jayne pellegrino, bartender at blood & sand photo by carmen troesser

Ones to Watch 2013 // Jayne Pellegrino

Why Watch Her: She has a spirit you can’t find in a cocktail book.

Age: 27

Jayne Pellegrino had only eight months’ experience stirring and shaking drinks before accepting a bartending job at Blood & Sand when it opened in September 2011. Why hire a novice for a members-only restaurant whose very existence is built around well-crafted cocktails? “We can teach you how to make a good drink,” replied co-owner Adam Frager. “But you can’t teach passion, a desire to learn or the natural desire to genuinely serve another person.” What makes Pellegrino a wonder girl after less than two years behind the stick?

She can improvise. No simple syrup one night? No sweat. Pellegrino grabs house-made fennel syrup, concocts a punch around it and watches the contents disappear.

She has mad skills. Blood & Sand co-owner TJ Vytlacil would pit her against the top bartenders – in the country.

No Rain: This Pellegrino original is one of the most elegant gin cocktails we’ve encountered in ages.

She wins you over. “I disliked working with her at first,” said Lucas Ramsey, Pellegrino’s fellow bartender at Blood & Sand. But he’s come around: “She’s my favorite person to work with to this day.”

She has quite the customer following, even though Vytlacil, Frager and Ramsey have been around the block far longer.

She’s a sponge for learning – when she’s not sponging down the bar.

Don’t let those tats fool you. Commend her on a drink. She just might cry.

Blood & Sand, 1500 St. Charles St., St. Louis, 314.241.7263, bloodandsandstl.com

Tags : People