There is no one in the wine business more polite about breaking the rules than Jordan Salcito. Part girl next door, part keen entrepreneur, she has become the closest thing the wine world has to a cover girl.
Salcito, who ran the beverage programs for David Chang’s New York and Washington, D.C., restaurants from 2013 to 2017, found her way to the group via the kitchen at Daniel—and later, the floor at Eleven Madison Park and John DeLucie’s Crown. Since taking over, she’s applied Chang’s own high-low approach to wine, blending her experience in fine wine with the sort of playful curiosity that’s lead to the creation of everything from a wine cooler called “Thunderpeach” to her narrative wine list at Ko to her line of wines, called Bellus, which she produces in collaboration with some of the world’s top winemakers.
But what does Salcito do when she’s not making wine or doing the sommelier thing? And what is the one thing she wishes would disappear from drink lists forever? Here, she describes the first time she ever got drunk, her go-to dive bar drink order and what she wants to be when she grows up.
What do want to be when you grow up?
A marine biologist, a chocolatier, a successful entrepreneur and a political activist with a focus on womens’ rights.
Best thing you ever drank:
Probably a glass of 1920 d’Angerville Volnay Clos des Ducs.
Worst thing you ever drank:
Definitely peppermint schnapps. [And] I’ll throw Mad Dog 20/20 into that category while I’m at it.
First time you ever got drunk:
It was New Year’s Eve. Someone suggested I drink peppermint schnapps that night and I thought that sounded like a good idea. I couldn’t brush my teeth for three days. My body convulsed at [the thought] of peppermint.
If you had to listen to one album on loop, for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Probably Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Mauraders.
What’s the weirdest hobby you currently have or have had?
Sticker collecting and tormenting my younger sisters (past). Banana bread-baking (present).
What do you know now that you wish you’d known five years ago?
Embrace your failures and learn from them. Also, have patience.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not doing the sommelier thing?
Beyoncé Dance Class.
Your favorite bar, and why:
Tie between PDT, Booker and Dax and the NoMad Bar. First, they all make exceptional drinks. Second, they each represent a different mood and mindset. Third, they all prioritize hospitality and innovation in different ways.
What’s your go-to drink in a cocktail bar?
In a dive bar?
Tequila on the rocks with eight limes.
Your preferred hangover recovery regime:
Water, Advil, spin class, Bloody Mary.
The one thing you wish would disappear from drink lists forever:
The last text message you sent:
“I walked to the field with the girl in pink.”