Mixologist Justin Elliott of Volstead - Biography

Austin, TX

April 2012

Justin Elliott’s been tending bar for over 10 years. But it was only a little over a year ago that he started taking the craft as seriously as the business behind it. A longtime spirits nerd (and early doubter of sweet and sour mix), Elliott didn’t encounter many classic cocktail programs at the various establishments where he spent his early career. But that didn’t deter him from learning a basic—and eventually formative—respect for ingredients and preparations.

With eight years tending bar (and playing guitar) in New York City and one in Savannah, Georgia, Elliott returned to Austin, Texas, where he’d gone to college. And it was in Austin that he got his first chance to implement some of the cocktail concepts he’d picked up from friends in New York’s craft cocktail scene (Elliott was a regular at The Bushwick Country Club where Tom Chadwick honed his skills before opening Dram, and his roommate worked at Employees Only).

Elliott worked at Peche for six months before being hired as the bar manager and beverage director for The Volstead Lounge on Austin's East Side. And it’s there that Elliott is finally developing his own craft. While he doesn’t define himself by any particular style, Elliott shows a clear appreciation for the character and structure of a well-composed drink.