In the fifth grade, Alex Jump cooked a whole chicken for her family—the first inkling of a career that would be defined by flavors, the kitchen and the creative process. Today, as a bar manager in Denver, she often invents drinks drawn from culinary inspirations, a style she attributes to coming up through restaurant bars. “Having a really close relationship with the chefs I worked with very much influenced the drinks I made, based on what they were cooking,” says Jump.
Though she’d had plans to go into academia, while studying abroad in Florence during college, she got an internship at an enoteca, operating out of a massive wine cellar. She fell in love with the smells, tastes and sensations of the job, and, once she returned to the States, “that was when I was like, all right, I definitely want to learn how to do this.”
Back in Chattanooga, Jump began serving and barbacking at a local restaurant, where she was introduced to craft components that had been inspired by the culinary world, such as housemade syrups and fresh juices. She quickly found herself borrowing flavors and tastes from the kitchen in the drinks she was developing on her own.
In recent years, she has begun to pay more attention to how her interests in life outside the bar could intersect with the work of putting together a menu—and how important prioritizing balance is to maintaining her creativity. Jump has come to rely on yoga, which she’s practiced for 14 years, for training her mind to be simultaneously open and focused. That theme of balance is one she’s also bringing to the bar, as she finds herself increasingly drawn toward low-ABV drinks and sherry-based cocktails, allowing guests to imbibe in a more mindful fashion.
“I don’t feel like I can be creative if I’m not giving myself room to breathe,” she says. “Learning to have balance is my mantra.”
About the Canvas Project
BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Gin, in partnership with Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, is proud to present ‘The Canvas Project’, a content series featuring the creative passions of the 12 finalists in the 2020 Most Imaginative Bartender (MIB) Competition. From photography and videography, to home gardening tips and mindfulness tutorials, the webinars are designed to spark inspiration and discovery, and foster connection by sharing bartenders’ personal passions in times of hardship.
Last year’s iteration of MIB introduced the Canvas Challenge, a $25,000 grant awarded to a finalist to turn their creative vision into reality. This ambitious test further heightened the imagination component of the competition to a new level and served as a reinforcement of Bombay Sapphire’s belief in the innate creativity of bartenders, which often translates outside the glass as much as it does inside of it.
The episodes of ‘The Canvas Project’ are designed around the Canvas Challenge submissions of the 12 finalists, who hail from Portland to Atlanta, Toronto to Miami, giving viewers a peek inside the inner workings of the program.
Read More About Alex
Meet the Most Imaginative Bartender National Finalists
The 12 bartenders from the U.S. and Canada advancing to the MIB national finals.