The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2012

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Page 117 of 132

"I have a degree in fine arts from the San Francisco Art Institute, and I figured I would go into fashion design, but after winning that, I began realizing that I could creatively design with flavor and with spirits. I guess I just fell in love with that medium." She cut her teeth reimagining the cocktail menu at Le Colonial under the encouragement of Beverage Director Steven Oliver, then took a bar manager position at Orson. "After work," she says, "I would go and watch men like Duggan McDonnell and Jeff Hollinger tend bar. I would study how they moved, the ways they interacted with customers and their overall technique." However, her true mixology and bartending education occurred when she eventually stepped behind the stick at the San Francisco hotspot Heaven's Dog. "I would say Heaven's Dog was my bartending proving ground, where I really had a chance to grow and improve my skills, knowledge and style as a bartender," she admits. "It was the most exciting and influential time in my life as a bartender. I got to work with some amazing people, like Jon Santer, Jennifer Colliau, Thad Voegler and Erik Adkins." Education & Opportunity Jackie also continued to compete and attend Tales of the Cocktail annually, which is where she caught the eye of William Grant & Sons Portfolio Ambassador Charlotte Voisey. "I first spotted Jackie at an early Tales of the Cocktail. Her vibrant personality was hard to miss," admits Voisey. "The first cocktail I remember from her was in San Francisco, when we did the Hendrick's Limerick competi- tion back in 2008. Jackie's drink that day was beautiful, floral and balanced. It's a signature of her style. As soon as her name was in the hat to join our ambassador team, I gave my endorsement." Forever viewing her career as an opportunity to learn and grow, Jackie took the week-long B.A.R. Course in New York City and passed her final exams with high marks in the fall of 2009. Her first role with William Grant & Sons followed soon after, when she was hired as the U.S. West Coast and South Brand Ambassador for both Lillet and Solerno. "I got hired in July of 2010 and my first official week began at Tales of the Cocktail," she laughs. "It was totally nuts that week, but also a great way to jump into things." Yet for Jackie, there was a fondness and a personal connection to Solerno in particular. "I love Lillet; don't get me wrong—there is now, and there will always be, a bottle of Lillet in my fridge. But my mother is Italian and was born and raised in Milan. My family goes back every year. I have always had a deep love for Italy and a great respect for a beautiful, strong Italian woman, thanks to my mother. Solerno as a brand really embodies Italy, and specifically the rich, wild beauty of Sicily. There's also something gorgeous and feminine about the brand and the bottle. William Grant & Sons Brand Ambassadors Freddy May and Jackie Patterson. Focusing In & Speaking Out When the heads at William Grant & Sons realized that Lillet and Solerno really necessitated two separate brand ambassadors, Jackie was given a choice, and followed her heart to the smaller, lesser known Italian liqueur over the established French house of Lillet. For her, the reasons were personal and also tied in to her love of a challenge. "I wanted to help create something without an established identity," she explains. "Both are beautiful, high quality products, but there was more work to be done in terms of introducing Solerno to the hearts and palates of bartenders and consumers. I think when you are offered more of a chal- lenge, you are also given more of an opportunity. Solerno is remarkable in so many ways. First off, it's an 80-proof liqueur. It's got a lot of powerful flavor paired with nuanced complexity. It's the only 80-proof blood orange liqueur on the market, and it's made even more distinctive in the orange liqueur category by being made from fresh essential oils as opposed to the distillate of dried peels." Since settling in to her new role, Jackie's traveled to Sicily twice to meet the men and women behind the brand. "The best part of my job is the opportunity to travel around the country and the world," she continues. "Sicily is breathtak- ingly beautiful. It's got a wildness to it that's different from the rest of Italy. The Solerno Sanguinello blood orange groves are located in a fertile plane below the base of Mt. Etna, which nourishes the trees with rich, volcanic soil. I think the coolest thing that I saw during my last trip there was the harvest in March. The workers hand-pick the oranges, and within 24 hours the fruit goes to a facility near Palermo, where they extract the essential oils for the spirit." Jackie's latest trip also involved shooting a five-minute documentary video that will be one part of a new compre- hensive website for the Solerno brand in late 2012. It will bolster an already expansive Facebook following, and Jackie will be personally responsible for a blog, as well. "I'm really fortunate," she concludes. "I have a truly remarkable brand to bring to bartenders and all those people who are enthusi- astic about cocktails. It's a joy to have a job that allows me to promote the true spirit of Sicily." september 2012 / the tasting panel / 117 PHOTO: JENNY ADAMS PHOTO: JEREMIE FREMAUX

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