CapNY Cocktails at Home: Janesha “Jaja” Levons

Janesha “Jaja” Levons is a mixologist and model. She lived all around the world as part of a miliary family, and then settled down in Saratoga Springs, where her love for entertaining and creativity began.

Jaja shares two signature drink recipes with CapNY readers. Cheers to all!

After working as a mixologist, model, and other freelance jobs, Jaja moved to Brooklyn, where she walked runways and worked in over 30 venues, rooftops, and restaurants as a bartender. Now, she’s back in the CapNY, bartending at The Berlin in Troy and reinventing her modeling career.

No two great bars are ever alike

Jaja

Every bar was a new challenge, every venue had new cocktails and a new culture to explore. No two great bars are ever alike. Maybe that’s why I never stayed in any one bar for too long… Once I conquered the cocktail program and culture (which never took very long), the challenge was over, and so was the allure. I had a Forbes 100 client contract me to bartend at a private mansion, where I created a cocktail list especially geared for him and his guests for two days.

I’ve worked in London at a private lounge in a luxury residential building where I not only created a cocktail program, but also arranged private parties and gatherings. I just love to create and bring people together to enjoy life. And yes I’m pretty fond of alcohol too…

Everybody loves a nice sangria and daiquiri, especially as we start heading into warmer weather. I’ve put together these special recipes that you can make from the comfort of your own home.

Sangria by Jaja

Sangria prep

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups of frozen fruits (I like to use mixed berries)
1 Cup Rum (I recommend Bacardi Silver)
Simple Syrup (recipe below)
1 Extra Large Orange squeezed ( 1/4 – 1/2 cup of its juice)
1 Bottle of White or Red Wine (your preference)

Simple syrup
1/2 Cup boiling water (you can microwave it if you’d like )
1/2 Cup of Brown Sugar

Sangria

Steps:
1. In a large pitcher or bowl place the frozen fruit (at least semi-thawed)
2. Pour the rum over the frozen fruit so the juices can start to marinate in the rum.
3. Pour the simple syrup in the mixture and let it sit for 15 minutes.
4. With a metal hand whisk, mix all together with the goal of mashing the fruits as much as possible. You can also use a wooden spoon or muddler, I prefer the whisk. You can also use a blender. If you find it too difficult (or the fruit is too frozen), let the fruit sit in for a little longer and allow the rum to do its job!
5. Add the juice from the orange
6. Pour wine (750ml ) red or white (I use red) over mixture.
7. Place it in the fridge for four hours. Remember the longer it sits the stronger the berry flavor will be….it’s great to have it sit overnight too!
8. Once it’s ready, serve over ice in your favorite cocktail glass!

Jaja’s Daiquiri

Jaja's Daiquiri

Ingredients:
1 Cup Rum (Bacardi Silver)
Simple Syrup (same recipe as above)
1 1/2 Cup Frozen Strawberries
2 1/2 Cups of ice 
1 lime

Steps;
1. In a large pitcher or bowl place the frozen fruit (at least semi-thawed)
2. Pour the rum over the frozen fruit so the juices can start to marinate in the rum.
3. Pour the simple syrup in the mixture and let it sit for 15 minutes.
4. With a metal hand whisk, mix all together with the goal of mashing the fruits as much as possible. You can also use a wooden spoon or muddler, I prefer the whisk. You can also use a blender. If you find it too difficult (or the fruit is too frozen), let the fruit sit in for a little longer and allow the rum to do its job!
5. Refrigerate the mixture for four hours.
6. Add a dash of club soda and squeeze a large lime wedge into the mixture.
7. Serve over ice in your favorite cocktail glass.

ENJOY!

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