Kind of Mixology with Julian Cox

13 Jun 2015
2 min read
Julian Cox is the director of drinks for Brilliantshine in Santa Monica, and a host of other Los Angeles-based bars.
A Delicate Balance

I think first and foremost, others would describe me as a teacher. I’ve been able to cultivate this reputation based on my pedigree as a creative mixologist, and people respect that and what I’m doing enough to want to learn from me.

I am best known for creating and running the beverage programs for some of the most celebrated Restaurants in LA, such as Rivera, Picca, Sotto, Bestia, and Pettycash. Now, at my flagship bar, Brilliantshine, I have the luxury of developing and growing the beverage program in a way that reflects my creativity and experimentation, no holds barred.

I love the people. I love bringing people together and celebrating with food and drink. I’d like to think I’ve been bartending long enough to try to anticipate what someone will want to drink. Part of the fun of creating drinks is to introduce people to drinks that they may have preconceived notions about. Maybe someone has had a negative experience with a spirit, I love when someone leaves my bar with a newfound love for that spirit.

I love using well-made small production spirits. It’s been a passion of mine for the last 10 years. I enjoy supporting great people making a great product, sometimes the little guy’s product shows the most care and love and is a homage to craft spirits in the purest sense.

I also appreciate using new equipment and techniques to enhance flavors.In the Prince Henry, the liquid nitrogen adds a textural element that really enhances the individual flavors. Even things as simple as presentation can really inform the experience in a positive way. With the Red Light special, the drink is delicious by itself but when you add the multi-sensory aspects such as the light bulb and the illumination of the bucket, the cocktail is amplified without being eclipsed.

I get the most of my inspiration from the kitchens I work in. I am a huge lover of food culture and read more cookbooks than cocktail books at this point. When I was first starting out, working behind the bar for David Myers at Sona and at Comme Ca, the challenge was to create a cocktail menu to enhance but not outshine the delicious food menu. It’s a delicate balance. Since then, designing programs for restaurants with very unique culinary sensibilities has been challenging but inspiring. When done right, everything is perfectly balanced and harmonious.

A delicious drink is balanced and complex in flavor, without being overcomplicated. That distinction is key for me when creating cocktails. I look to find ingredients that complement each other and use seasonal ingredients when I can. Sometimes the simplest ideas work best. I find it’s best to create when I get inspired instead of trying to force it. I come back to incomplete ideas when I have a fresh perspective. It’s a lot of trial and error, and now that I have homebase, I can really flesh out those ideas.

“Sometimes the little guy’s product shows the most care and love and is a homage to craft spirits in the purest sense.”


522 Wilshire Blvd

Santa Monica

CA 90401

United States

+1 310-451-0045