Once he was just a mere busboy, but now he’s the mastermind behind Jinsei Sushi Oxford’s craft cocktails. Jake Loyer has made a name for himself by diving into the world of shake, stir and sip.
“I had known a little bit of it [cocktails] through Aaron Wisniewski and Josh Kelley at E.B. Strong’s,” Loyer said.
Loyer worked under Wisniewski and Kelley at the famous steakhouse in Burlington, Vermont. He first started as a busboy and slowly learned his way around the restaurant, which led him to the bar.
While working with Wisniewski and Kelley, Loyer started to learn the basics of cocktails before he would make his way down south to attend Ole Miss.
“I came here, and Oxford had that aura that Jayce McDonald built [at Snackbar],” Loyer said. “The city of Oxford was moving more towards craft cocktails.”
Since McDonald’s departure from Oxford, the door was opened for newcomers, such as Loyer, to dive into the craft cocktail scene, according to Loyer.
“I started to get interested [in cocktails], and I found some joy in doing it and coming up with my own drinks,” Loyer said.
Loyer likes to experiment with different and nontraditional cocktail ingredients when he creates his own cocktails.
“I like to try random things,” Loyer said. “If it works, it works, and if it doesn’t, it is back to the drawing board.”
Although he enjoys experimenting and creating his own original cocktails, Loyer also likes making classic cocktails, such as a daiquiri.
“They’re easy to make, but in my opinion, they can tell you a lot about a bartender,” Loyer stated.
Daiquiris require the right proportions of being spirit-forward, sweet and sour, says Loyer.
Although it requires minimal ingredients, the negroni, he says, is one of the more difficult drinks to make due to execution, which can cause a hit or a miss.
“In the way of daiquiris, they [negronis] need to be so precise, but even made incorrectly it would still be fine,” Loyer said. “But a perfect negroni is difficult to come by because it is hard to get the proportions perfect.”
Campari is one of the main ingredients used in a negroni and, due to its overpowering flavor, it can be difficult to pair it accurately with the other negroni ingredients, Loyer noted.
With spring approaching, Loyer has another list of his own craft cocktails brewing behind the scenes. You can look forward to their refreshing taste in the coming month.
By Talbert Toole, associate editor of HottyToddy.com. He can be reached at email@example.com.