Ask a Bartender: Joe from Hojoko

Hojoko, The Verb Hotel’s rock ‘n roll sushi and late-night hotspot, may just be the coolest new kid on the Boylston block in The Fenway. The dark-wood izakaya hangout feels like the inside of a 1960s Japanese jukebox with its paper lanterns and neon pop fixtures, katakana posters of famous rock bands, open kitchen in the back and a long chrome and green formica bar, mood-lit for intimate conversations over inventive cocktails.

We talked with resident bartender, Joe about Hojoko and the cocktails he’s fixing up for the fall and winter season.

Q: So what are you making for us today?

It’s called a hato [Japanese for “dove”]. Going into the fall, we wanted to use a little bit of cinnamon in a cocktail.

Joe whips up the cocktail, naming off the ingredients as he adds them into the shaker.

Combier Pamplemousse (aka grapefruit soda), mezcal tequila to provide a little bit of smokiness, black rice shochu, a little bit of our homemade cinnamon syrup and just a squirt of lime.

Joe shakes the cocktail with vigor.

Q: Where are you from, Joe?

I grew up in Melrose. I’ve been here my whole life. I live in Medford now.

Q: What do you do on your days off?

I’m actually a brand ambassador for a whiskey company…so I spend my days off tasting whiskey instead of serving it! I just got married so I hang out with my wife a lot.

Q: Nice! What’s her name?


Q: Do you have any kids?

Not yet. working on it.

Q: Are you a sports fan?

Big sports fan. I pretty much negotiated Sundays off for my whole career to watch the Patriots. I used to be a season ticket holder for the Celtics, until working at night got in the way.

Q: So who were you rooting for in the World Series with the Red Sox out?

I was rooting for the American League team, just like my dad taught me.

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Editor’s Note: This interview is part of a branded-content series for, an arts & entertainment site that generates commercial/residential interest in The Fenway neighborhood of Boston.