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October 13, 2011

Liquid Living Magazine


Polished Palate Biography

Jerri Banks

 Jerri Banks

Jerri Banks has translated her considerable experience in both restaurant operations and the beverage industry to develop a full-service consulting concern offering expertise in all areas of opening and running bar/restaurant venues including concept creation, site selection and project management as well as development of creative beverage programs and on site operations. She has developed extensive inventory management and inventory/cost control programs in addition to comprehensive training manuals and physical plant management systems.

Hands-on restaurant experience allowed Jerri Banks to round out her expertise in all areas of the industry. As manager of Cellar in the Sky, formerly located in Windows on the World, Jerri experienced all aspects of wine and its relationship to food. In addition to working closely with the chef on menu development and the creating of an extensive cheese program, Jerri credits Cellar in the Sky with teaching her the importance of details – that a guest’s experience was based upon the small details in food preparation, beverage pairing, and overall service.

When Cellar in the Sky closed in 1998, she worked as Beverage/Service Director for the Matthew Kenney Group to develop comprehensive service and beverage programs for each of his locations. There, she created some of the group’s most sought-after house cocktails, including the now famous Juniperotivo, hailed by Bill Grimes, of the New York Times, as one of the few stiff cocktails created with such deftness that it is able to sneak into the aperitif category. Her innovative uses of fresh herbs, exotic flavorings and teas have become a well-known signature employed in a variety of libations both with and without alcohol.

Moving on to Fressen, located in the very-hot meatpacking district, where, in addition to overseeing the opening of the restaurant, Jerri developed an extremely innovative beverage program which highlighted herb infused cocktails and distinctive libations. Jerri also built one of the city’s most accessible wine lists, succeeding in her efforts to lighten up the entire wine experience, enabling guests to feel comfortable tasting wines they were otherwise unfamiliar with. Rick Marin of The New York Times marveled at Jerri’s ability to move from being the “High Priestess of the grape” at Cellar in the Sky to doing a “rock & roll” list for the more down to earth Fressen. Some say this wine list was the beginning of a trend that has quickly spread throughout the city.

While at Fressen, Jerri's love of technology lead her to pioneer the Chalkboard for the 21st Century, a computer-generated liquid crystal graphic, artfully projected onto the walls of their café displaying the days’ offerings in addition to being capable of projecting live video feed.

Ms. Banks served as the consulting Beverage Director at Taj, where she received tremendous praise for her cocktail program and wine list.

Brand clients include USA marketing consultant for Potocki Vodka—a new entry to the luxury vodka market from Poland —Bacardi Ltd, Diageo North America and Moët Hennessy. She has been featured in multiple publications including the New York Times, Crain’s NY Business, New York Mag., ‘O’ magazine, Essence, Time Out NY , Modern Bride, Market Watch, British Elle & More Magazine. She is a frequent guest instructor at New York City ’s, Institute for Culinary Education and has created cocktails for such far a field venues as the Halkin hotel in London and the Harvest Ball at the Chicago Botanic Garden . Her most recent project was opening consultant for Pour, an innovative wine and spirits boutique on the Upper Westside of Manhattan .

Ms. Banks is currently working on a book which will highlight her decade’s long experience in the beverage and hospitality industries.