Episode 11: Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero from Speedrack
My guests on today's show are Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero, the badass founders of Speed Rack. If you don't know it, Speed Rack is an international cocktail competition featuring female bartender, it benefits charities that combat breast cancer, it's heading into its seventh season, and has raised over $600,000 to-date to fight breast cancer. Pretty amazing stuff! These ladies are a force to be reckoned with!
The Service Industry can sometime be thought of as a man’s world. Mix and Marrero have set out to raise a platform for female mixologists in the cocktail world, and while they are at it, they are raising money for Breast Cancer Research and Prevention.
Speed Rack was founded in 2011 when Mix brought half of an idea she conceived of a few month back to Marrero, the president of LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails). The idea was to create a cocktail competition for the ladies - to have a competition for women, and by women to support women - in an industry where women can sometimes be left in the shadows. In their first year, Speed Rack raised over $70K and met more than 160 across the country.
Ivy Mix’s career with spirits started when she went to Guatemala her Freshman year of College and fell in love with a bar called Café No Sé. Intending to only go down to Central America for a few months to learn Spanish and do volunteer work, Ivy ended up moving there to live off and on for the next 4 years. Mix moved to New York City in 2008 and worked various service industry jobs before discovering cocktails as a cocktail waitress. She quickly made the move to be become a bartender. Mix worked at Clover Club in Brooklyn, and now co-owns Leyenda, a Brooklyn Coctelería with Julie Reiner. In 2012, Ivy was named one of Zagat’s 30 under 30 for New York City. Also, in 2012, she was one of 10 nominees for Best American Bartender for the Tales of the Cocktail’s Spirted Awards.
Lynnette Marrero’s “spirited” career began when she accepted a job at New York’s Flatiron Lounge alongside cocktail savant Julie Reiner. Marrero quickly made the transition from cocktail-waitress to bartender and knew that the spirits industry was her true calling. After learning the ropes at Flatiron Lounge, Marrero became a senior bartender at Freemans NYC known for it’s skilled bartenders whose innovative drinks were featured in a collaborative cocktail menu, complementing the restaurant’s rustic cuisine . This led her to consulting and co-designing with Brian Miller the bar program for Elettaria in Manhattan's West village. Here she worked closely with the chef to create an award-winning cocktail menu.
While at Elettaria, Marrero’s passion for rum was ignited. Marrero worked to perfect the art of mixing rums and spent a week shadowing the Zacapa Rum Master Blender in Guatemala. This opportunity led her to working for Diageo as a Rum Ambassador for 2 years. Ms. Marrero returned to her career creating bar programs in Manhattan with her company Drinksat6; cultivating a new generation of cocktail bartenders and elevating the bar at restaurants. As beverage Director at Rye House Lynnette won Time Out Eat Out Awards for Best New Cocktail Bar, and Best Bar Restaurant Hybrid. Most recently Marrero created the cocktail program at the Astor Room in the famed Kaufman Astoria studios with her partner Jim Kearns.
Lynnette is the President and founder of LUPEC NYC an organization to promote women bartenders while raising funds for women’s based charities. In 2011 she co-created and produced Speed Rack with Ivy MIx, a national cocktail competition for women bartenders that raises money for breast cancer related charities. She is the beverage chair for high profile Culinary events Taste of the Nation and City Meals, following in the footsteps of Audrey Saunders. Marrero was honored by the James Beard Awards as one of America’s Leading Female Mixologists in 2009.