Bartender of the Year: Cole Younger Just, Last Word

Cole Younger Just
Photograph by Johnny Autry

No other cocktail list this year felt as intentional yet whimsical as the one that Just built at this late-night Lebanese restaurant in the Old Fourth Ward. Not only does Just wield spices like Aleppo pepper, curry, and za’atar to tremendous effect, but his attention to detail—he marinates his own vodka with extra virgin olive oil—is unsurpassed. Many cocktails, like the Turkish Razorblade and Pliny’s Tonic, sync beautifully with plates from the kitchen. Yet the best drinks are standalone stars: the Empty Quarter (peaty Scotch, vermouth, and juiced ginger and tangerine) and the botanical Hanging Gardens (effervescent and aromatic with herbal Chartreuse). 701 Highland Avenue,

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This article originally appeared in our November 2015 issue.