Over the past year Julia Diakow and I crossed paths on numerous occasions but inadvertently missed a formal introduction every time. I saw her competing on at least 3 occasions and I was always blown away by her composure, her skill and, of course, her final product. Perhaps it was this level of regard which made me feel a little too awkward and shy to just introduce myself.
These close calls and nears misses came to a fateful end about 2 months ago when the husband and I popped in to Cuchillo for a cocktail. It just so happened that Julia was behind the bar that evening. Formal introductions ensued and the woman was every bit as lovely and talented as I imagined her to be.
Julia got her start in the hospitality industry at the ripe old age of 16 when she was serving at Earls. She made the switch to Bartendering three years later and further honed her skills when she was hired by The Donnely Group. Training under Bar and Beverage Director, Trevor Kallies, Julia’s passion for the craft deepened. By day she runs the Sales and Marketing portion of Sovereign Wine and Spirits. By night you can find her behind the stick at Cuchillo and Reflections at the Georgia Hotel. She has become a serious force to be reckoned with in the Vancouver Bartending scene and I am so excited to have her featured on The Bartender’s List! So please allow me to present the formidable Julia Diakow! Cheers!
1) How long have you been bartending?
2) Where are you currently working?
I bartend at Cuchillo & Reflections at the Hotel Georgia
3) What was your first sip of alcohol?
Probably a sip of champagne around 7, definitely did not enjoy it as much as I do today
4) If you could only have a 5 bottle bar, what would they be?
Martin Miller Gin, Yellow Chartreuse, Carpano Antica, Campari, Buffalo Trace
5) What is your death-row drink?
6) What is one rule you wish all patrons would follow that you’re not allowed to make?
No snapping at the bartender
7) Other than your own, where is your favourite bar to go for a drink?
Any bar my friends are working at
8) The album that would capture the feel of your dream bar?
Sounds of Summer, Beach Boys best of. Patio side meets California meets Tiki
9) The one cocktail book that should be behind every bar?
Beachbum Berry Remixed, it fueled my love for tiki and contains a massive amount of amazing cocktails to please any guest
10) The one non-cocktail book that should be behind every bar?
365 Ways to have fun sober.
11) Three words that best describe your approach to cocktails
Keep it fun.
12) Most unusual drink request?
Bart Simpson shots
13) If you could make a cocktail for anybody, dead or alive, who would it be and what would you make them?
Bill Murray, a Suntory Sour
14) If you weren’t a bartender, what would you be?
Probably following the family business, working in the Forest industry
15) Free-pour or measured?
Free pour for speed (highballs etc), measured for consistency (cocktails)
16) If your shifts behind the bar had a theme song, what would it be?
Hey Ya- Outkast…it’s just a fun time back there
17) Who currently has the best bartender facial hair in town?
Shaun Layton, but I’m biased
18) Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail- Great performance or Greatest performance?
19) One drink on your current cocktail menu that everybody needs to try.
Reflections- Mexican Fix a la Robyn Gray
Cuchillo- I recommend coming in to try one of our daily changing cocktail features
20) What is your favourite three-ingredient cocktail and how do you make it?
Tequila Old Fashioned- Don Julio Reposado, Falernum, Spanish Bitters
Combine 2 oz of Don Julio Reposado Tequila, 2 bar spoons of Falernum, 4 dashes of Spanish Bitters, stir over ice, strain over ice, garnish with orange peel.