Azie Media: Straight-Up Session with Bartender Juan Howard

Azie, a chic, contemporary Asian fusion restaurant, offers a trendy Center City atmosphere in the heart of Media.

New this autumn, Azie celebrates Chef Kazuyuki Mitsui’s fall cuisine, paired with mixologist Juan Howard’s creatively artful cocktails.


Howard, who hails from the Cleveland, OH area, lives in Media with his wife and two young children. He joined the Azie team in 2009. Prior to Azie, he gained experience in night clubs, college taverns, country clubs and restaurants. Once landing at Azie, he knew it was a perfect fit.

“I love Media for the regulars. I feel like I’m part of people’s lives. The staff here is like family,” he says. “I have artistic freedom here, I get to make new things and taste new things. It’s such a nice place. It’s fun!”

Howard appreciates his ability to try new cocktail concoctions.


“It’s art. I am a cocktail artist and a teacher. I try to make something that fits your mood or introduce you to a drink you’ve never tried before.”

Every bartender has their own niche, their own secret. Howard credits his curiosity.

“Curiosity is the secret. It’s all about culinary curiosity and intellect. My goal is to mix a cocktail that will enhance the flavors of a particular dish or play off the dish to intensify the flavors of the cocktail,” he says. “Sometimes it can be quite the challenge fusing such a wide range of flavors. It’s all about the harmony.”

And harmony it is. I was treated to new autumn menu selections paired with Howard’s creative cocktails, and each combination is artfully delightful.


Earth Magic is a velvety smooth mix of Revivalist Gin Harvest Expression, distilled in nearby Chester County, fresh-squeezed orange juice, egg whites (which are optional) and house-made beet syrup.

“We make the syrups in house using fresh, locally sourced vegetables and fruits,” Juan says. “We have a great symbiosis between the bar and the kitchen. It cuts down on unused ingredients.”


The sweet and tart Earth Magic pairs well with meat, especially the tender Braised Grass Fed Short Ribs with savory truffle mashed potatoes, wild maitake mushrooms and blue cheese.


The Structure Fire is made up of Japanese blend Suntory Toki Whisky, Ancho Reyes, a Mexican poblano chile liqueur, Cherry Heering, and burnt sugar syrup. The speciality cocktail is served in a rocks glass with a hand-cut ice cube that perfectly fits the glass. “The cubes don’t water down the cocktail as quickly, and you’ll find the drink stays clear because of the custom cut and size of the ice,” says Howard.


It is paired with the Tempura Fried Wild Halibut, a lean, mild fish drizzled with spicy Thai coconut milk curry over a crispy brown rice cake with grilled shrimp and lightly fried leeks.


Au Pear starts with Zy Zubrowka Vodka, also known as Bison Grass Vodka, a dry, herb-flavored spirit. You can note the vanilla, coconut and almond flavors.


The Herbed Smoked New Zealand Lamb pairs well with Au Pear. The delicate lamb, specially smoked right at the table, is served with seasoned yucca potatoes, crispy wild local mushrooms and a Chardonnay gruyere cheese sauce.


The Kawabata Daiquiri is a light, refreshing cocktail of rum, King’s Ginger Liqueur, fresh lime juice, cucumber and simple syrup.


It’s a perfect match for the Octopus Ceviche, tender octopus with tomatoes, avocado and yuzu ceviche sauce. Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit, a cross between a Meyer lime and lemon. It’s tart and aromatic of fresh flowers.

Howard welcomes you to stop by and sip for yourself. Cheers!

Find Azie at 217 State St. in Media; phone: (610) 696-3788.

  • Food photos: Dallyn Pavey
  • Remaining photos: Michele Kornegay