Lynnete Marrero created her company Drinksat6 which has elevated the bar at restaurants around the country. She is the National Brand Mixologist for Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water and San Pellegrino Sparkling Fruit Beverages, in addition to working as a National Rum Educator and Mixology Ambassador for Zacapa Rum. Lynnette is the President of LUPEC NYC, an organization that promotes women bartenders while raising funds for women-based charities. In 2011, she co-created and produced Speed Rack a national cocktail competition for women bartenders that raises money for breast cancer charities, with fellow bartender Ivy Mix. Marrero was an inaugural Honoree at the Dames Hall of Fame at Tales of the Cocktail, and in 2009 Marrero was honored by the James Beard as one of America’s Leading Female Mixologists.
What got you into the mixology / beverage business?
To be honest I got into it post 9/11. I was performing off Broadway in regional musicals and never wanted to be the clichè waiter/actor. I chose to work as a temp in between gigs in offices where I ended up assisting many of my colleagues from Columbia University. I was away from NYC during 9/12 doing a show and when I got home I talked my way into a job waitressing at a wine bar called Punch and Judy in Clinton St. The global wine list was incredible and I loved working there (FYI the bartender I worked with was Michael Chernow!). I fell in love with the business and with wine and food and how it all goes together. I eventually moved on and worked at a place called Cibar where I started learning more about the bar from my friend Amber. She and I would work Thursday nights and she would teach me drinks.
After our shift, we would go into the newly opened Flatiron Lounge. Julie Reiner, Susan Fedroff, and Michele Connolly were the bartenders and owners. The drinks, created by Julie, were beautiful, tropical, balanced, and not overly sweet. I was hooked on these wonderful drinks. I stalked the place for a year and landed a job as a waitress just after my wedding in Puerto Rico in July 2004.
What do you love about bartending?
The bar is a place for self-expression and opportunity to create experiences through liquid art. It’s like acting, do your scene, perform your best, get applause! I love to entertain and host so it’s a natural fit for me.
Do you play “bartender” at family or friends’ functions? If yes, do you mind?
I do and I sometimes mind! My relaxation times are spent drinking wine, sherry, and craft beer! The occasional 50/50 martini grandma style with an olive and a twist sometimes is my perfected downtime drink. However, my go-to for large gatherings is punch so I can enjoy my time at the party.
How do you get in the creative zone when concocting a new drink recipe? What’s your process?
I happen to be married to an Art Director/Creative Director so he has taught me a lot about creating the brand world. So I like to think about how the cocktail is going to be consumed and what I want it to “do”. Then I think about the occasion. Is it going with food, does it stand alone, etc. Then I go to my flavor analysis and look for pairings or contrasts. Then I just try a lot of variations!
What’s your favorite cocktail using 5 ingredients or less?
Best bar joke you know!
Two peanuts walk into a bar and one was a salted.
What’s the strangest drink request you’ve gotten?
A dirty gimlet.
What are some basic tips/steps to learning how to pair cocktails with food?
Using the flavor bible and thinking about how heavy or light the dish is. Also keep in mind proof.
What are your career goals?
The million dollar question. I might someday open a bar, but I love being able to work on so many projects. Speed Rack will continue to grow and we will take that to many new places globally. I want to be instrumental in how people think about food and drink, and how they experience both.
Elsa Miranda (aka Chiquita Banana): 1 oz Don Q black beard 1 oz Bacardi 8 year 3/4 oz Giffard Creme de Banane 3/4 oz Passionfruit Syrup 3/4 oz Mango shrub 1/2 oz Lime juice
Chino Latino 2 oz Don Q Cristal 3/4 Lemongrass lime cordial 1/2 oz Coconut water 1/2 oz Lime juice
In your opinion, what’s the next biggest trend in mixology and why?
Sherry wines used in more mainstream cocktails, Aperitif cocktailing and the interest from Millenials in wine will be interesting to see how that comes together with their passion for craft cocktails.
Learn more about Bartender/Mixologist Lynnette Marrero on her Chef’s Roll Industry Profile here. Lynnette Marrero will be participating at Puerto Rico Meets NYC in October. Learn more about the event by clicking on the image below.