Molly Wellmann is the co-owner of Japp’s and the author of
Step into Japp’s, and you’ll feel transported to a 19th century saloon with its vintage glamour, atmosphere and hospitality.
The elaborate drink list covers everything you could want: craft cocktails, wines, champagnes, a wide selection of bottled craft beers, homemade mixer ingredients and, not to mention, any liquor you could think of and bartenders who know how to mix them up. And be sure to try a coffee drink – alcoholic or not – with Tazza Mia coffee.
Behind it all is Molly Wellmann, co-owner of Japp’s. She recently put pen to paper to capture what makes Japp’s special, especially the craft cocktail recipes, in a new book titled Handcrafted Cocktails: The Mixologist’s Guide to Classic Drinks for Morning, Noon & Night.
“The book includes all the cocktails that we make here at Japp’s,” says Wellmann. “We use the same techniques as they did before prohibition, using fresh ingredients since they didn’t have artificial flavors in the 1880s.” When asked why she decided to write a book, Wellmann admits, “At first it wasn’t my idea,” she laughs, “then F+W Media in Blue Ash came to me and asked me if I wanted to write a book. I agreed!”
Because each drink is unique, Wellmann dedicated a great deal of time and effort to writing the book. “I had notebooks full of cocktails,” she explains. “And there was a lot of fact-checking. When you check facts, there are three or four stories for the background of each cocktail. I chose the most interesting and most believable.” Each cocktail has a story of its origin or some story that relates back to Cincinnati.
Once it was published in July 2013, Japp’s began sharing the book’s cocktail history with its patrons. When you get a cocktail, they create the cocktail and tell you the story behind it. “We’re not order-takers. You can’t just come in and order and then get your drink and leave,” says Wellmann. “We try to create an experience for you that is not just like any other bar.”
In addition to co-owning Japp’s and promoting the book, Wellmann co-owns several other bars: Neon’s Unplugged, Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar and Japp’s Annex. Neon’s is a laid back beer garden that features craft beers, liquor infusions, and cocktails. Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar is a small bar (it only holds 40 people) that serves mostly American whiskey. The Annex is a dance party that’s open on the weekends that showcases music of the 1940s through today and serves special shots, beer and quickly-prepared drinks.
While she took some time away from bartending to write her book, Wellmann looks forward to getting back to her routine. “I have been taking a break from being behind the bar and I miss it a lot. I want to go back so I am free up my schedule so I can get back behind the bar again,” she explains. “I always put ideas together for the future, but I live every day day-by-day. We will see what the future has for me.”
Her favorite recipe in the book? She suggests you try The Porch Swing on pg. 61. “It’s the most refreshing drink on the face of the earth,” she laughs.