Meet Jessie Yoskin: Washington’s Most Innovative Bartender

Each year, the U.S. Bartender’s Guild and Bombay Sapphire host a competition to recognize the world’s Most Imaginative Bartender. Civility & Unrest’s own Jessie Yoskin was the Washington State winner and made it through to compete at the regional finals in San Francisco. Her winning cocktail, Happy Little Accidents, was inspired by Jessie’s pursuits as a ceramic artist and her passion for creating what she calls “culinary cocktails” built around fruit, herbs and spices. We pulled up a seat at the bar with Jessie to find out more about where she finds her inspiration and life at Civility & Unrest.

Tell us about the competition – what was that like?
I thought it would be a lot of fun and great experience, but I didn’t expect anything more from it. I signed up for a time slot to present my cocktail here in Seattle, and the only real guidelines were to “Use Bombay Sapphire and be creative.” Making it to the next round in San Francisco was a huge honor and I met some incredible people. Everyone has been so excited and supportive – a couple of our regular guests even flew down to San Francisco to come see me compete.

Where did you find the inspiration for Happy Little Accidents?
I was putting this cocktail together and thinking about what drives me on a day-to-day basis, and it came down to creativity. Before joining Civility & Unrest, I started a ceramic arts business and that was my identity – I was an artist. I realized that on this new journey, my identity hasn’t changed; only my medium has. So with that realization, I wanted to make this cocktail to illustrate that bartenders are artists and our drinks are our canvas.

What are your favorite ingredients to use in your cocktails and why?
I love making what I call “culinary cocktails” – drinks built around fruit, herbs, spice. Taking flavors that you normally find in cooking and baking and combining them into a cocktail is really fun.

What’s the most fun or challenging request you have received?
I have a regular who comes in every Wednesday and gives me a crazy ‘theme’ for the cocktails I make him. Sometimes it’s a flavor like chocolate or chile, and sometimes it’s something abstract like Disney Princesses. I have a couple of other regulars who will have a cocktail and then ask me, “What comes after this?” That makes me think a lot more deliberately about the flavors I’m using and how they relate to the previous cocktail.

Tell us a bit about yourself
I was born just outside of Philadelphia, and moved to Stowe, Vermont when I was 12. I was always fascinated by the restaurant industry. As soon as I was old enough to work, I got a job as a busser at a local restaurant. I moved up from there, to server and then eventually to bartender. I moved to Seattle in 2011 without ever visiting or having a job set up but my New Year’s resolution was to move somewhere new. I am getting married in September and the reception will be at Civility & Unrest! Then we are taking off to Maui for a much needed vacation.

What do you want people to know about Civility & Unrest?
I want people to know that it’s ok to step outside of the box. Our team is passionate about what we do, and we want you to have the best experience possible. We want our guests to truly experience this space and leave with memories that you share with your friends. Ask us questions or have us make you something special…. it’s why we are here and it is what we love to do!

Please join Jessie and the team at Civility & Unrest and watch them dazzle you while they create something special!

View Jessie’s Video »

Civility & Unrest
W Hotel Bellevue in Lincoln Square South
10455 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA 98004
Open daily at 4 p.m.
Phone: (425) 454-7076