Julianna McIntosh has a passion for travel, good food, and a well made cocktail. Her focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients has led to almost 400k followers and some delicious creations: a Nectarine Whiskey Sour, Tropical Aperol Spritz, and a Spicy Watermelon Mezcal Mint Julep, to name just a few of her most popular drink recipes. Get to know the bartender behind Join Jules and learn a few of her favorite home bar tips.
You make such inventive and playful cocktails. What inspires your drinks?
The inspiration behind each cocktail really and truly falls in line with what’s fresh and in season. It’s so important to me to use fresh ingredients and more importantly real ingredients when making cocktails. From day one it’s been my goal to show people how to create great tasting cocktails at home with what’s fresh and in season. Why? Because first off, it just tastes better and there's no doubt about that. Secondly, it’s better for you and more often than not, easier than having x amount of ingredients.
What was the first cocktail that made you fall in love with mixology?
The first cocktail that made me fall in love with mixology has to be the Pisco Sour. It was the first real cocktail I ever had and I had the opportunity to make while on a family vacation in Peru. At the time, having no real history in the cocktail world, it was the Pisco Sour that showcased what balance meant in a cocktail and the endless possibilities with the right ingredients. Plus, I now knew that you could create a velvety cocktail with egg whites? Say no more. I was hooked.
From day one it’s been my goal to show people how to create great tasting cocktails at home with what’s fresh and in season.
Do you have any favorite liqueurs?
Again, it really does depend on the season. If you follow me long enough, you will see my cocktails and inspiration change with the leaves and it’s true! For summer I’ll always pick Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur because the flavor and heat of this liqueur is perfect for a Spicy Mezcal cocktail or if you want to spice up a watermelon cooler. Now let’s say for fall, it would have to be Mr. Black’s Coffee Liqueur, because creating a homemade boozy pumpkin spiced latte just screams fall.
What advice would you give to people building up their home bar?
The best advice, find what you like. Sounds obvious, I know. But, it’s true. It’s like my family would always tell me at the dinner table growing up, you always have to try it first before you say you don’t like it. This stuck with me and is true for an at home bar. Try new cocktails at a bar, buy new specialty liqueurs, and find what you like! Of course, if you’re building a bar have the basics: Tequila, Vodka, Whiskey, Bourbon, Gin, Rum, Vermouth and Cointreau. From there, pick the brands that are right for you!
Do you have a favorite cocktail?
It changes weekly. This week, with summer right around the corner it has to be tiki-inspired cocktails. There’s something about tiki cocktails that just says summer. That said, my favorite tiki cocktail at the moment is a homemade “healthy-ish” Mezcal Piña Colada. I say healthy-ish because we are using REAL coconut milk, not cream of coconut with 40 grams of added sugar in each serving, but real coconut milk and of course fresh pineapple juice. Trust me when I tell you, you’ll taste the difference.
What do you consider to be the most essential tools and glassware for a home bartender?
When it comes to tools, of course you need the basics: Shaker, Strainer, Jigger, and a citrus juicer. When it comes to glassware, you’ll need those basics: Martini glass, Highball glass, Rocks glass and Wine glasses (for the spritzes). Now from here, you find what you’re using most and what ingredients and that will help decide if you need a muddler, a zester or specialty glasses. It’s really great to start playing and build from there.
Any interesting trends you're seeing in the mixology space right now?
When it comes to trends, it depends on where you’re looking. Instagram is such a great place for that ‘wow’ factor with cocktails. It’s here you can be inspired by amazing bartenders and the creations they can come up with. On TikTok, most of the time, the ones that make you go viral are the ones with the most booze. So really and truly, it’s a toss up. But, what I’ve seen most that’s trending is presentation. Everyone is so visual right now, so the presentation of the final drink is everything.