Jay Ellis

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UPTOWN Magazine May 2015

Jay 06.22.2015
UPTOWN Magazine May 2015

Fans of The Game must bid adieu to the long-running football dramedy, whose ninth and final season kicks off in June—but it’s no goodbye to lead actor Jay Ellis. The Masters of Sex alum takes his first turn as a producer with indie rom-com Lemonade, which begins filming this summer in New York. The rest of his immediate future involves breaking ground on the newest outpost of Pilates Plus, the bodywork studio he owns, and enjoying his favorite friend (gin), plus a mint julep for extra measure.

How did you celebrate taping the series finale of The Game?

The night we wrapped also happened to be Lauren [London]’s birthday. [The producers of the show] did a champagne toast to every single actor as each finished their last scene. It was really cool. [They] talked about working with each actor and then that person gave a little speech. So everyone drank champagne pretty much the entire night. A lot of bottles of Veuve. A lot of bottles.

And the next day, you recovered with…

A super duper bloody mary. It had bacon in it. And pickles and celery and everything you can think of. It’s [from] a restaurant in Atlanta—South City Kitchen. I love that place, it was so good.

All those vegetables are good for you, no? As a Pilates instructor, what do you recommend for people needing to detox?

One of our green juices. Something with kale, spinach, celery, cucumber. We drop a little oregano in there. A little lemon.


What’s in your home bar?

Ketel One, Grey Goose and then a bunch of different gins. I have all the standbys: Tanqueray, Hendrick’s, Beefeater. And when I travel I try to pick up stuff as well. I was just in the UK and brought back Portobello Road Gin No.171. I love gin with a passion.

There’s more wine on your Instagram than gin martinis.

I do love wine, a good Barolo. But as far as a brand, I’ll try anything. I have a couple of friends who have really amazing wine cellars. So I find myself at their house all the time like, ‘What are you opening now?’ I am always trying to find something new.

You travel a lot – are you going to the Kentucky Derby this year?

The last four years I’ve been saying, ‘I’m gonna go to the Derby.’ This year we’ll see. I do wanna go and have that experience. Louisville is a great town. I’ve been quite a few times.

Mint julep recommendations?

Last spring I was in Louisville [for] an event at the Standard Country Club. I also had drinks at The Brown Hotel. It was definitely ‘Oh this is where they’re from. I get it. You guys take pride here.’ I don’t know that I’ve ever had anyone do a mint julep wrong but I will say that [one] was very right.



2 oz Maker’s Mark bourbon
2 oz mint simple syrup (recipe below)
crushed ice
club soda
fresh mint springs, for garnish
powdered sugar, for garnish

Fill a tall glass with crushed ice. Pour in bourbon and mint syrup. Stir gently. Add a splash of club soda, garnish with fresh mint sprig and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

For syrup: Combine equal amounts sugar and water and several sprigs mint in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and syrup thickens slightly. Remove from heat and allow mint to steep until syrup comes to room temperature. Strain to remove mint leaves. Refrigerate until needed.