Meet Jordan Goetz of Pazzo Italiano

Savannah Vasquez
Jordan Goetz sits in his happy place, the herb garden, in front of Pazzo Italiano. [SAVANNAH VASQUEZ/DESTIN.COM]

Jordan Goetz may be the main bar tender at Pazzo Italiano, but his real heart lies in fresh herbs.

“I’m a real herb nerd,” Goetz said. “We grow all of our own herbs outside here. I get to garden every day. Honestly, it’s the best part of my day.”

Goetz explained that his culinary background, from working as a sous-chef at Panama City Beach’s former Calypso Beach Café, was the foundation of his love for herbs.

“I’ve been in the service industry my entire life, since I was 16 years old,” he said. “My culinary background is really what made me an herb nerd, and I just started studying craft cocktails about five or six years ago in my spare time.”

Whether it be fresh basil, mint or rosemary, Goetz said that, for him, the best cocktails always begin with the sense of smell.

“With the Basil Smash, I always put a straw through the basil leaf garnish so that the first thing the customer experiences is the fresh smell of basil,” he said.

In fact, Goetz said the Basil Smash is the most popular drink at Pazzo Italiano, and he thinks the fresh herbs are the reason for its popularity.

“I’ve actually sold out of it once or twice,” he said. “Everyone loves bourbon. The Bourbon Smash is steadily getting more popular, and everyone likes the idea of some herbs in a cocktail.”

Goetz said he loves to get creative with his cocktail menu and always comes up with a drink of the day. His current favorite is his concoction that he dubbed the Royal Gimlet.

“I took a regular Gin Gimlet and I muddled some blueberries, cucumber and mint into it and served it up in a chilled martini glass,” he said. “I like to take classic cocktails and spice them up.”

When asked what his drink of choice is, Goetz said he can think of nothing more satisfying than a simple scotch.

“It just goes really well with a cigar,” he said. 

Pazzo Italiano is at 34904 Emerald Coast Parkway, Suite 114 in Destin. Hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Friday and 5-10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Visit www.pazzodestin.com or call 850-974-5484. 


• 5 basil leaves

• 1½ oz. Makers Mark Bourbon

• ½ oz. fresh lemon juice

• ¼ oz. simple syrup


Place basil in the bottom of tin and pour ice on top.

Add all other ingredients and shake vigorously to release basil oils and infuse with flavor.

Using a julep strainer, pour contents through strainer into a glass with fresh ice.

Garnish with a nice top sprig of fresh basil and a lemon wedge. Stick the straw through basil to allow scent to release for an aromatic beverage. 

The Basil Smash