Back to Liquid

Q&A: Rose Peterson of 1022 South J in Tacoma

Favorite bars, Waldorf education and the Harvey Wallbanger

Rose Peterson behind the bar at 1022 South j on Hilltop Tacoma. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Recommend Article
Total Recommendations (0)
Clip Article Email Article Print Article Share Article

Rose Peterson is a walking, talking library of Tacoma lore, Northwest music scene and South Sound restaurant history. A veteran of many of Tacoma's finest and most historic bars, she's also a constant presence in front of and behind the bar at 1022 South J cocktail lounge and eatery. I dropped in on a rainy Thursday night to chat about her grandfather meeting JFK and old times in the '80s and '90s music scene while sipping her delicious Autumn's Splendor (bourbon, spiced pumpkin puree, cereal milk, cinnamon and rumchata).

WEEKLY VOLCANO: How did you get into bartending?

ROSE PETERSON: My college boyfriend landed a bartending job after he graduated. We had cocktail parties so that he could brush up on recipes. Interested, I began making them at home. I got my start in the service industry at Hales Ales in Seattle, serving, hosting and leading brew tours. I served at a few other places in Seattle, but it wasn't until I worked at the 43rd Street Pub on Pacific Avenue in Tacoma that I became a bartender. I had been working in an office setting for years, and really missed talking to people in a social setting and getting paid for it. That clearly was not the high point in my career, but it was how I got my foot in the door. It was baptism by fire, looking up most drinks as they were ordered. I read bartender books at night to memorize drinks. I guess you have to start somewhere.

VOLCANO: Describe your first experience with a cocktail.

PETERSON: My first experience with a real cocktail was a vodka martini. We won't count any of the spodies or well drinks that were consumed during my college years.  I think that in my younger years I equated martinis with a grown up drink. I had mostly been drinking beer; it was the heyday of microbreweries in Seattle. Like most good things, it was a fluke. A friend ordered it for me and I never turned back. We spent many nights at Tini Bigs drinking martinis.

VOLCANO: What's your favorite place for a drink in the South Sound?

PETERSON: There are many places I love in the South Sound, and for many different reasons. Top of Tacoma is perfect for beer and nachos. I head to Asado for wine nights. Places I would love to go to more often if I had time would be the Broho in Olympia, or supporting businesses of friends I admire, such as The Social by the Glass Museum. Of course I love the drinks at my own place, but if I am going out for dinner and drinks with friends, I would land at Marrow. The atmosphere is welcoming, I usually know everyone who is working and there is always something I haven't tried on both the food and drink menus. 

VOLCANO: Gin or vodka?


VOLCANO: When you hear the following words what do you think of?

Private school: "Waldorf education. I wouldn't have had it any other way. Thanks to my amazing parents that always put our education first."

Grunge: "My early 20s in Seattle. As you know that was the most amazing place to live at that time. So much was happening, new music was everywhere, and the city was electric with new ideas and people trying new things. It was like nowhere else." 

Tacoma: "Home. Born and raised. I love this city with everything I am."

Vacation: "I don't recognize that word."

VOLCANO: Which drink do you wish you had invented?

PETERSON: I wish I had invented the Harvey Wallbanger. Great drink, even better name!

VOLCANO: What are your hopes for the drinking/cocktail scene in the South Sound, and, more specifically, Tacoma?

PETERSON: I would like people to remember and discover that drinking and making cocktails is fun. Not just in a "let's go get wasted kind of way." There are so many different liquors and cocktails. I would love to see people branch out and try new boozes, flavor and combinations.  We have some incredibly innovative bartenders right here in Tacoma that are doing amazing things with booze.

1022 SOUTH J, open 4 p.m. daily, 1022 S. J St., Tacoma, 253.627.8588

comments powered by Disqus

Site Search