jessica christensen

Jessica Christensen, Mixologist at Graton Resort and Casino

graton resort and casinoJessica Christensen, Mixologist and Beverage Manager, and Robb Stites, head of Communications and Community at Graton Resort and Casino join Steve Jaxon and Herlinda Heras on Brew Ha Ha today.

Jessica is a Sonoma County native. She is responsible for all of the drinks at nine different bars at the Graton Resort and Casino. She started as a bartender at Negri’s in Occidental when she was 21. After a few years she worked at Calistoga Inn and Brewery. After that, she was recruited to the Graton casino and soon got into management there.

The first drink served today, after the soothing and inspiring sound of the cocktail shaker, is an Apricot Pisco cocktail. Pisco is a distilled spirit from Peru with a flavor that is close to rum.

Robb Stites had a background in public relations before coming to the casino about two years ago. He describes the philanthropy and in-kind donations that they do as an expression of their commitment to the community.

Jessica describes the Apricot Pisco cocktail that is in Steve’s glass. It is made with Pisco, Luxardo apricot liqueur, fresh lemon, some acqua fava for the foam and some simple syrup. Acqua fava is technically garbano bean juice, which can produce a foamy texture. (Sometimes bartenders use egg whites for foam, but many people prefer this vegan alternative.)

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There are several bars in the resort; G-Bar is a sports bar and Sky Bar in the lobby has won several polls from Casino Player magazine. Sky Bar is a lounge bar at the center of the venue, Lobby Bar is a little more for craft cocktails, away from the gaming floor. There are also frequent concerts and comedy shows.

The swimming pool is open not only to hotel guests now. You can buy day passes now for a cabaña, a lounger or a day bed, those are available seven days a week. Guests can bring food in from another restaurant or order from the poolside menu. The pool bar is right nearby.

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See our sponsor Victory House at Poppy Bank Epicenter online, for their latest viewing and menu options.

The next cocktail they taste is a new take on a traditional recipe, called a Jalapeño Margarita. It will soon be on the Lobby Bar menu. It has Jalapeño-infused tequila, plus Cointreau, lime juice and agave. Floating on top, there is an Aperol and lime citrus foam.

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Jessica describes the pool menu, which is the same as last year and is designed to be quick, fresh and delicious. Kiwi, blueberry, watermelon, mango and spiked lemonade. They also have a cocktail competition called Full Tilt. The first year the competitors were mostly from north bay but this year they will open it to bartenders from all over the Bay Area. One portion of the competition will be Iron Chef style, where the competitors get a set of ingredients they have to work with. This year it will focus on agave-based drinks. The Campari group is the sponsor. 🍹

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