by Christina Fuoco-Karasinski, GET OUT Editor

Bartending fell into Jacqueline Grasse’s lap two years ago.
Now it’s her obsession.
The Bullhead City native, who lives in Gilbert, started at Thirsty Lion as a hostess. As soon as she turned 19, she asked to move to serving. A few months later, Grasse became a bartender.
“I still have so much to learn,” the 21-year-old Grasse said. “I am always looking for new information and I love making new cocktails.”
She talks about the cocktail program at Thirsty Lion at SanTan Village in Gilbert as New Year’s Eve approaches.
Question: What is the oddest drink request you’ve received?
Answer: It’s hard to say. One time I had this lady who insisted on me making her random drinks she found online and then ended up not liking them. I think that if you don’t know what you like, always try something off the menu!
Q: What is your No. 1 pet peeve when working?
A: Messy bartenders! I love working in a clean environment and my coworkers know that. The first thing I do when I come onto a shift is tidy my workspace. I think presentation is everything to a guest because when I go into a bar I notice the little things.
Q: What is your go-to drink when you’re at a bar other than your own?
A: I normally like to switch it up, but it mostly consists of craft beer or red wine and once in a while I will order a fruity cocktail. Other than that, I’m predictable.
Q: What does ordering a vodka tonic say about a person?
A: Usually they’re not very picky people (when it comes to alcohol), they’re the types of people who just go with the flow.
Q: What about the cocktail program at Thirsty Lion?
A: I think we have some of the best cocktails around. One thing I love about Thirsty Lion is that all our ingredients are made in house – meaning they’re always fresh. We press our own juices, make our mixes, even the fruit purees, and cut our own fruit and garnishes. Our menu was carefully created to serve a vast crowd.
Q: What are the two cocktails you would love for us to feature?
A: The first cocktail I would love for you to feature is the Templeton Maple Old Fashioned. This cocktail is one of my fall favorites. It has Templeton rye, a splash of orange juice, maple syrup, angostura bitters and a hint of lemon. I love this version of the old fashioned because it is flavorful and a smooth drink. The next cocktail is perfect for an after-dinner drink. The salted caramel Moroccan coffee is a favorite among customers and puts on a little show. First, we light Cruzan 151 to caramelize the sugar rim, while it’s still on fire, we throw in a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg creating fireworks. Then add Kahlua, Baileys and DeKuyper Buttershots. It is topped with coffee, whipped cream, caramel and dash of salt.

Templeton Maple Old Fashioned
2 oz. Templeton bourbon
1/2 oz. orange juice
1/2 oz. pure maple syrup
4 dashes of angostura bitters
Splash of soda water
1/2 orange wheel
1 lemon wedge
Place orange wheel in a mixing glass.
Squeeze lemon wedge over orange wheel.
Smash orange wheel and lemon juice – just enough to start to break apart orange wheel.
Add bourbon, maple syrup, orange juice and bitters.
Add ice.
Stir for about 15 seconds and splash of soda water.
Strain into a 12 oz. old fashion glass over large ice cube.
Garnish with orange twist curl

Salted Caramel Moroccan Coffee
Sugar rim
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of nutmeg
1/4 oz. Cruzan 151 Rum
1/4 oz. Kahlua liqueur
1/2 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream
1/2 oz. DeKuyper Buttershots
5 oz. hot brewed coffee
Pour 151 rum into the mug and light on fire. Add the nutmeg and cinnamon while caramelizing sugar rim. Blow out flame after 10 to 15 seconds.
Add remaining ingredients, coffee last. Stir to combine.
Top with whipped cream, caramel sauce and sprinkle kosher salt on top.