Reimagined with an American traditional tattoo theme, Jack Dusty’s spring cocktail menu honors its nautical history.
Looking at “Jack’s Journeys: Travels Told Through Tattoos and Tinctures,” it’s easy to conjure a preconceived notion for what kind of bar would produce a Sailor Jerry-style menu. Colorful dragons, tropical plants and even a sharp-toothed great white shark meet readers on the cover. In contrast with the glittering chandeliers and crisp white crown molding of the surrounding hotel, Jack Dusty — and its new spring cocktail menu —bring an unexpected edge to The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota.
The Ritz doesn’t exactly scream American traditional tattoos, but both the tattoo style and the hotel restaurant and bar, Jack Dusty, have more in common than one would expect.
Steeped in sailing history and nautical motifs, Jack Dusty — a term used to describe 18th century naval store clerks — is designed to make guests feel as if they’re aboard a ship. And with sleek wooden tables, leather seats and an all-glass-and-stone bar, that ship might be the hippest, most chic vessel guests will step aboard.
Jack Dusty Lead Bartender Candice Marie embodies this juxtaposition perfectly. From the tattoo sleeve on her left arm to her white and navy-striped shirt and suspenders, Marie gives off an edgier, friendlier (and feminine) version of the Sailor Jerry motif that is so prevalent in the bar’s reimagined, American traditional-themed spring menu that debuted April 12.
“Jacks were short for sailors, and dusty was the man who passed out the daily grog — rum and lime keeping you free of scurvy,” Marie says of the connection between her cocktails and the bar’s sailor theme.
18th century sailors wouldn’t have flown in edible flowers on dry ice from Columbus, Ohio, of course, but that’s where the level of luxury and sophistication synonymous with the Ritz-Carlton brand enters.
“We don’t want it to be too nautical,” says Marketing and Communications Coordinator Stacey Anderson. “It should be about the sailor’s journey.”
This detail-oriented nature is evident in Marie’s work behind the bar. Whether she’s shaking a cocktail for just the right amount of time — seven seconds for the average gin-based cocktail — or earning customer compliments for her meticulously garnished drinks, Marie puts a lot of thought into her craft. She says she often wakes up with some of her best ideas, having been thinking about them all night.
The other detail-oriented artist who is helping Jack Dusty maintain its self-described “style, substance … but not stuffy” objective is the new menu’s designer, local tattoo artist Ambarish “Ambo” Hendon. The Oddity Tattoo employee and Ringling College of Art and Design graduate created all of the artwork specifically for “Jack’s Journeys,” and his ’50s Navy seamen style went perfectly with the modern nautical theme of Jack Dusty.
Marie went into his gallery to get a Sailor Jerry tattoo to commemorate her time at Jack Dusty thus far, and she left with a mermaid on her arm and nothing but praise for his work.
“I’m picky about the eye,” Marie says. “Ambo is so talented. It was simpatico.”