Service Bar Chat With Jacki St. Cyr

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Witty and unapologetic, Jacki St. Cyr has just the right amount of zest (and punchiness) you’d expect in a great bartender. Her down-to-earth vibe is immediately apparent — she comes from farm roots and has a passionate love for both horses & Harleys — and that unpretentious attitude has helped her score gigs in Fort Point, Fenway and Back Bay. She currently serves up sippers at Stephanie’s on Newbury and below, she talks about her transition from an equestrian career to cocktail-making, the fun nickname she proudly claims and why she really doesn’t keep any booze stocked at home.

Tell us about yourself.

I grew up on a farm in NH with two older brothers and THE BEST parents, which is where I learned my work ethic, sense of humor and the ability to boss the boys around. I went to college to be a horse trainer and ran my own business training horses for 5 years. Horses and horsepower are my two favorite things.

On my days off you can find me riding horses, riding my Harley Davidson, or taking my Jeep to the beach. I love to travel and be spontaneous, that’s why bartending is special to me because it allows me to try new things, see new places and meet people I would otherwise not have the chance to meet. They call me “Snacki Jacki,” you don’t have to be around me long to find out why…

Where else have you worked in the last five years?

I started out working at a ski resort in New Hampshire, pouring beer and panicking when someone ordered anything other than a Jack and Coke. Next I moved to Boston… first stop, Stephanie’s on Newbury which laid the foundation for what I know now. In addition to Stephanie’s I’ve worked at Envoy Rooftop, and Citizens Public House where I worked with some of the most talented bartenders in the city.

How did you get involved in restaurants?

During college — isn’t that where we all start?

What draws you to this line of work?

I love the freedom to create a schedule that allows me to play almost as much as I work, and I also love knowing that what I put into my work is directly related to what I get out of the job.

What’s your favorite drink to make (or wine or beer to pour)?

One that people want to order over and over!

Least favorite?

I don’t have a least favorite, people can order whatever they want as long as they stay and pay!

How do you feel about the “mixology” movement – does that term appeal to you, not appeal to you?

I think as an industry it has challenged us all to become better at the craft and there are some amazing bartenders with an incredible skill set, but at the end of the day bartending is about how you interact with people and that should always be top priority.

What do you think it means to be involved in the bartender culture, if you agree that there is one?

The culture is undeniable, sit at any bar across the country and you’ll find yourself with a “shot on me” from the bartender.

On your days off, what kind of places do you frequent?

My bed! It’s the nights I get off early from work that get me into trouble.

A lot of industry folk are happier with a Miller High Life and a Fernet than composed cocktails or craft beer. You?

Bourbon and a beer — it’s fast, easy, and bound to catch you a buzz.

What do you always keep stocked at home?

Not much, #roommates

Are there different things you like to drink or to make for special occasions?

For me its weather related…Cold for me means whiskey and wine, but set me out on a picnic table mid-summer and I want nothing but a bud light lime (judge all you want).

Are you excited about one spirit in particular?

I love whiskey and gin, they’re great as a stand-alone, as well as stand up to other spirits, citrus and simple syrups in cocktails.

Is there something really overrated or underrated, in your opinion?

Every area has its own trends so as long as you’re open to trying new things that’s all that matters.

What’s something you wish the average guest knew about your job—not service-wise, but related to the craft of bartending?

I don’t have to be here because I can’t find a “big girl job” I want to be here doing what I’m doing. It’s as creative as cooking, for me the best part is not classic cocktails but shaking up something I’ve never tried and surprising even myself with the way it turns out…. albeit good or bad.

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