Employees Only | New York City
Jason got his start in cocktail mixology during college,
working as a bar-back at a cajun-style restaurant in New Jersey.
Learning to mix southern-style cocktails such as Hurricanes,
Swamp Waters and Mint Juleps, he was fascinated by the countless
possibilities. Jason’s cocktail creations have thrilled
New Yorkers since his early days at Pravda. Today he is a
partner and principal bartender at Employees Only, where his
ingredient-focused drinks reflect a return to the classics,
with an updated twist, of course.
West Side Cocktail
From Bar Chef Jason Kosmas of Employees Only- New
Adapted by StarChefs.com
This cocktail is a variation of the “South Side”
cocktail. It is the same recipe only Kosmas substitutes citrus
vodka instead of gin.
Yield: 1 Serving
- 1 1/2 ounces citrus vodka
- 1 1/2 ounces fresh lemon juice
- 3/4 ounce simple syrup
- 2 fresh mint sprigs
- Splash of club soda
Pour vodka, lemon juice and simple syrup into a mixing glass.
Add mint and ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled
martini glass. Top off with club soda.
CK: What goes
into creating a new cocktail? How long does it take you to
create a new cocktail?
JK: Creating a cocktail
frequently begins with a discovery of a new ingredient. It
could be a new spirit or a seasonal item that I want to play
and experiment with. After tasting this key ingredient I usually
have a good idea of how to mix with it and what proportions
to use. Although, sometimes it does happen that the drink
needs to be tweaked here and there.
CK: What makes a great
JK: A Champagne Cocktail
paired with strawberries would have to be the most sensual
aphrodisiac I could think of. I once was commissioned to make
a variation of such a drink for Perrier-Jouet. The cocktail
consisted only of a strawberry that had been dipped in caramelized
sugar accented with lemon zest and vanilla beans. When you
drop the strawberry into the champagne, the sugar coating
dissolves imparting a subtle hint of flavor.
CK: Are you ever inspired
by old recipes for new drinks?
JK: All the time. There
is a wealth of beautiful cocktails out there that are delicious,
balanced and sophisticated. I like to play with variations
of these drinks (such as the Calvados Sidecar) and relate
them to today’s drinker.
CK: How did you get
JK: When I was in college,
I worked as a barback at a Louisianan/Cajun restaurant. They
had all kinds of southern style cocktails such as Hurricanes,
Swamp Waters and Mint Juleps. The service bar was hidden from
public view. Most of the bartenders were grad-students and
needed to study, so they taught me how to mix all these drinks
allowing them time to cram for exams. I was fascinated by
the countless possibilities available to me.
CK: Do you think absinthe
should be legalized in the US? Why?
JK: I would love to see
absinthe back in the US market. I have tried real absinthe
alone and in cocktails and it is quite different than Pernod
CK: What would you consider
the classic cocktail?
JK: I would have to say
the Sazarac, which was created around 1860 by Amédée
Peychaud. He invented his own brand of bitters and added them
to cognac in a glass seasoned with absinthe.