Checking In With Tamaneaka French
Healthier cocktails are trending in North Lake Tahoe bars.
We recently caught up with Tamaneaka French, the lead bartender Six Peaks Grille mixologist at the Resort at Squaw Creek, to find out what she loves most about cocktail culture, how she gets inspired to come up with new drinks, and how she spends her downtime outside the bar in Squaw Valley’s Lake Tahoe.
What do you love most about your job, and working where you do?
The environment of Lake Tahoe, the changing of seasons, and crafting cocktails around them. For example, in summer I created a lemon drop cocktail with lavender from the garden, and steeped winter pines into a simple syrup for a winter white champagne cocktail.
How would you best describe your approach to cocktails?
Garden to glass. Our cocktail program sources ingredients we grow on our roof top.
How do you get inspired to create new cocktails?
I like to craft around the seasons, and what’s available. If peaches are prime a certain week, you bet I will be grilling up some peaches for margaritas.
What are your bar’s best sellers?
In the summer, mules and mojitos. We take them to another level, as we soak pineapples in rum, and then grill them. For our mojitos, we feature fresh mint from our rooftop garden.
What cocktail trends do you see, based on what your customers are ordering and requesting?
The request for healthy food options has carried over to healthier cocktails. Meaning: no artificial items, and no refined sugar. We hand press all our juices, and use agave nectar for sweetness. And of course we pick fresh herbs from the garden.
Lake Tahoe’s a fun town. How do you like spend your downtime?
I enjoy Lake Tahoe to its fullest by hiking, biking, swimming, skiing – and of course, gardening.