Women + whiskey: Meet a bartender who says you don’t know jack until you meet her gentlemen

Bartender Paulina mixes up a Stone Blossom at Kettner Exchange with Gentleman Jack. (Advertisement)

The Jack Daniel’s Distillery was established in 1866. Now, 150 years later, meet the San Diego women who are making whiskey history.

Bartender: Paulina

Venue: Kettner Exchange

Where are you from?

I am originally from East County. I was born in Rancho San Diego, grew up in La Mesa and now reside in South Park.

What’s awesome about the bar you work at?

Kettner Exchange is one of the most unique bars in Little Italy. It offers something for everyone with its upscale dining, a casual lounge with an open-air patio, live entertainment, an impressive wine list, incredible food and, of course, innovative craft cocktails. Above all, our staff is knowledgeable and proud of what we do as a team.

What cocktail are you making today?

I am making a cocktail called the Stone Blossom. It features Gentleman Jack, an apricot liquor, fresh pineapple and lemon juice, demerara (large-grain raw sugar) and a big bouquet of mint.

Why does Gentleman Jack work well for this cocktail?

Gentleman Jack is great for this cocktail because it has a lot of vanilla on the nose. The vanilla pairs amazingly with apricot, while the demerara adds great body and richness to it.

What makes this a great cocktail for women who are just getting into whiskey?

The flavors are friendly, soft, bright and refreshing without being overbearing. Every ingredient compliments the Gentleman Jack, making it light and easy to drink.

What makes this a great cocktail for women who are already experienced whiskey drinkers?

Though the flavors are friendly, it is also well-balanced. The whiskey is still the predominant flavor, making it favorable for any whiskey drinker.

What was your first experience with whiskey?

Although I honestly can’t remember the very first experience I had with whiskey, it is safe to assume it was when I was a cocktail waitress at Henry’s Pub. I’m sure it was a shot of Jack Daniels that I definitely wasn’t ready for. It’s all a fond, hazy memory now.

What advice would you give to the women who want to get into drinking whiskey?

I would suggest starting with refreshing cocktails with fewer ingredients that allow the spirit to really stand out. Also, have a sip of the whiskey on its own, so you can taste them side by side. Maybe you can pick up on interesting flavors you didn’t know were there before. Gentleman Jack is a great gateway whiskey. It is a touch sweeter than others due to the second charcoal filtration, leaving subtle enhanced caramel notes. There is a whiskey out there for everyone, so keep on exploring.

Kettner Exchange, 2001 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy, 619.255.2001,



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