Coming from the West Coast, Jenna would make the move east to develop her music career at Berklee. She would ultimately develop a career within Boston’s hospitality industry, working at establishments like The Blue Room and Bistro du Midi. Developing her bartending skills working under John Gertsen at Drink, she would end up accepting a position at No. 9 Park as a bartender under Ryan Lotz. She and Ryan worked together for years as Jenna continued to hone her bartending skills, ultimately becoming No. 9 Park’s principal bartender. She would continue there after Ryan’s departure until she made the decision to join him at Bar Mezzana. Read her Bar Mezzana interview.
When characterizing Bar Mezzana’s cocktail program, it can be easy to assume a synthesis of its creators’ working backgrounds. Both Ryan Lotz and Jenna Rycroft have roots in renowned Boston craft cocktail programs: Drink, The Hawthorne, and, most notably, a shared experience at No. 9 Park. However, it’s their bond of friendship as well as their goal to channel the Italian cultural identity of their establishment that truly empowers Bar Mezzana’s cocktails.
Tropical Contact High
- 1 ½ oz Rhum J.M Agricole Blanc
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1 oz coconut cream
- ½ oz Meletti Anisette
- ½ oz Tequila Fortaleza Blanco
- ½ oz mint simple syrup
- crushed ice
- Shake with a small handful of crushed ice briefly.
- Pour into tiki mug, top with crushed ice.
- Garnish with a lime wheel and whatever else you’ve got on hand that looks festive.
About the Drink
“Ryan just has a passion for tiki drinks. He wanted to do something with coconut cream, and I was like, ‘tell me if this is crazy: agricole, coconut, and anise.’ He’s looking at me for a minute, and, I’m thinking, ‘is this good or bad ’… and then he grins. That was the moment he fell back in love with me all over again.”
“I have four of those moments every day.
“The coconut cream is actually a collaboration between Jenna and I and one of our friends. Coconut cream is one of those ingredients that’s embarrassing how fake the canned stuff is. Well, not embarrassing exactly, because I love using it. It’s just a lot of work to make it from scratch. Jenna and I were searching high and low for a method to make better coconut cream. We ended up talking to our pastry chef at the time who’s still one of our best friends and is now the pastry chef at The Table at Season to Taste, Mary Edinger. She worked with us to develop the recipe that we use now. It’s a two-day process, but the end result is awesome.
“We take unsweetened coconut and we toast it. We then bring it up to a boil with sugar, water, and fat. We let that sit overnight in the fridge and strain it out through a cheesecloth. There’s so much coconut oil at this point that we let the oil solidify and pull it off the top. Then, we just mix together the toasted coconut syrup, which is, in of itself, a delicious cocktail ingredient, with Perfect Purée coconut purée. It adds a roasted coconut flavor and this extra layer of complexity.”
“The anisette brings us those anise notes. Our mint simple syrup is not necessarily to bring in mint, but it supports the other herbal notes. After we played with it, we needed something to give it some body, so we added Fortaleza blanco tequila. It’s oily and full, the kind of tequila I prefer honestly. We also used a higher proof white agricole, so it’s going to have those cool grassy and earthy notes too.”
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