Master Mixologist: Vladyslav Moroz, Lead Bartender of DAVID BURKE TAVERN on the UES

Master Mixologist: Vladyslav Moroz of DAVID BURKE TAVERN

By: Apr. 19, 2022
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Master Mixologist: Vladyslav Moroz, Lead Bartender of DAVID BURKE TAVERN on the UES

A native of Ukraine, Vladyslav Moroz's introduction to mixology was, like it is for most people, was a consumer of cocktails. He thought of them in terms of being instrumental to a good partying time. It never occurred to Moroz they would define his career until after he graduated from the Uman University of Horticulture and serendipity led to a job as a bartender in Moscow, where his boss became his mentor. Moroz learned mixology was a serious business and became fascinated by its many aspects, from the ongoing education of the palate about new products to gracefully handling the difficult situations that arise when the consumption of alcohol is involved. He worked at several of Moscow's most high profile, celebrity frequented cocktail bars for six years. In 2019, Moroz, his wife- a highly sought-after top model- and their daughter moved to London, where his skill and personality made him a draw at Martini Bar. Seven months later, his wife's career prompted their December 2019 relocation to New York City. The pandemic and the red tape involved in obtaining the documentation necessary to working in the U.S. put his career on pause until he took on the role of lead bartender at David Burke Tavern in March of 2022.

We had the pleasure of interviewing Vladyslay Moroz about his career and David Burke Tavern for our "Master Mixologist" feature.

When did you first become interested in the cocktail culture?

It was in 2012. I had just completed my education, having studied business management. I was looking for a job and a friend of a friend, who managed upscale bars in Moscow, was looking for new talent. I called him and he convinced me it would fun; I'd meet beautiful people and be able to drink with them. What could be wrong with that? So, I flew to Moscow and put myself in his hands. He not only taught me how to make cocktails, but how to run a bar and to how deal with customers. I soon realized there was a whole culture attached to tending bar and became intrigued by it.

What innovations in mixology and bartending do you find fascinating?

I'm a big fan of the low abv - low or now alcohol - trend, which is finally gaining major momentum with people be more health conscious. They want to enjoy the camaraderie of drinking but want to consume less alcohol. It's opening up a new chapter in mixology, generating a lot of creativity with ingredients and combinations. It's resulting in fun, very refreshing beverages for guests that tend to be fast to make, which is a plus for those of us making them.

How do restaurant and bar guests encourage your creativity?

By engaging with me. I treat my guests as if I am welcoming them into my home, so they'll relax and tell me about their personal preferences. I ask them questions, so I can recommend a cocktail on our list, which I can adjust to their tastes if necessary; if they have a particular drink in mind, I still drill down on it with questions to make sure what I serve more than meets expectations. And, of course, I love requests for something special made just for the person asking, because then I can come up with something new to their experience entirely based on their personal taste.

What are your preferred classic cocktails and why?

For me, it's the Negroni as the perfect balance of bitter (Campari), sweet (vermouth) and dry (gin). A Negroni is an aperitif, meaning it drunk before meals to stimulate the appetite. The bitter Campari in its composition kicks the liver and gallbladder into gear and prepares the entire digestive system for eating.

What are some of your favorite infusions and how do you like to use them in cocktails.

I Love spicey. And I think spicey is a natural fit with tequila, I infuse tequila with my own secret blend of ingredients, including jalapeno, and let the flavors mingle for a few days. Then I use the spiced tequila as an exciting flavor layer in cocktails.

Tell us about a few of your signature cocktails and why they are distinctive.

As I said, I love spicy. One of my cocktails, Kill Me Now, is certainly, that but it doesn't burn. It's a beautiful balance of my spiced tequila, Campari, vermouth and Alperol, smoothed out by my sour mix, which is 60% lime and 40% lemon, then, yes, further balances with the addition of 30 % by volume simple syrup. You get the sense of the strength of the alcohol, but it is easy to drink.

There is also Stone Island, an unexpected combination of tequila, bourbon, simple syrup, smoked agave syrup, plum bitters and orange bitters, made even more surprising by a brushstroke of white and dark chocolate on top of the single oversized ice cube. The finishing touch is an orange peel. It hits a lot of high flavor notes that blend wonderfully in a symphony for the palate.

Give us your perfect pairing of a cocktail and a culinary selection.

People tend to think of Bloody Marys as a brunch cocktail that pairs well with eggs and other morning to midday items. Yes, they do, but for me a Bloody Mary goes even better with a steak. Especially the those we serve at David Burke Tavern which are dry aged according to Chef Burke's patented pink Himalayan process. The spiciness of the horseradish, Worcestershire and hot sauce, along with the acidity of the tomato and lemon juices, cuts some of the richness of the steak, while brightening its flavors, adding even more depth.

Tell us a little bit about your company or restaurant. David Burke Tavern is the flagship of international award-winning chef, David Burke, who is considered one of the most innovative chefs in the country and one of the most influential pioneers of contemporary American cuisine. One of his roster of 18 restaurants in NY, NY, NC, CO and Saudi Arabia, It occupies two floors of a lovely Upper East Aide Manhattan townhouse with five distinctively decorated rooms, each with its own particular charm. Of course, everywhere the food, with its eye-candy presentations, seduces and often surprises the palate. One of the many things Chef Burke is know for are his boldly creative combinations of ingredients.

We were open on and off during the height of the pandemic, reopening permanently in January for dinner and the Saturday brunch. We are just starting lunch and Sunday brunch two. IN addition to our a la carte dinner, lunch and brunch menus, we have value loaded happy hour, bar and a prix fixe dinner menus. Our happy hour, one of the few that includes Saturday assures a lively bar scene and our monthly prix fixe is a culinary bargain at $49 for three-courses.

Editor's Note: Stay tuned to Broadwayworld Food and Wine for more news of David Burke Tavern. We had the pleasure of dining at the restaurant to enjoy outstanding contemporary cuisine and we also sampled Vladyslav creative cocktails.

David Burke Tavern is located at 135 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For menus, hours of operation and to contact, please visit or call 212.288.9021.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of David Burke Tavern and Vladyslav Moroz