That Extra Dash with Julian Short

This year, Angostura’s That Extra Dash series is taking an in-depth look at the rise of some of SA’s top bartenders. In this interview, we speak to award-winning bartender, Julian Short.

Julian has competed in competitions around the globe, but his most prized wins include: 

  • Tahona Society South Africa 2015 Winner 
  • Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix South Africa 2016 Winner
  • Absolut Invite South Africa 2016 Winner
  • The Forager by The Botanist South Africa 2016 Winner 
  • Diageo World Class South Africa 2017 Winner 
  • Remy Martin Bartender Talent Academy Global 2017 Winner
  • Opihr Gin Cocktail Competition South Africa 2018 Winner
  • B.A.R Awards 2018 / 2019 – various awards 

He is also the owner of Sin + Tax in Joburg. Beyond Julian’s individual awards, Sin + Tax recently debuted on the extended list of the 2019 World’s 50 Best Bars at #88 and was the only African bar to make the list.

“Angostura remains a key ingredient behind the world’s top bars by investing in and supporting the new generation of drinks professionals, endlessly excited about what the future has in store for this spirited industry.”

Sin Tax That Extra Dash with Julian Short

Julian, when did you get started in the industry?

I have happily been mixing cocktails since 2014. The first bar I worked at was a fast-paced bar called Social on Main, but the bar that changed my job into a career was a cocktail bar called The Landmark.

Who has been a major mentor throughout your career?

One of my all-time best mentors was Gareth Wainwright who mentored me throughout my time at The Landmark. 

And what are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learnt along the way?

To be professional and to be a good host. Atmosphere and hospitality are the best ingredients to any cocktail. (and rum too!)

Do you have any advice for rookie bartenders?

Ask questions, read and put in the hours. Also, be inspired by chefs and the way they put dishes together. It’s all about taste, taste, taste. 

Anything coming up that everyone should know about?

We have a range of boutique bottled cocktails coming out at Sin + Tax soon. I’m also involved with a few consultancies at Beyond safari lodges, which is exciting.

If we can ask about your first encounter with bitters?

I grew up in the bush (visiting game reserves) and while the adults drank gin and tonics, my sister and I drank Rock Shandies. The Rock Shandy was always my favourite Sundowner drink.

And Angostura aromatic bitters specifically?

That was Angostura! It’s been a staple in every bar /home bar I’ve been to in South Africa. It wasn’t until I was able to attend bartender brand training that I was actually taught about the wonderful history and complexities behind the brand itself. 

Which is your absolute favourite bittered cocktail?

A few of my favourite cocktails with Angostura are the Old Fashioned, Trinidad Sours and an Angostura Colada. 

Can you finish the sentence: My extra dash would be… service with a smile.

With your experience, you must have designed many cocktails that call for bitters. Which one’s been a standout for you?

Comfortably Plum 

  • 25ml Scotch
  • 25ml Gin
  • 20ml Coconut water and juniper Syrup
  • 30ml Chenin blanc
  • 30ml Fresh Plum juice
  • 6 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters

Shake and strain into a high all glass with cubed ice. Then garnish with a bay leaf and serve.