Local mixologist lifts spirits through good cocktails and good conversation

The Joy of Tending Bar

What ingredients do you need to become a great bartender? “You have to have a lot of patience, wit, and kindness, and also a good sense of hospitality and urgency. And make sure your guests feel cared for, ultimately,” shares Teresa Perry, lead bartender at Pietro’s Trattoria of Lodi.

Upon being discharged from the Army, Teresa was looking for a change of pace. A former combat medic with a passion for helping others, she quickly found a home behind the bar. “I think it was a good transition,” she reflects. “I really like being around the public and enjoy helping people, but this is something that’s completely different: exploring my creative side, being able to slow down and really enjoy conversations with people—and make them happy through cocktails!”

The creative aspect of the job is particularly attractive to Teresa, who enjoys concocting festive drinks to match the shifting moods of the seasons: an apple and pear martini for fall, a hearty old-fashioned or Manhattan for winter, and lighter, citrus and berry drinks for the warmer months. In dreaming up the perfect February cocktail, Teresa found inspiration in one of her favorite love stories—her grandparents’.

“The first time my grandpa, Clayton, saw my grandma, Bonnie, she was fifteen,” Teresa shares. In their honor, she created “Clayton’s Catch,” a delicious vodka cocktail featuring strawberry, grapefruit, and pomegranate—the perfect fun and fruity drink for Valentine’s Day.

Of course, the coronavirus pandemic has put an on-and-ff again pause on the full restaurant and bar experience, but local businesses like Pietro’s shifts to takeout and delivery when needed to continue to serve the community. They’ve even introduced a “cocktail to-go” program.

Although her job has recently taken some unexpected turns, Teresa remains focused on providing the best possible service to her guests and enjoying the career she loves. “It’s not just learning how to shake a cocktail and make a Manhattan,” she expresses. “It’s also interacting with people and knowing how to work with your team as a unit. That’s my ultimate goal, to work with my team and make my customers happy.”

Clayton’s Catch:
2 oz. Tito’s vodka
3/4 oz. fresh squeezed ruby red grapefruit 
2 tsp. fresh strawberry infused simple syrup 
2 tsp. POM juice 

Add all ingredients to a pint glass, add ice, and stir with bar spoon. Strain into margarita glass and garnish with grapefruit wheel and an optional sugar rim.

Grab a cocktail to-go:
Pietro’s Trattoria
317 E. Kettleman Ln., Lodi
(209) 368-0613


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