Bartender’s Choice

Story Birney Imes | Photographs Luisa Porter

Order a drink in the Voodoo Lounge, the stylish bar at the back of J. Broussard’s Restaurant and chances are your bartender will answer to “Jonathan.” If your tastes align with most, you’ll be having a lemon-drop martini. So says head-barkeep Jonathan Bozeman, who’s been concocting drinks at this popular Columbus watering hole going on eight years.

The other Jonathan shaking and stirring behind the restaurant’s lighted bar top is Jonathan Thomas. By day Thomas is an account executive for a company that sells commercial kitchen equipment.

Both Jonathans enjoy the human interaction bartending provides.

Bozeman said he went from waiting tables to tending bar because it gave him a chance “to work on my social skills.” The strategy seems to have been successful; on the night we visited, the soft-spoken mixologist smoothly navigated the demands of wait staff, bar customers and a particular photographer and her assistant.

Both Jonathans say Broussard’s chef Beth Rogers’ insistence on fresh, made-from-scratch ingredients for both food and libation is the secret to the success of their enterprise. Rogers makes the lemon infused vodka (shaved pieces of lemon rind soaked in vodka for a month) and a blueberry infused vodka (blueberries soaked in vodka for three months).

Drinks come and go like women’s fashions, said Bozeman.

“Pomegranate martinis were big a few years back, now we hardly make them,” he said. “Somebody came in the other night and ordered an apple martini. We used to sell those all the time.”


LEMON-DROP MARTINI

1 part simple syrup (1 cup sugar dissolved in 1 cup hot water)
1 part lemon juice
1 part lemon-infused vodka


BLUEBERRY MARTINI

1 part fresh blueberry juice
1 part sour mix (1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, ½ cup each lime and lemon juice)
1 part blueberry-infused vodka

• Mix ingredients in cocktail shaker half filled with ice cubes.
• Pour strained liquid into a sugar-rimmed martini glass and garnish with a wedge or twisted peel of lemon.