Born and raised in Japan, Julia Momose’s mother introduced her to the notion of hospitality by entertaining family guests with meticulous detail and special attention to their individual needs. Momose knew she wanted to be a professional bartender after visiting a speakeasy in Kobe and seeing the care taken by the bartender to hand-chip spheres of ice for cocktails. She adopted the motto “everything matters” and made it her mission to offer the same level of hospitality in her life. 

She spent the first decade of her career at GreenRiver Restaurant and Bar in Chicago and was head bartender when the restaurant won a Michelin star in 2016. After bartending at Grant Achatz’s Aviary, she paired up with Noah and Cara Sandoval at Oriole, crafting beverage menus to pair with the restaurant’s two-Michelin-star tasting menu. There, she started crafting spirit-free cocktails, beginning her campaign against words like “mocktail,” “zero proof,” and “soft drink.” 

In 2018, she opened her own bar in Chicago called Kumiko in partnership with the Sandovals. The bar is named after a style of precise Japanese woodworking. Along with light bites from Chef Sandoval, Momose serves an omakase-style cocktail experience with a mix of alcoholic and spirit-free beverages. She’s been named one of “America’s Best Mixologists” by Food & Wine, an Eater “Young Gun,” and made Zagat’s “30 Under 30” list. She’s also one of the bartenders at the new four-story Starbucks headquarters in Chicago.

Blended Cocktail

Curry Vanilla Coffee Shake
Bartender Julia Momose of Kumiko | Chicago
Yield: 2 to 3 servings
Adapted by StarChefs


1 cup lemon juice
½ cup granulated sugar
1 cup cold brew concentrate
2 teaspoons curry powder
6 cups vanilla ice cream
Lemon wheel


In a Vitamix blender, add lemon juice, sugar, and curry powder. Blend until sugar and curry powder are dissolved. Add ½ cup crushed ice to the blender. With blender on medium speed, gradually stream in cold brew concentrate until fully incorporated. Before ice is completely melted, add vanilla ice cream. Blend on high speed until smooth. Transfer shake into a glass of your choice. Garnish with lemon wheel and a dusting of additional curry powder.

Blended Cocktail

Bartender Julia Momose of Kumiko | Chicago
Adapted by StarChefs


Adzuki Syrup:
400 grams red bean paste
200 grams sugar

Benimosu Syrup:
100 grams purple sweet potato vinegar
400 grams sugar

To Assemble and Serve:
0.75 ounces Seedlip Spice 94 Non-Alcoholic Spirit
0.75 ounces verjus rouge
Club soda
Indian tonic water
Grated white chocolate
Grated nutmeg


For the Adzuki Syrup:
In a Vitamix blender, combine all ingredients and 200 grams water. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a non-reactive container and reserve.

For the Benimosu Syrup:
In a Vitamix blender, combine all ingredients and 300 grams water. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a non-reactive container and reserve.

To Assemble and Serve:
In a cocktail shaker, add Seedlip Spice 94, verjus rouge, ¾ ounce Adzuki Syrup, and ¾ ounce Benimosu Syrup. Shake to combine. Strain into a chilled coupe glass and top with club soda and tonic. Garnish with white chocolate and grated nutmeg.


Content and recipes developed in partnership with Julia MomoseStarChefs and Vitamix Commercial.