Kirsten Scott is director of beverage at Florida’s Boca Raton Resort & Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort.
Better Bartending: What was your first bartending job?
Kirsten Scott: My first bartending gig was at my godfather’s bar in New York City around the corner from where I grew up in West Greenwich Village on Christopher and Washington streets. From there I worked in fine-dining steakhouses for a decade before moving into the hotel industry in 2014.
BB: What is your favorite spirit at the moment?
KS: Tequila. Nothing beats mezcal and fresh-squeezed grapefruit to get your day started. The smokiness paired with the acidity of a juicy grapefruit puts me in my happy place.
BB: What’s your go-to cocktail at the end of a shift (or long day)?
KS: A good, balanced Old Fashioned. Give me a rye bourbon with just the right amount of sweetness and a touch of bitters, and I am a happy woman after a long shift.
BB: Is tending bar or creating beverages different at an upscale resort vs. an independent bar or restaurant?
KS: For me, creating beverages has always been about the experience you want to create at your establishment, whether it be an upscale resort or a restaurant. A great cocktail or even a perfectly paired glass of wine is best enjoyed when a bartender guides you toward your preference.
I could make an amazing tequila cocktail, but if I know you don’t enjoy tequila, I am going to steer you toward another option that will enhance your overall experience. From upscale resorts to restaurants, it comes down to what your guests would enjoy and if you have the ability to create those memorable experiences.
BB: Boca Raton Resort & Club’s Monkey Bar just launched a boozy tea service on Fridays and Saturdays. How did you go about developing the program’s tea-inspired cocktails?
KS: The tea cocktails have been a great addition to our classy whimsical Monkey Bar. With the revitalized trend of high tea, we wanted to do our own spin-off—and who doesn’t love a beautiful boozy tea setup designed to allow you to sit back, relax and enjoy this version of tea time?
BB: Is there anything bartenders have to be aware of when creating cocktails made with tea?
KS: You always want to be extra cautious during the steeping process. You don’t want to oversteep and should be careful with consistency. The challenge is balancing the flavors properly so you that you taste each of the complementary ingredients in the cocktail.
BB: What’s in some of the tea cocktails?
KS: The Tea-Ki Thyme has chamomile tea, Ketel One Citron vodka, fresh strawberries, strawberry-thyme syrup; the XXX has Earl Grey tea, Boca’s signature private barrel-aged Makers Mark, brown sugar, fresh lemon, and Pure Tea Bliss has Jasmine-green-tea-infused Purity vodka, fresh raspberries and lemonade
BB: What’s been the most popular so far?
KS: The Ginger Dragon is our most popular of our Drunken Monkey Tea Service. The cocktail includes a balanced combination of Hendrick’s gin, oolong tea, St Germain, lemon and cucumber.