-owner
of Employees Only, a retro-classic speakeasy in the West Village
specializing in deftly mixed cocktails with old-school flair.