Nathanial Jai

Nathanial Jai | Bartender Atlas

Who | Nathanial Jai
Where | Toronto, Canada
Current Bar | Voodoo Child Espresso & Cocktail Bar
Favourite Spirit | Close tie between Bourbon and Gin.
Favourite Juice | Grapefruit
Favourite Classic Cocktail | Bijou
Favourite Part of the Job | I get paid to hang out at the bar.
Favourite After Work Drink | A nice light ale.
Favourite at Home Drink | Affinity with Lillet and Dubonnet…an INfinity of if you will.
Favourite bar in the world | Civil Liberties in Toronto. Not only is it the nearest bar to my place, it’s the one bar I’ve been to that has blended a familiar Cheers like feeling with quality craft cocktails so effortlessly.
Best known for | Dad jokes and puns. I honestly think I only come up with new cocktails for the punny names I can give them.
Best story from behind the wood | It’s hard to pick just one. There’s a new one every time I step back there and that’s a big part of what keeps me coming back. But here’s a recent favourite of mine:
A gentleman comes in and sits down at the bar. He looks generally dejected, so I ask him how he’s doing and he tells me that one of his best friends just died from cancer. So I set him up with a stiff drink (a vieux carre). He ends up sitting at the bar for the rest of the night. At one point he points out that I have Kahlua, Disaronno, and Rum all next to each other. He tells me those were his friend’s favourite liquors and asks if I could make up something with all three. So I take some careful time to whip something up. He takes a sip and smiles. I ask how he’s doing. He says “I’m doing much better then before I walked through the door, thank you”. He’s now a regular and it brings a smile to my face whenever he comes through our door.

What do you collect? Booze, bitters, bar tools, watches, ties, cufflinks, hats, antique glassware, comics, books, board games, promo coffee… Better question would be “what DON’T I collect”.
Favourite thing about your city? It’s home.
What was the last photo that you took? A picture of Elijah Craig 12 year at the LCBO to send to my boss to see if he wanted me to pick it up.
Where was your last vacation? St. John’s, Newfoundland to visit my mum and family for Christmas.
Any claims to fame? Probably my proudest moment as a bartender so far was when I came 2nd at the Made With Love qualifier in a grouping of some of the most talented bartenders. Many of which you might say were (and still are) idols of mine.

Red or White? Red. Chianti or Shiraz please.
Cointreau or Grand Marnier? Cointreau, always. That damn awkward Marnier bottle!
London or Paris? That’s a question I’m hoping to answer within the year. …But I’m starting with London.
Glass or Tin? Tin! I’m incredibly confused whenever I see someone still using glass…

Are you available for freelance gigs? Of course!
Find him: Instagram

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