Bartender Style is a collaboration between Bit by a Fox and photographer Rose Callahan. This monthly series, exclusively on the Bit by a Fox blog, will explore and document the personal style of some of the best bartenders in New York City and beyond. This month, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we are featuring two of the baddest babes in the bartending biz, who are also the powerhouse team behind Speed Rack, the first international, all-female bartending competition that donates 100% of their proceeds to breast cancer awareness, prevention, and research. Meet Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero!
Ivy affectionately calls Lynnette her “work wife”. As far as long-term relationships go, these ladies have this “work marriage” thing on lock.
In the four years that Ivy and Lynnette have successfully run Speed Rack, “the roller derby of cocktail competitions”, they have raised over $350,000 globally for breast cancer research and charities, have built an international network of women who consider them mentors, and have created a unique fundraising model that spirits brands and charities alike continue to look to as an example of grassroots success.
And all this has happened in between their constant globe-trotting, serving as judges for other cocktail competitions, guest speaking at seminars, and consulting with a variety of brands, all the while getting behind the stick on a regular basis. Oh, and then there was that time back in May after building out an entire restaurant in Brooklyn Ivy decided to run a half marathon the same week it opened. A mere two months later, she went on to win the prestigious title of Best American Bartender of the Year at the Tales of the Cocktail Festival’s Spirited Awards, which is pretty much the Oscars of the booze industry.
And just this last month, they were awarded together as some of The Most Innovative Women in Food and Drink 2015 from Food & Wine and Fortune Magazine for their impressive work with Speed Rack.
This latest accolade is a cherry on top of the many awards and achievements these two have scooped up separately during their esteemed careers behind the bar, including a James Beard Award given to Lynnette in 2009 for being one of America’s Leading Female Mixologists. You’re looking at the Beyoncés of the cocktail world, people. These ladies get to WERK!
And they both always seem to look so fetching while doing it.
On the surface, Lynnette and Ivy are pretty different. Lynnette is a curvy pin-up type, drawn to feminine silhouettes (one of her go-to online shops is the Bettie Page Store), and she strictly wears dresses behind the bar.
Lynette, a former pageant princess (she was Miss Manhattan in a past life!), is not afraid of bright florals and prints and a little decolletage, and is often seen with a tropical flower tucked behind her ear at events.
Noticing at a young age that she had a good amount of gray coming in, she was finally convinced by her art director husband a few years ago to let her hair go natural.
Barely into her 30s, she knew that it would take great confidence to pull it off. Luckily, Lynnette has that in spades. But no matter, because, turns out, she has GORGEOUS salt and pepper locks that complement her skin tone beautifully. So much so, that she seems to glow behind the bar or in front of it!
Ivy is the leggy tomboy who may have perfected her effortless half-damp top knot thrown up at the last possible minute and the all-American fresh-faced look while she was a budding equestrian in her youth in Vermont, or when she was the captain of her lacrosse team in high school or while studying abroad in college…
Whenever this casual, cool, Noxzema-girl look came together really doesn’t matter. The point is, it’s totally working for her. May we all look this radiant on so little sleep!
Ivy has a love of rompers (she calls them onesies!). She pretty much sticks with this uniform, which she also refers to as her “work pajamas”, while working at Leyenda, her newly opened Latin American cocktail bar in Brooklyn with partner and mentor Julie Reiner of Clover Club and Flatiron Lounge fame.
Ivy lived in Guatemala for four years post-college, and it was there that she first fell in love with bar culture while working at a place called Café No Sé. When it came time to conceptualize her own place, Ivy decided that she wanted to bring that part of the world into the charming Cobble Hill neighborhood in Brooklyn, merging the places she loves so much.
Her attraction to religious iconography and symbols can be seen throughout. And her idea to merge the Latin American culture and what we have come to recognize as a Brooklyn restaurant aesthetic can be seen in the rustic woodwork and the details in the tin ceiling spanning the place.
While Ivy admits to borrowing dresses from Lynnette because she’s “bad at being a girl”, and prefers wearing Timberland boots behind the bar because of the supportive heel versus Lynette who likes to wear fancy Crocs because they are light and washable…
…the ladies’ style converges when it comes to the signature look for Speed Rack. The overall look for the high energy cocktail competition is a combo of sporty and bad-ass with heavy retro inspiration from Rosie the Riveter.
Pink bandannas are their trademark, tying the breast cancer awareness signature color and the feminist cultural icon together.
The resulting Speed Rack image is confident, feminine and fierce, not unlike the ladies who dreamt up the concept of Speedrack in order to showcase women bartenders around the world, and elevate their status in the business, while simultaneously directly impacting breast cancer awareness. They’ve managed to change the face of the bartending world on an international scale, making a difference on a number of levels, and they happen to be having a kick-ass time doing it.
Both ladies shared Latin inspired cocktail recipes with us. Lynnette’s Flor de Rosa is a beautiful, ruby-hued tipple inspired by spirits writer Kara Newman’s Caramel Negroni.
Flor de Rosa – Lynette Marrero, Drinks at 6
1 oz Aperol
1 oz Angostura Amaro
1 oz Aged Rum
Garnish: orange twist and orchid.
Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Ivy shared an unusual pisco sour variation called Buena Onda (good/awesome wave) off the Leyenda menu. I haven’t had a bad cocktail yet at Leyenda and this is one of my favorites!
Buena Onda – Ivy Mix, Leyenda
2oz Yerba Mate infused Kappa Pisco
1/2 oz fresh lime
1/2 oz fresh lemon
3/4 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz egg white
Dry shake, add ice, shake again. Serve up and garnish with grapefruit bitters..
Speed Rack’s fifth national tour kicks-off on November 15, 2015 in the United States and travels to eight cities – Chicago, New York, San Antonio, Seattle, San Francisco, Las Vegas, Nashville, and Boston before crowning a winner at the Speed Rack U.S. Finals in New York in May 2016. For more information, head to their website.