Since she was 14 years old, Jessica Everett has held every front-of-house restaurant position, from busser to manager, but the bar was where she found her true calling. “When I was 22, I moved to San Francisco and was lucky enough to land a gig bartending at a high-end restaurant under an amazing woman who ushered me into the world of craft cocktails,” she says. When her mentor left, the role of creating cocktails for the menu landed on Everett’s shoulders. “The chef and owner encouraged us to use local and seasonal ingredients in our bar program—I had always loved to cook, so once I realized I could apply my love of cooking to the world of cocktails, I was hooked,” she notes. “From there I devoted myself to the world of cocktails, bars, and spirits, and within a few years I was bar manager for some of the largest restaurant groups in San Francisco.”
But Everett’s long-term goal had always been to open her own bar in a tropical location. “In early 2018 I called up my good friend and fellow bar aficionado, Suzanne Navarro, as she had spent a few years living on Maui already, and pitched her my tropical bar idea to see if she thought it would be well received,” she says. As luck would have it, Navarro shared Everett’s dream and suggested the two join forces. And so, after ten years in San Francisco, Everett moved to Wailuku, Maui, and she and Navarro opened Esters Fair Prospect in August 2020.
Esters—where Everett serves as managing partner and bar manager—is a tropical, rum-focused bar (cocktails are $10-$15). “We borrow from tiki, but prefer to not be constrained by that lens alone—I often call us tiki-light,” Everett says. On the tiki-inspired side, there’s her Milk Punch ($14), a clarified cocktail of house-made banana liqueur, Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaica rum, Yellow Chartreuse liqueur, St. Elizabeth allspice dram, milk, and lime juice, while her Velvet Elvis ($14) is all its own, blending Bahnez mezcal, Lunazul Blanco Tequila, Italicus Rosolio di Bergamotto bergamot liqueur, Aperol aperitif, house-made calamansi shrub, lime juice, and a couple dashes of Pernod absinthe. “I make drinks that aren’t so balanced, favoring instead recipes that take you on a taste journey with each sip,” Everett adds, noting that her favorite part of her job is creating an all-around experience for guests. “I love providing them with a place to gather, and be carried away by a delicious drink.”