After moving to Tennessee from Colorado Springs, CO, J.A. Harrison began his Nashville bartending journey at 51st Kitchen and Bar in The Nations, where he was promoted to lead bartender after a few short months. He studied culinary techniques under executive chef Francesco Vito and fashioned a beverage program to reflect and compliment Vito’s hyper-local-seasonal farm- to-table menu. Using fresh herbs that he cultivated in their on-premise produce garden, J.A. developed recipes for all of the housemade syrups, tinctures and tonics which he used in curating a seasonally-rotating menu of house cocktails. While lead bartender for 51st Kitchen and Bar, J.A. competed in Nashville’s inaugural Commonwealth cocktail competition.
Following his time at 51st Kitchen and Bar, J.A. moved to Pinewood Social where he studied for a year under the tutelage of Nashville industry giant Matt Tocco. While there, he participated in creating the official “Nashville Gin” for the United States Bartenders’ Guild at Edinburgh Gin’s “Science of Distillation” laboratory with head distiller Dave Wilkinson. Representing Pinewood Social in Nashville’s second annual Commonwealth cocktail competition, J.A. took home the 1st place grand prize for the winning cocktail.
Since joining the Makeready team in September of 2017 to help open Noelle Nashville, J.A. has been named a 2017 Espolòn “Cocktail Fights” regional finalist; won the USBG Southern Regionals for an absinthe distillation education in the Val de Travers, Switzerland, as a 2018 Kübler “Reimagining the Classics” national champion; was named a top-ten 2018 Castle & Key “Restoration Release” national finalist; and most recently took home 2nd place as the runner-up of the 2018 Espolòn “Cocktail Fights”.
As the Director of Events for the Nashville chapter of the United States Bartenders’ Guild for the past year, J.A. Harrison has been committed to making his city’s blossoming beverage community a rich and thriving environment for all to grow and practice their craft. He believes in the Earth and is committed to giving back to her. As an amateur gardener and forager, he is continually seeking out ways to improve sustainability, reduce carbon footprint, provide for bees and butterflies and preserve the planet, all the while delving deeper into the rich and storied history of the herbs and botanical compounds that are quintessential to producing the great spirits and cocktails of his trade. When you don’t see him behind one of Noelle’s several bars, you can find him outside at any Tennessee state park; camping, hiking and paddleboarding with his wife and their two dogs.