Bartender of the Year 2014

Let’s be blunt–it’s insane that Jay Jones hasn’t already won this award. He’s scooped pretty much every cocktail competition there is. He’s been named the best bartender in the country. His mustache is more famous than 90 percent of the bartenders in town. But time and again when these votes were counted he wasn’t No. 1. Well, this year the judges sat down, looked at the finalists, and did a collective shrug as if to say, “Is there really any discussion here?”

His résumé is littered with the sort of virtuoso stints just one of which any other bartender would sell his arm garters for: head of the bar program at West for its first five years, opening partner at Pourhouse, lead bartender at Market by Jean-Georges.

But in his incarnation as executive bartender and brand ambassador for industry heavyweight Donnelly Group he’s transformed his duties from hand-shaking a dozen drinks for a lucky few to helping to wholesale elevate how we drink as a city. Casual bar customers now request Q tonic in their G&Ts, schoolteachers having a night out specify what bitters they want in their old-fashioneds. After all, it’s not some eight-seat speakeasy telling them. It’s the biggest show in town telling them. It’s Jay Jones telling them. -