Jessica Arnott Mixologist Interview

Jessica Arnott Mixologist Interview

Jessica Arnott Mixologist Interview

Currently working at The Roosevelt, a popular cocktail bar in Potts Point; Jessica was the Venue Manager of award winning Gardel's Bar in Sydney and previously managed The Victoria Room (also in Sydney) for three years and has accumulated valuable years of experience working London's cocktail bar scene. Jessica has also won numerous awards, including 'Overall Performer' at the Diageo World Class Cocktail Awards and was only the second female to be placed in the Top 10 for the Australian Bartender of the Year Awards. More recently, last November Jessica won a place in the World Class Finals.

Interview with Jessica Arnott

Question: What inspired you to become a 'mixologist'?

Jessica Arnott: My parents have always taken me to great restaurants with them, even as a small child. I grew up with really good food and have always loved to cook, when I was little I wanted to be a chef so it really is just an extension of that passion.

Question: When creating a new cocktail or drink what is your process?

Jessica Arnott: It depends if it's for a competition or for a menu. Sometimes you come up with a concept for a specific comp, and then work back from there. Other times you find a really exciting ingredient you want to use and start brainstorming what you can match it with.

Question: What is your favourite creation to drink?

Jessica Arnott: I happily knocked back a few of my world class cocktail. It was bourbon with a homemade pumpkin pie infusion, smoked maple and chocolate bittes; pretty delish even if I do say so myself.

Question: You accumulated valuable years of experience working in London's cocktail bar scene - is that where you were inspired to begin this career?

Jessica Arnott: I made the move onto the bar in London and worked my way up from waitress to cocktail bartender over there. I was already inspired before I got to London, but it was definitely over there that I realised I could do this for a living and not just as an "in between" job.

Question: Do you remember the first cocktail you made?

Jessica Arnott: Not exactly, but I do remember the first one I spilled all over myself! Baileys, banana liqueur, white chocolate liqueur and cream. Three of them, all down my dress, in my hair, in my shoes. I was so embarrassed, but I just kept going, made them again, and then went to the bathroom to clean up. There's an aroma that won't come out til you shower. YUCK!

Question: Can you tell us about the drink you made for the World Class Finals?

Jessica Arnott: My World Class drink was entered into the "American Cocktail" category- so I celebrated two of America's greatest inventions, Cocktails and Rock'n'Roll. It was the 1956 (the year Rockabilly swept the USA) was Bulleit Bourbon, Pumpkin Pie Moonshine, smoked maple syrup and chocolate bitters.

Question: How did it feel to be the second female to be placed in the Top 10 for the Australian Bartender of the Year Awards?

Jessica Arnott: That was amazing. Before that I had always felt like I was still looking up to and trailing behind all the boys in the industry, which was more my own perception than any sort of reality. That competition really solidified my confidence and proved to myself that I'm just as capable and talented as any of the men!

Question: What advice do you have for other females wanting to work in this area?

Jessica Arnott: It helps to have a thick skin, the sense of humour in the service industry is pretty puerile and you have to work in close quarters with stinky boys. But if you stick up for yourself and work hard, there's absolutely no reason girls can't be just as good as the boys.

Question: What did you enjoy about working with POM Wonderful to create cocktail recipes?

Jessica Arnott: I always try to use natural, good quality produce in my cocktails- and POM is exactly that. It's also got that glorious crimson pomegranate colour which really makes the drinks pop.

Question: What's a typical day like for you?

Jessica Arnott: I feel like I was born for this industry because I've been a night owl since I was a little kid. I get up at 9am or 10am, try and spend some precious time with my boyfriend before he goes to University, then I'm in the bar from around 3pm setting up. I work five nights in the bar until I get home around 2am. Which I think justifies my sleep ins!

Question: What do you like most about your job?

Jessica Arnott: The creative side is really what drives me. Creating bespoke cocktails for specific customers, and seeing the look on their face when it's exactly what they never knew they wanted- that's the real pleasure.

Question: What's next for you?

Jessica Arnott: We've got the Australian World Class Finals coming up this June, which is going to be a massive week, with a massive prize for the winner. So that will really be my focus over the next few months. After that it's just time to work hard and start saving the cash to open my own place one day!

Jess Arnott's POM Wonderful Cocktails

Now it's your turn to impress the crowds (or just your friends and family) with Jess Arnott's POM Wonderful Cocktails recipes!

The Spice Trail

45mL Martin Miller's Gin
15mL apricot liqueur
30mL POM
15mL lime juice
5mL saffron honey*
dash orange blossom water
dash egg white

Shake hard and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a pinch of saffron.

*combine equal parts of honey and hot water with a pinch of saffron and allow to infuse for a few minutes.

Harajuku Cooler

30mL Ketel 1 vodka
30mL Ume (Japanese plum wine)
30mL POM
30mL Chilled Jasmine Tea
4 Green Grapes

Muddle grapes in the bottom of a highball glass. Add all ingredients and fill with ice. Garnish with a slice of cucumber and an orchid.


45mL Blanco Tequila
15mL lime juice
40mL POM
5mL agave nectar
2 dashes Burlesque Bitters
soda to top
Vanilla salt*

Rim a tall glass with vanilla salt, add all ingredients and ice. Top with soda. Garnish with vanilla bean and lime wheel.
*store your scraped vanilla pods in a jar with some flaky sea salt.

Punch al la Americano

100mL Campari
100mL Lillet Rouge
100mL Raspberry Puree
1 small bottle POM
Juice of 1 orange
1 bottle of sparkling wine

Add all ingredients except the wine to a large punch bowl over a large black of ice and stir to combine and chill. Add whole bottle of bubbles and garnish with orange wheels and fresh raspberries.


40mL Ron Dark Rum
10mL Pedro Ximinez Sherry
30mL POM
15mL lemon juice
2 dashes Bittermen's Tiki Bitters
2 pieces fresh pineapple

Muddle pineapple in the bottom of a shaker. Add all other ingredients and shake hard. Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with a little nutmeg and a piece of charred pineapple.

Interview by Brooke Hunter
Images: Harajuku Cooler and PomTiki which is on the menu at Gardel's Bar.