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Meet the Mixologist: Jocelyn Jolley

Jocelyn Jolley is head bartender at Michael’s on Naples, an Italian restaurant in Long Beach, CA.

What was your first job in the beverage or hospitality industry?

One of my first jobs in the service industry was at a little brunch spot on the water called Schooner Or Later in Long Beach. It was a mom-and-pop local greasy spoon where I really cut my teeth in a super busy and bustling atmosphere. There was no choice but to sink or swim, and I quickly learned how to think fast on my feet.

How did you learn bartending and improve when you were starting out?

In the beginning, I sat at the well of every bartender I knew in town, with my notebook, and asked every question. I listened to podcasts, watched every video I could find and Googled anything and everything while having the opportunity to try out any idea I had while working at Michael’s. I was told that if I had a good idea, I could do almost anything I wanted; I just had to make it taste good and look great.

What is your favorite spirit to work with at the moment?

My favorite spirit to work with right now is mezcal. I feel like there are so many layers to this agave spirit, and the smokiness aspect adds an extra challenge for me in blending other flavors. Also, working in an Italian restaurant, combining the bitterness of most Italian liqueurs with this versatile spirit ends up creating the perfect balance that you would never expect.

You support small businesses in the area and nationally; how do you find these sources for bar ingredients?

I consider myself very lucky to have highly trusted and knowledgeable liquor distribution representatives. They understand my style and preferences, whether it’s a locally sourced product or woman-owned, and they always bring me the best and coolest new products. Additionally, I rely on my fellow coworkers and the good old internet.

What are some of the events you’ve produced with local brands?

I am currently exploring the possibility of organizing more events with local spirit brands in the future. Up unto this point, the sommelier team at Michael’s has actively collaborated with a new wine producer each month to host a Wine Dinner, where we pair the guest brand’s best bottles with a five-course meal prepared by our executive chef to highlight the notes and varieties.

I would love to host something similar with local distillers. It’s very inspiring to see two experts in their craft come together and create a beautifully paired dining experience, and I’m eager to try my hand at it.

What are some of the popular cocktails on the menu currently?

Some of our most popular cocktails would have to be the Cocco Bravo, featuring coconut fat-washed Nosotros blanco tequila, pineapple, cane and lime. Its subtle flavors are refreshing and tart, making it agreeable to everyone regardless of the season.

Additionally, we offer an extensive Negroni section on our menu, with the Negroni Sour quickly rising to the top of our favorites. This cocktail includes housemade orange cordial, Grey Whale gin, Campari and Antica sweet vermouth, all whipped together with a fresh egg white and a splash of lemon. It ends up resembling something akin to an orange creamsicle and is quite delightful.

What’s your own current go-to cocktail or beverage?

My current go-to cocktail would have to be any tequila or mezcal neat, accompanied by an orange slice. I prefer to keep it simple and savor something slowly. Although, I also always enjoy a nice, bold glass of red wine.

Would you share one of your favorite drink recipes?

One creation of mine that sits close to my heart is The Dea Divina. As a woman in the bartending industry, I find it so important to support and uplift other women, so I decided to craft a cocktail made exclusively of spirits by female distillers. It’s smoky and earthy and delivers a hint of sweetness, all balancing the remarkable flavors of these inspiring distillers.


Dea Divina

Course Drinks
Keyword Amaro Bianco, Amaro Nonino, gin, honey, mezcal


1 oz. Amass Mushroom Reserve gin1 oz. Gem and Bolt mezcal½ oz. Amaro Nonino½ oz. Americano BiancoBar spoon of honey


Stir all ingredients and pour over a big cube.
Light a palo santo stick on fire and fill a bell jar fill with smoke.
Place cocktail in a bell jar and allow smoke to encase it.
Garnish with an edible flower.


Jocelyn Jolley, head bartender at Michael’s on Naples in Long Beach, CA, created this recipe.

The post Meet the Mixologist: Jocelyn Jolley appeared first on Cheers.

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