Mixologist: Jenn Tosatto - The Rieger

At The Rieger, Jenn Tosatto serves classically inspired cocktails with a modern twist.

Jenn Tosatto was voted the runner up for best mixologist in Kansas City in the 2015 Feast 50.

Tell us about a few of the signature drinks served at your bar, and how they embody your work. We serve classically inspired cocktails with a modern twist. Probably our best known cocktail is the Pendergast, a riff on a classic Bobby Burns. I'm definitely inspired by the classics and like to put my own touch on them to make them my own.

What have been some milestones in your career so far? One of my proudest moments was being a finalist in Diageo World Class. I was one of 20 from across the U.S., and not only did I get to make cocktails for some of my heroes (Julie Reiner, Steve Olson) but I met so many amazing bartenders that I still hold dear and look up to today – especially Pam Wiznitzer, she inspires me to no end.

Clearly your work has resonated with patrons – what would you attribute this to, and what does it mean to you? I get complimented by guests who say, "I can tell you really love your job," and it's true. I love being behind the stick and interacting with my guests. I try to be sure that every guest leaves my bar in a slightly better mood than when they came in. It also helps to know your stuff, and I try to learn more about my craft every day.

What do you hope to see happen next in the local drink scene, and why? I would love to see bars where guests feel comfortable ordering shitty beers or fancy cocktails. Where you feel just as at home in jeans and a tee, or dressed to the nines. More bars that have the laid-back feel of a dive, but happen to make incredible cocktails, too. There are a few, but I'd love to see a bigger push in that direction.

Whether it’s developing a new cocktail or an entire drink menu, where do you get your inspiration? What inspires you and motivates you to do the work that you do? I definitely find inspirations in classic cocktails. They are classics for a reason. I also look to my peers; they are an endless fountain of knowledge and ideas. I also love using fresh, local ingredients – especially if I can tie my drinks into what our kitchen is doing.

What’s next for you and your work? I'm hoping within the next five years to see my dream of opening my own pub come true. There is definitely a lot to do, but the groundwork is being laid as we speak. I can't wait to get Brady's Pub and Sundries out of my head, and into the heart of KC.

The Rieger, 1924 Main St., Crossroads Arts District, Kansas City, Missouri, 816.471.2177, theriegerkc.com

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