Behind the Bar with Cutty’s Jennifer “Feisty” Vickland

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With a nickname like that, you know the chick behind the bar isn’t taking any of your bull. Jennifer, a.k.a. Feisty, has been bartending in the valley for over twenty years, and she is a fierce momma to two preteen daughters and a coffee roaster to boot. Despite her fiery moniker, Feisty’s cool, calm energy puts her clients at ease and has kept her thriving in the industry longer than almost anyone else in town. When traffic to Town Square is backed up clear to the 22, stop over at Cutty’s, one of Jackson’s best laid-back bars, and grab a cheese steak and a Guinness with the bartender with the best smile.cuttys

Feisty’s Quick Six

Years Behind the Bar: 21

Spirit Animal: vodka

After Hours Hangout: The Cowboy

Hangover Cure: greasy food and a glass of Coke

Quttin’ Time Cocktail: Irish car bombs

Mixologist Mantra: be consistent

What’s the story with your nickname?

I’ve had it for almost 20 years in this town… a bar back started called me Feisty Spice and it just stuck. As a bartender, it’s necessary to be a little feisty sometimes, but most of the time you can just act nice and normal to everyone, and you don’t usually have to get tough with people. Usually.

How did your bartending career kick off?

I worked at the Rancher for 10 years when I first moved to town; it was really high volume. Since then, I’ve worked places where it’s more quality over quantity, so I have experience with both. I also do private bartending for events and private clients… those are the best, those are my favorite. I would advise someone who wants to pursue bartending to get started at a high volume place and just get thrown in there making simple drinks, nothing too crazy. Practice makes perfect.

You took a little break from bartending for a few years… what did you do instead?

I took a four-year break to roast coffee for Snake River Roasting, and I only came back to bartending in the last 6 months. I wanted to come back because bartending is just fun and easy… its like my second nature. Now I work at Cutty’s part-time and at Snake River Roasting part-time.

What intrigues you so much about coffee?

I started out just bagging coffee, and then I ended up roasting full time. It’s physically demanding and rewarding, and it’s still the beverage industry, so it just fit for me. I’ve gotten to learn so much, travel around and train with famous roasters and do tastings, which are a lot like wine tastings. You have to have a trained palate to pick up all the distinct flavors.

Can you recommend a good coffee and booze pairing for when you want to get a buzz on but you’re also tired?

We do a cold brew at Snake River Roasting, and that’s so good with Baileys. Melvin Brewing has used our coffee to make some of their brews; they came in and did some tastings and picked out some coffee to use, so that’s cool and unexpected. Coffee is getting more and more popular, and its always gonna be around…. alcohol is always gonna be around, coffee is always gonna be around. People need them!cuttys

Cutty's Lemon Drop Martini

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 ounces Tito’s vodka
  • 1 1/2 ounces lemon juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • Lemon wheel
  • Lemon drop candy

Instructions

  • Chill a martini glass and rim with sugar.
  • Mix all ingredients and strain into the glass.
  • Garnish with lemon wheel and lemon drop candy.
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About Author

Freelance writer, editor, PR strategist and digital content creator based in Jackson Hole and on the road. Fueled by disco naps and strong coffee (black, French press, hip to death). Former cellar rat at wineries across the South Island, NZ. Once interviewed a nutritionist who told me beer is liquid bread.

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