"Van" Morrison - Master Mixologist


Master Mixologist
Vanessa “Van” Morrison
Winks Bar and Grille

This is the first of a new monthly series that will feature Northeast Ohio’s most popular and innovative bartenders. The term “Master Mixologist” is granted only to those individuals who excel at a handful of attributes. Not only should the bartender be technically proficient, but creative and personable.

Vanessa “Van” is Northeast Ohio’s newest cocktail gunslinger. Originally from Pennsylvania, she currently reigns supreme at the newest and most unique concept from the Winking Lizard, Winks Bar and Grille. Helping the Galleria come back to life, Winks has been a hit since opening a few weeks ago.

Part of the success is its ambitious cocktail menu, which Morrison brought a lot of experience to. She came Winking Lizard owner John Lane’s attention after winning the Hangar One regional cocktail competition in 2011. Recognizing her talent, Lane enticed Morrison to accept a corporate position as his company’s official mixologist, developing all the Lizard’s cocktail menus.

At Winks, Morrison has really been able to spread her wings. Some of her more creative efforts include ingredients like smoked bison grass, “charred” ice, egg whites, and even nicotine! Beyond beyond the liquid wonderland, Morrison’s personality also packs a punch. It is easy to understand how she can hold court at Winks and make any type of customer feel comfortable. When I met her, she was days away from becoming the first female bartender to win the Fabulous Food Show mixology competition.

The combination of delightfully odd ingredients and a welcoming personality is Morrison’s ticket to being a Master Mixologist. Between the Steelers and Morrison, Pennsylvania is really giving us a run for our money. At least Morrison is a Clevelander now. Check out a couple of her creations at Winks and judge for yourself.

Smoking Jacket ($6)
Four Roses Single Barrel
tobacco/anise infused bitters
fresh lemon juice
house made honey syrup

“Charred Ice” Smoked Rye Manhattan ($6.50)
Bulleit Rye
Fernet Branca
Simple Syrup
Orange Bitters
Smoked Ice Puck

Winks Bar and Grille
The Galleria
1301 East 9th St.
Downtown Cleveland

About The Author

Jason Beudert

Jason Beudert has had a dynamic career as a leader with The Walt Disney Company, ESPNZone, The Cleveland Indians, and as a restaurant entrepreneur. He is utilizing his twenty years of hospitality experience along with his love for the Cleveland food scene to contribute exciting and insightful food pieces for Scene...
Scroll to read more Cleveland News articles
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.