Jonathan Moran is a talented mixologist, based in Montreal, Quebec. He is the head bartender and beverage program manager at the wildly popular Bord’elle Supper Club. We talked to him about why he loves the hospital industry, cocktail trends that are here to stay, and some of the best places to go out for a drink in Montreal.
Have you always been interested in mixology/bartending? How did you get your start in the industry?
I think my interests started more with hospitality than just bartending. I remember growing up my whole family loved hosting parties. My grandmother especially loved any occasion to get the family together for a good meal and some drinks.
Once I got older it really stuck with me. My passion for this industry is more about being able to properly host and serve guests and give them an experience reminiscent of the family dinners my grandmother used to host. That special feeling you get when someone puts that extra touch into your service and elevates your experience. That’s what I thrive for. My passion for mixology comes from my constant need to improve my service and hone my craft. In my eyes, it’s more about giving the customer the best experience possible, and less about “breaking new ground” or doing things no one else has.
I first started out as a bar back in a nightclub, in the ski resort town of Mont-tremblant. (s/o P’tit Caribou!) while I was there I signed myself up for bartending courses in Montreal. That and a lot of really hard work and late nights got me my first shot serving drinks, and then my first position as assistant manager. The rest is history!!
You currently work at the Bord’elle Supper Club in Montreal as head bartender and managing their beverage program. What is unique about running their bar? What is your process when it comes to designing the drink menus or new cocktails?
The ownership at Bord’elle has done an amazing job of creating an extremely classy venue that’s decorated beautifully and brings a very sophisticated vibe and our chef Andrew Ba has done an amazing job with the menu. We pride ourselves on giving an upper class service you cannot find anywhere else in the city. Being a supper club, we have a full service supper before flipping to a club after the kitchen closes. One of the biggest challenges we face with our beverage program is making a menu worthy of the 5 star sophistication our food delivers while maintaining a certain simplicity to allow us to properly serve the same menu to a packed house of over 500 served by only 6 or 7 bartenders.
This has proved especially challenging because of the modern drinkers increasing knowledge of cocktails and their culture (and a constant search for that perfect Instagram shot.)
People talk about the ways that different cities have unique culinary cultures. Is there anything that defines Montreal’s craft beverage scene? Any unique local favorites?
I’m gonna start with some local favorites… Garrison House pub opened its doors recently and has been constantly improving their unique cocktail list. It’s also hard to skip tried and true Montreal establishments like Le 4iem Mur, Bar Le Lab, Le Mal Nessesare, Cloakroom, and Nhau to name a few, but I could go on all night. The nightlife in this city is unlike anything else in the world.
Montreal is just such an amazing melting pot of cultures and ideas. It’s becoming one of the major hubs for cocktail culture in Canada and even the world. There’s so many talented and motivated people coming out of Montreal that’s it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly it is that makes us unique. Being a bilingual city with a relatively young population definitely helps keep our creativity flowing and the unbelievably long and cold winter months tend to keep us exploring indoor activities. What better way to chase away the cold than a nice cocktail in good company.
What do you think will be the next big thing in the world of cocktails/mixology? Are there any current trends that are around to stay?
People are loving the increase in local product. So many great products have been coming out of Quebec recently that it’s hard not to encourage local producers and distilleries. Gins especially have been gaining huge popularity in the past decade and are definitely here to stay. Mezcal was huge last summer and I predict will see another surge in popularity this coming season.
Also scotch. Scotchy scotch scotch.
Do you have an all-time favorite or go to cocktail?
Jameson. Ice. 🙂
Photography courtesy of Samantha Briand.