Jesse Borg

When, where and why did you decide to start bartending?

Like many people in this industry I got in this racket for one simple reason: I needed money. I was told I could parlay my charm and good looks (cough) into real legal tender while I was still in school. All my first bar tending gigs were summer jobs at giant corporate bars. Contrary to popular (hip) belief these are great places to learn to bartend. I learned how to be very fast and stay calm under pressure. After dealing with hundreds of drunk university students screaming for Jeiger-bombs at 1:55 AM you can pretty much handle anything.

I don’t even remember how I got into cocktails. I like drinking, so that probably had something to do with it. But It was mostly other (better) bartenders with whom I worked gently nudging me in that direction. Everything I made in that first brush with cocktails was admittedly pretty horrible. Then I had a quantum leap: I worked my first shift at Montauk.

By that point I thought I was pretty slick and I learned within five minutes of working with the super talented, super handsome, Josh Leblanc that I knew virtually nothing. I went out the next day, and with my friend Jordan, bought $500 worth of booze. No base spirits, just a collection of amaros, under-proof spirits, vermouths, etc. and I went to work.

After more shifts at Montauk, and eventually (thankfully) getting hired at Home of the Brave, I became a real bartender/man.

What is your favourite cocktail and/or bar?
Favourite cocktail: Generally, I think a negroni is pretty much the perfect cocktail.

Favourite bar: Montauk. Great bar, great cocktails, but more than anything it’s where the fam is.

If you could work with any other bartender in the world for one night who would it be?

If I could work with any one bartender: TRADER VIC because hilarious.

If you could visit any bar in the world where would it be?

If I could visit any bar… I’m not picky. If you have whisky, good music and you’re not a dick, I’m so very down.

Where are you working now and what is your cocktail style for that bar?

Home of the Brave – classic American cocktails made with love and without pretence. A stable of innovative bar tenders who are also amazing people.

Who is your mentor, if you have one?

Don’t necessarily have one, but my first shift with Josh Leblanc taught me more in a couple hours than I had learned in a couple years.


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