At Your Service: Jessica Peterman
When did you start working at Bacchus?
I’ve been here a little over two years now. I started in June 2013.
What did you do before you worked at Bacchus?
Before I came to Bacchus, I bartended at a few different places – Rock Bottom Brewery, Mequon Country Club, the Intercontinental Hotel.
What’s your favorite part about your job?
I love bartending because it’s a somewhat unconventional path, and it takes a certain kind of person to really enjoy it. For me, it’s an art and a passion. You have to love being creative with ingredients, and you have to have a knack for knowing what flavors work well together.
And it may seem like the most obvious answer, but I truly love the people. I get to meet new people every day, and my regulars often know as much about my life as I do. I get to hear about their work, their kids, their vacations. And it’s so fun when someone orders a beer because they’re not sure what else to get, and I suggest a cocktail they end up really enjoying. Now I’ve got a guest who trusts me, and who comes back again. You can’t beat that.
What are some of the most popular dishes at Bacchus?
I love our scallops and recommend them all the time. Entrée or small plate, I think they’re our best dish hands down. And it’s not easy to pick a ‘best dish’ at Bacchus! And the spinach salad. Who can say no to a bed of greens with mustard dressing, an egg poached to perfection and crispy pork belly? Also, our chicken. Every restaurant has chicken on the menu, but it’s nothing like the chicken at Bacchus. It melts in your mouth. Ok, now I’m hungry.
What about cocktails?
I’m a classic cocktail kind of girl. I love bourbon/rye whiskey and gin. A martini is made with gin and, in my opinion, always should be. The Sazerac is my favorite cocktail. (See sidebar.) But when it comes to our cocktail menu, I focus on making drinks that people will enjoy; that they’ll come back in for. I love when people are surprised by the ingredients I’ve used, and when they tell the people next to them what they’re drinking because it’s so good.
What’s next for you?
I really like the service industry and I’ve fallen in love with Bacchus. The people I work with and for, the guests, the food and wine, the cocktails, the environment – everything. I went to school for Actuarial Sciences, and I’ve held my Wisconsin real estate license since I was 18. I know for sure that I don’t want to sit at a desk all day, so right now, I’m enjoying standing, mixing, shaking and entertaining guests.
2oz rye whiskey
Sugar cube or 1/3oz simple syrup
3-4 dashes of Peychaud's Bitters
Lemon peel garnish
Rinse a chilled old-fashioned glass with the absinthe, add crushed ice and set the glass aside. Stir the remaining ingredients over ice and set that glass aside. Discard the ice and any excess absinthe from the prepared glass, and strain the drink into the glass. Add the lemon peel for garnish.