Meet the Bar Meisters from across the nation
Welcome to Bartender Showcase featuring Rachelle Merlo! Bartender Showcase brings the best bartending talent from across the country. These passionate and gifted artists are leaders within the industry and are educating and inspiring through their shaker tins.
- Press play on Rachelle Merlo's Spotify playlist & enjoy the tunes.
- Learn about Rachelle Merlo's cocktail below.
Rachelle Merlo's Spotify playlist & inspiration
The most notable music to come out of the Bay Area (to me anyway) is Hyphy music. I grew up listening to Mac Dre, Too Short, Andre Nickatina, The Jacka, etc., but almost every song is explicit. Instead, I curated a playlist of songs from popular Spotify radios that I use at my bar throughout the night. Being in a major metropolitan area, we are super lucky to host musicians from all over the world, and I wanted to capture that diversity in my playlist. My playlist starts with music we get the night going with and closes with a few different options, but it ALWAYS includes Sam Cooke. Anytime I’m feeling unsure of what to play, I choose a song from this list and the radio is always on point.
Cocktail Name: Hurricane Season
- 1 part Okra infused Overproof Jamaican Rum
- 1 part Red Banana Oleo Salvadorean Rum
- 1 part Jägermeister (To Float)
- ¾ part Guava Syrup
- ¼ part Fresh Lemon Juice
- ¼ part Vanilla Liqueur
- 1 part Fresh Lime Juice
- 5 dashes Pink Peppercorn Tincture
Glass: Hurricane Glass
Garnish: Jägermeister Float, Mint, Crushed Pink Peppercorns, and Cocktail Umbrella
Method: Shake, Strain over pebble ice, Garnish
Tips & Tricks:
Okra infused Overproof Rum
500g Okra (blanched, halved)
1L Overproof Rum
Slice each piece in half, removing any large stems or ugly pieces.
Weigh up to 500g.
Prepare a large pot with boiling water, as well as a large container with ice water.
In batches, drop okra in boiling water for 10-15 seconds, until the color turns brighter and more vibrant.
Remove okra from boiling water and drop in ice water to shock.
Pour rum over the okra and give a nice stir.
Refrigerate and let infuse for 5-7 days.
Strain solids and keep refrigerated.
There are a couple of ways to process guava syrup, the easiest way is to buy a frozen guava purée and thaw it, then process. However, if you want to go the route of using fresh fruit, be sure to choose soft guava, not too soft or it’s likely overripe, think of a similar texture to a perfectly ripe avocado. Cut it in half and scoop out the fruit. Transfer fruit to a blender, blend, and strain through a sieve. Once you have the purée follow these specs:
1L guava purée
Combine all ingredients in a stand mixer and agitate until the sugar is dissolved.
Pink Peppercorn tincture
225g Pink Peppercorns
750 ml High proof neutral grain spirit
Lightly crush peppercorns and pour over spirit.
Rest for one week.
What do you love about your city?
I love the East Bay for many reasons. I grew up here, and of course the nostalgia factor plays a huge role, but I also thrive in this area. It is a place of opportunity, beauty, and culture. We have some of the best weather in the world, the best produce, restaurants, nature, and art. The culture in the Bay inspires creativity and fuels the beauty of what it is to be a Bay Area resident
This cocktail is inspired by California produce and the thriving jazz scene in the Bay Area. Utilizing locally sourced and farm fresh produce, I wanted to pay homage to New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, while celebrating the fresh flavors of California. I took the fresh ingredients we have available to us here and crafted a cocktail to showcase the true spirit of the produce. Using the okra was a way to add a vegetal note but also texture. Guava pairs well with spices, herbs and citrus, so it seemed like an obvious choice for a sweetening agent. I wanted to make something fun and delicious that also showcases the botanicals of Jägermeister. Instead of shaking the liqueur we float it, so as you drink it you get the nose of anise, citrus and mint. As the drink continues to dilute, the Jägermeister helps preserve the body and texture of the cocktail. The Hurricane Season is truly delicious and incredibly sippable. I want to shout out my comrade Aidan Contreras for his help in creating this cocktail.