James Wood has been awarded Best Cocktails in OC, Readers Choice Vote for Best Bartender and Best Signature Cocktail and OC Weekly’s Drink of The Week twice. Born in England, but grew up in Aberdeen, Scotland and now he resided in Orange County as the Owner of Outlaw Bar Consultant and a Sales Representative at Wine Warehouse. His first job was at a local golf course waiting tables, once he turned 18 he was allowed to work the bar, which was not that glamorous. At age 19 he landed a job at TGI Friday where his passion for mixing drinks started. While working there he got a tattoo on his arm that says “Cocktails and Dream,” making him feel just like Tom Cruise. While working there, with minimal experience, he had more failures than success when he would try to create his own drinks.
Since his time in the OC he has seen a change in demand of cocktails that are made with house made syrups, fresh juices and garnished with fresh herbs. With this transition in the bar scene, it has opened up endless possibilities to craft the perfect cocktails. Wood’s philosophy is “you can never stop creating.” Concocting something new for guests on a nightly basis has kept the job unpredictable and exciting when someone is tasting a hand crafted cocktail for the first time. Wood describes three things to keep in mind to be a successful mixologist: simple, sexy and sophisticated. Just as yourself “would Dean Martin or Ernest Hemingway drink it?”
On Wood’s free time he likes researching and bouncing ideas off with his wife’s amazing palate for the next cocktail. They also like spending time together at home cooking, they find it therapeutic and they enjoy experimenting new recipes.