The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2012

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Page 116 of 132

Spirit of JACKIE PATTERSON RACKS UP Sicily MILES AND SMILES AS SOLERNO BRAND AMBASSADOR by Jenny Adams W hen Jackie Patterson logged on to her account in late July, the resulting numbers at first registered a bit of shock, quickly followed by the pride that comes in the wake of hard work. The online travel-tracking site informed her that she had traveled more than 80,000 miles in the first half of 2012. The William Grant & Sons Brand Ambassador had been away from her home in San Francisco—and from her new fiancé—for 109 days out of the last 212. It's all in the name of bringing America a taste of Solerno, the Italian blood orange liqueur made with the essential oils of the Sanguinello orange from the fertile island of Sicily. Jackie certainly has a lengthy resume in the beverage industry, but this role as the Brand Ambassador for Solerno is perhaps the best indicator of a woman in touch with her roots, passionate about a brand and ever eager for a challenge. Creative Bent "Before I got into the spirits world, I used to work in the bridal industry, and I realized I hated the hours. And the pay. And having to deal with miserable people," laughs Jackie. We are settling at the Carousel Bar inside New Orleans's Hotel Monteleone at the close of Tales of the Cocktail. Jackie has been in town to promote Solerno via several events, including a morning tasting room and an outlandish, hilarious Mr. Solerno male swimsuit pageant, which she hosted on the final Sunday at the hotel's rooftop pool. "I became a cocktail waitress first," Jackie continues. "I'd never done it before, but I instantly fell in love with serving people. I didn't know much about spirits or cocktails at the time. I was 23, and I think I was forcing down Midori Sours and Lemon Drops at bars because I didn't know any better. But I was always into wine. That was when I began to realize I had a good palate." Sitting down with Jackie for even a moment makes it easy to realize why she would excel in the realm of service. She's vivacious, with a 200-watt smile. Her knowledge of her brand comes across with a casual ease, but it's bolstered by enthusiasm and passion that's honestly infectious. Jackie Patterson. It was a magical moment when Jackie won her first cocktail competition in 2006—without yet stepping behind a professional bar. She wowed the judges with a tequila concoction, earning a free year's membership to the United States Bartenders Guild. That competition was a catalyst. 116 / the tasting panel / september 2012 PHOTO: JENNY ADAMS

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