The Multitasking Mixologist
Ivy Mix is busy. At the moment, she co-owns the Brooklyn-based coctelería Leyenda (and acts as head bartender), runs the Speed Rack competition for female bartenders (which raises funds for breast cancer research, education, and prevention), and collaborates on a line of glassware. Oh, and in 2015, she won the coveted Spirited Award for Best American Bartender of the year at the New Orleans-based Tales of the Cocktail Festival. And she’s only 30. We asked Mix about her projects and New York’s evolving spirits industry.
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How have you seen New York’s spirits industry change throughout your years in the city?
I have lived and have worked in the booze biz in New York for the last 8 or 9 years. A lot has changed indeed. Back then there were just a few cocktail bars and it was enough to have the identity of the bar be cocktails and maybe a speakeasy. That was it. These were bars to get cocktails in and they were good! Then cocktails and these types of bars all grew in popularity and everyone started having cocktail lists; even the old dive on your corner is all of a sudden serving gimlets. The result? New York has a LOT of bad cocktails now. A lot. And it’s up to our patrons to find out where is actually good. This can give cocktails a bad name, which is too bad, because folks don’t know how to do it. That said, this big growth has lead to a lot of new interesting spirits and ideas due to the demand. I like that a lot.
You just launched a line of barware, and both Speed Rack and Leyenda seem to be thriving. What’s next for you and the projects in which you’re involved?
I worked with my dad to create some great mixing glasses. Really it’s his line, but I am super excited to collaborate with him. Speed Rack is in its 6th Season and we’re expanding to more locations globally. And Leyenda is just under a year and a half old and we’re doing pretty well! Right now, I am trying to get all of these projects running smoothly before I look forward to another project. I do hope one day to have some more bars sprinkled across the country and globe, but that is certainly one step at a time.
What most surprised you about opening Leyenda last year? Is there anything you’d do differently?
Opening Leyenda was a whirlwind. We signed a lease, conceptualized it and built it out in five months. It was insane. The most interesting thing about it is that after some time, a bar or restaurant tells you what it is going to be. I thought Leyenda was going to be more of a bar, and actually, we serve a lot of food. We are a full-blown restaurant, and that was a surprise. But our food is great, so that’s wonderful! My staff is incredible and so are my partners. All in all, I am not sure if I would do anything differently. Maybe clone myself. Yeah, I would clone myself because really there isn’t enough time in the day.
What new spirits or ingredients are you excited about this fall?
I am really into all of the aged cachaças that are coming out right now. Novo Fogo has a whole line that is very interesting and different. Each product is unique and wonderful for both drinking solo and using in cocktails.