MICHELIN Guide Ceremony 1 minute 05 April 2022

Julia Momosé, 2022 MICHELIN Chicago Exceptional Cocktails Award Winner

Kumiko co-owner and beverage director Julia Momosé, also cocktail creative at Two-Star Oriole, on highballs, well-tempered cocktails, and her current favorite pairing

cocktails drinks Chicago

Kumiko co-owner and drinks cognoscente Julia Momosé is the author of The Way of the Cocktail and the 2022 Chicago Exceptional Cocktails Award winner. Kumiko's name depicts a woodworking technique, and its serene surrounds feature a deluge of natural light. Informed and attentive servers glide through the room—perhaps in tune with moody jazz tunes—delivering a lineup of creative plates. Japanese potato salad with pickled rainbow carrots and smoked ham is a strong opener; while tonkatsu sando with Berkshire pork and buttered shokupan is hearty and substantial. Maitakédon (marinated hen of the woods mushrooms with caramelized onion and onsen tamago) is accompanied by white rice for a fragrant feast. Teetotalers will treasure the litany of memorable spiritfree sips, like the Remedy with kinmokusei, fennel seed, and artisanal tonic. 

As part of this year's Chicago Michelin Star Revelation, we chatted with Julia about her first cocktail and what she's drinking now.

Cocktails by Julia Momosé at Kumiko. Photo by Sammy Faze
Cocktails by Julia Momosé at Kumiko. Photo by Sammy Faze

Subscribe to our newsletter to stay on the top of the MICHELIN Guide's best restaurants, plus chef interviews, recipes, travel stories, and more.

What are you drinking these days? Highballs. They are a brief moment of zen for me when I make them. The effervescence and dry flavor profile is a perfect treat at the end of the night.

Favorite non-alcoholic drink? Currently, it's on one the spiritfree menu at Kumiko called Field of Green. It has Kukicha (stemmed green tea), Seedlip Garden 108, yuzu koshō, and ginger beer. It pairs great with the food at Kumiko.

Very first cocktail you ever made? First true cocktail was a Tanqueray gin martini. During university, my specialities were martinis and gimlets.

What’s the biggest misconception about mixology, or cocktails in general, that you’d like to dispel? The general feeling around cocktails being "too sweet." There's a fear around this that usually comes from one experience of an unbalanced cocktail. Rather than drinkers steering their bartenders away from what they don't like, I would love to see people sharing what flavor profiles they love and trusting their bartenders to create around that.

What’s your ideal meal and pairing? These days, I've been craving a bowl of rice with salted grilled mackerel and pickled vegetables. This pairs perfectly with a simple shōchū and club soda with a squeeze of yuzu.

Kumiko co-owner and beverage director Julia Momosé. Photo by Sammy Faze
Kumiko co-owner and beverage director Julia Momosé. Photo by Sammy Faze

MICHELIN Guide Ceremony

Keep Exploring - Stories we think you will enjoy reading