A Meteoric Rise to Tik-Tok Fame
Justin Sajda, a landscaper with no formal mixology experience, was inspired by his wife to create an account on the popular one minute video app Tik-Tok in order to share his love for homemade cocktails. With only his second video, Justin received over 700,000 views of his demonstration of a homemade Mai Tai and at this point has amassed a following of over 57,000 users- well on his way to becoming an established influencer on the platform.
Justin attributes the success of his videos to the simplicity and quality of his at home recipes, a casual and humorous style, and the fact that he doesn’t rely on gimmicks to draw an audience- just straightforward and proper recipes for some of the world’s most popular cocktails.
What Makes the Thirsty Whale Unique
Justin’s love for cocktails began on his bachelor trip when his good friend introduced him to proper cocktails at a bar in Maine. From there his interest only grew as he began ‘collecting’ whisky in a competition with his friend. As of now, he has amassed a collection of over 140 bottles of different liquors at his home bar with his personal favorites being Antica Formula sweet vermouth and Forged Appleton Rum. He credits most of his learning to the Cocktail Codex book as well as The Smuggler’s Cove cocktail book. Justin feels that what makes his cocktail recipes and presentation style resonate with his audience is their simplicity. For example, the Mai Tai recipe has been altered over the last 50 years to add several unnecessary ingredients that alter the basic elements of the drink that made it so popular in the first place. Instead of eccentric garnishes or ingredients Justin chooses to focus on the aroma, visuals, and textures of his cocktails, as this is what truly makes a drink great. Justin’s specialty cocktail is the Negroni, which he teaches his viewers to mix from home the same way as the highest rated bar in New York City does.
Plans for the Future
Justin plans to continue to create Tik-Toks and feature new cocktails while growing his platform and audience. His favorite part of being a Tik-Tok influencer are the comments on his videos from viewers who have learned how to make their favorite drinks at home, or at least had a good laugh. He continues to be motivated by demonstrating high quality recipes for proper cocktails rather than using gimmicks or ‘cotton candy cocktails’ to draw in an audience, because while those videos are just a flash in the pan a true mixologist can establish a legitimate and loyal following. Justin puts it best when he says “this is a channel for people who want to make the world’s best cocktails at home” and nobody is more well equipped to teach them that then Justin- the Thirsty Whale himself.