Fit for a Saint: Oxford restaurant mixing up cool, unique summer cocktails

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Summer is here, and along with it comes the season to sit on the porch or restaurant patio and enjoy Mississippi’s dog days beneath a fan.

No southern summer, however, is complete without a crisp and refreshing cocktail nestled nicely in your hand. Whether your palate prefers vodka, gin or tequila, Saint Leo in Oxford has the perfect 21+ beverage for you.

Marissa Wyant serves as the beverage director for Saint Leo, located off the Oxford Square. Wyant has been with the swanky bar for over two years, but her desire to earn a Ph.D. is what brought her to the bustling college town in the first place.

“After high school, I moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, and seven years ago, I moved here to do my Ph.D.,” Wyant said.

She wrapped up her Ph.D. in political science in August, but that hasn’t kept her from spending time behind the bar. Wyant uses her research experience to explore the range of different spirits she serves at the bar. Her goal for Saint Leo is to provide a welcoming environment that offers a high-end drinking and dining experience.

“I think Saint Leo offers a really great, higher-end-yet-not-intimidating dining experience where you feel like you could be in a big city,” the Arkansas native said. “We use tons of fresh ingredients and make pretty much everything in-house.”

Although the scholar has a knack for researching, her favorite part of the job is developing relationships with clients.

“I love it when a guest trusts me to make a recommendation,” she said.

For future guests, Wyant advises customers to make reservations on Resy. Saint Leo reserves half its restaurant space for reservations; the other half is kept open for walk-ins.

So if you find yourself in Saint Leo on a hot summer evening and in need of a fresh, unique adult beverage, Wyant’s got you covered. No matter if you’re a regular or newcomer, she’ll serve as your guide to an unforgettable beverage experience.

“I think the philosophy is to be really really fresh,” she said. “As local as we can get and crafted with a lot of deliberate thought and detail without making it intimidating.”

Saint Leo is open Wednesday through Sunday. For more information, visit their website at eatsaintleo.com.

Photos by Adam Robison