Sophie Burton is the beverage director of JoJo’s Beloved Cocktail Lounge in Atlanta, which opened in July 2021. Hidden behind a secret door inside a food hall in Atlanta, the intimate cocktail spot transports guests to the vintage glamour of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Burton has curated a beverage menu of intentionally nostalgic favorites with a modern twist.
What was your first job in the beverage or hospitality industry?
My first job in the hospitality industry was working at my stepmother’s coffee shop when I was 13. My first bar job was right at 21 in Chicago in Ukrainian Village.
What is your favorite spirit to work with at the moment?
Unaged and aged grape brandies from different regions! I’ve been pretty stuck on working with Cognac, singani, and pisco for a little while.
JoJo’s Beloved offers fun, garishly colored drinks. What’s the inspiration for or strategy behind them?
We think that the modern cocktail making methods and techniques are awesome, and the exploration of different base spirits has expanded the creative and flavor possibilities pretty vastly. However, drinks stopped looking fun for a while, and were taken very seriously.
We want to take those elevated spirits, ingredients, and techniques and bring them back into the “drinking cocktails is fun because they taste good and look fun” realm. With the aesthetic that JoJo’s has, nothing makes more sense than loud and bright cocktails.
What are some of the specialty shots you’re offering?
We’ve noticed over the years that even in your most upscale establishments, the customer often wants a shot/shooter that is composed and goes down easier than straight whiskey or tequila. We realized that our cocktails are great as shots, so we’re offering a few of our house cocktails (the SOS, Bluetsey Collins and Saggitarian Sour) as shots so we can provide a consistent, elevated and fun experience every time,
How does the retro theme of the bar translate to the wine program?
While seemingly passé now, the king of wine lists that I found from the ‘70s and ‘80s was Champagne, Napa and Burgundy. Old hat to my generation, but in the ‘70s the drama of “The Judgement at Paris” (the 1973 Paris Tasting that brought international recognition to California wines and the Napa Valley) was still fresh and controversial. To me, I want to explore and celebrate those classic styles in an environment where they would have felt brand new.
What’s your current go-to cocktail or beverage?
I’m pretty hung up on real Cognac Sidecars and French 75s lately. They’re just so lush and pleasing to drink!
Would you share one of the most popular at JoJo’s Beloved, or one of your favorite drink recipes?
A runaway favorite at JoJo’s has been our Bee’s Gees cocktail, a mashup of a Sloe Gin Fizz and a Bee’s Knees.
- ½ oz. Galliano
- ½ oz. Ruby port
- ½ oz. Sloe gin
- ½ oz. Honey syrup
- ½ oz. Lemon juice
- 1 ½ oz. Champagne or sparkling wine
- Combine ingredients except Champagne in a shaker tin and add cubed ice.
- Shake vigorously shake for about 10 seconds, or until you hear the ice crack and the outside of the tins are cold. Using a hawthorne and a fine strainer, double strain into a chilled coupe glass.
- Top with Champagne and garnish with a dehydrated lemon wheel or a manicured lemon peel.