Drink Mixing on the Coast with Head Bartender Jess Aicholtz
Throughout her first year at White Barn Inn, Auberge Resorts Collection, Head Bartender Jess Aicholtz has found an abundance of creativity and inspiration on the coast of Maine.
“The seasons are my biggest inspiration when it comes to flavors…” Jess recalls when building a new cocktail menu. With ever-evolving ingredients, she pays homage to the harvest and strives to capture the feeling each season evokes through the changing Barn Libations menu.
In addition to inspiration from fresh local ingredients, Jess likes to be playful with her creations and gives them a sense of place when it comes to their name and presentation. Her most recent libations inspired by Maine are “A Garden by the Sea,” “Lobsterman’s Day Off” and “Welcome to Vacationland.”
Guests and patrons alike often inquire where Jess went to bartending school; however, her answer is always the same: “I started out as soon as I turned 21 years-old as a bar-back in a speakeasy gypsy tea room in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia.” With no formal training, she is self-taught through experiences, mentorships and studying cocktail books.
“The bartenders who mentored me quickly gave me the nickname Mighty Mouse as I would run around carrying two buckets of ice at once, restock wells quickly, change kegs in seconds and keep up with the busy volume,” Jess recalls. With a busy environment on the coast in Kennebunk, Jess is just the person to continue elevating each libation guests enjoy.
When teaching a Barn Libations Cocktail Class at White Barn Inn, Jess encourages aspiring mixologists to stay curious and not be afraid to try new things. “Your palette adapts as you continue to taste different things so it will evolve overtime as you continue to experiment. Every cocktail you make isn’t always going to be delicious, but it will help you learn how flavors pair together for future tries.”
Many guests have come to love Jess’s iconic G&Tea, a tribute to a classic Gin & Tonic playfully served in a vintage porcelain teacup. “The inspiration came from my Nanny who is British. I always grew up drinking tea and I knew I wanted to pay homage to that.”
Curious how to make the G & Tea?
2 oz Green Tea infused Tanqueray
1 oz lime juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
Combine the above ingredients and shake with 6-8 mint leaves
Add a spritz of green chartreuse on top and serve in a teacup
As she heads into her second year at White Barn Inn, Auberge Resorts Collection, guests can look forward to ever-evolving menus and specialty libations inspired by the festive season.
“White Barn Inn is such a magical place; I just love that my ‘office’ behind the bar gives me the opportunity to be so creative and do what I love to do: create delicious cocktails.”