Meet Jacob Ransom, the bar supervisor at NOLA Smokehouse & Bar

As told to Amy Spanton

Images by Christopher Pearce

I got into the hospitality industry back in 2017 when I left high school. Right away I moved to Singapore with my dad and worked at the Ritz Carlton there. When I came back to Australia I started my degree in hospitality management and I was working with the Marriot group.

When I had finished work I always came to NOLA for a drink and I was so amazed by the backbar eventually I asked for a job.

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Right now I am drinking American whiskey, of course. The 1792 Sweet Wheat Bourbon is amazing. But if I’m out or after work I’ll be drinking beer and whiskey, like most bartenders.

I think the reason I love hospo is that I’ve always loved going that extra mile to give a customer a great experience, a really personal customised experience and seeing how they respond to that. I love that feeling…

COVID definitely change my work life. I was out of work for quite a few months. I was in between jobs. I was really frustrated with the government payments as lots of hospo staff were left out and not looked after. If you were casual or new to a job you weren’t eligible. Finally things are getting much better here at NOLA. The recent changes to stand-up drinking were a big boost.

I love most things about the bar industry. Sometimes the arrogance of customers treating people like slaves annoys me when we’re just here to help them. Another thing that I’ve struggled with is that I live quite far from the city and the transport network doesn’t support late night workers. Early morning workers are prioritised and all the trains end before we finish work at around midnight. An Uber all the way home for me is around $190.

“I think the reason I love hospo is that I’ve always loved going that extra mile to give a customer a great experience, a really personal customised experience and seeing how they respond to that. I love that feeling…”

Before COVID I was really interested in moving overseas and working in places like Macau and Hong Kong but I’m really loving Sydney now and I’d even like to move to Melbourne. I’m loving my American whiskey so I’d love to get over there and do a tour of the distilleries.

In terms of mentors I’d like to make a note to Simon Hopkins, who was the Bar Manager at NOLA when I started. He’s moved on to be the ambassador for Angels Envy but he really took me under his wing and taught me most of what I know.

If I could have a drink with someone (alive or dead) I think I would be drinking Jack Daniels with Frank Sinatra. That would be awesome.

Jacob’s Signature Drink:
Smokehouse Sour
60ml Sazerac 6yr Rye
30ml hickory smoked orange juice
15ml Autumn peel cordial*
10ml lemon juice
whites
Dry shake, wet shake, and strain into coupe glass. 
Garnish with dried Autumn peel

*Autumn Peel Cordial:
Simmer seasonal apple and orange skins with equal parts water & juice
of the remaining apple flesh. 
Strain, and add 2 parts sugar to 1 part reduction.

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