Decaf Irish Coffees, Café No Sé, and Fighting Breast Cancer w/ Ivy Mix

With a name like Ivy Mix, one might say that she was predestined to end up in the cocktail world. However, this lovely lady has certainly earned her notoriety working very hard at building her solid reputation for both making kick-a$$ cocktails but also for being at the forefront of redefining women’s roles behind the stick and with the role of philanthropy in the industry.

Most people may know her work at the the legendary bar, the Clover Club, or as one of the Founders of Speed RackIf you haven’t heard of Speed Rack, it is a hugely successful all-female cocktail competition platform that has spanned the country (and now globe) raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to date to fight breast cancer.

We first met her on a bus to the now defunct Googamooga Festival in Brooklyn and had us smitten when she generously offered to share her mini-bottle of Tequila Ocho with us (thanks again boo). Ladies & gentlemen, let’s now go Drinking with Ivy Mix …

Favorite NYC Place to Hang When You’re Meeting for a Drink?

There are a few different places, and it really depends on my mood. Generally, I like to go to places where I can sip a glass of wine or sherry … or drink a cider and then just chill. There is an added bonus if I can bring my dog.

In Manhattan, I love Tile Bar. If I’m in the mood for cocktails, I do the East Village 500. Sometimes, I’ll hit up PDT, Death & Co. and Mayahuel, but then I’ll probably just hit Tile Bar again. If I’m feel extravagant, I go to ZZ’s Clam Bar.

In Brooklyn, I love Broken Land in Greenpoint, Basik, Lady Jays in East Williamsburg, and Doris in Bedstuy-ish. I also love drinking at Clover Club when I’m not working. I just love it there. I also love Fort Defiance – best Irish Coffee “in the known world” (Pete Wells), and a little treasure in NYC. If I have a Sunday off, you can usually find me there drinking one.

Favorite Go-To Drink Order?

Depends … usually a negroni, a glass of red wine, or some sherry.

First Job in the Industry?

Being a bartender. I was living and working in Guatemala and found the best little bar in the world, Café No Sé. I ended up racking up a tab there that was so high, I had to work to pay it off. Turned out, I thought it was awesome to get paid to be in a place where I would be in anyway. That was 10 years ago.

First Alcoholic Drink You Ever Had? What where you drinking the first time you got drunk?

Oh wow … I have no idea. My family is the type that gives kids a little wine and beer at dinner when we’re pretty young. The first time I got drunk – drunk? I would imagine it was a hodgepodge of everything I could find around.

What Ingredient(s) are you most excited about right now?

Right now, I’m really excited about different modifiers that we are (slowly but surely) being able to get into the U.S. and NYC. Products like Suze and the whole Giffard line is delivering some really exciting products. Also, Haus Alpenz has always brought a lot of great stuff to the table and somehow keeps bringing more and more, which is really awesome. I also think Pisco may finally be getting its time in the sun … which is about time.

Other than that, I personally have been going through a lot of pastry books and taking notes from them. This is way different for my style as I’m not usually a big syrup maker, but I’ve been inspired by a lot of the stuff I see there.

Coffee or Tea? Fave Cup (From Where)? How do you take it? How Many a Day?

Actually, I recently gave up coffee. I had to decide on a vice and I love booze and cheese too much, so coffee went out the window. Now when I get an Irish Coffee, I opt for decaf (LAME, I know). I’ve actually cut out a lot of caffeine too, well, most of it. I used to love (and still do on a occasion), a big cup of P&G Tip Black Tea, with a healthy splash of whole milk and a spoon of honey. Now, I mostly am sticking to Green Tea of a whole different variety with different honeys.

What’s Your Hangover Remedy?

Soup, particularly, Pho, and pedialyte. Then follow that up with some fries and a white wine spritzer and I’m good as new.

Favorite Bartender / Mixologist / Drinks or Industry Person?

Jay Zimmerman (Ba’sik in BK): Because he’s certainly the funniest guy in the industry and always has everyone’s back. And his wife is amazing, which is an added bonus.
Leo Robitschek (NoMad): Because I’d move heaven and earth for him! Love him to death and he’s spectacularly talented.
Ryan Liola (Clover Club): I work with him on Wednesdays at Clover Club. Our whole team there is so solid, but Ryan makes every shift that we work hysterically funny + easy-going.
Kevin Denton (Alder): He’s just a gem. Also, super talented and another one who is easy-going.
Natasha David (Nitecap): The epitome of elegance. I can’t think of a more graceful bartender.

Of course, these are all NYC based because once I start breaking into the rest of the country and the world, the whole thing blows wide open.

Best Spot to Eat When you are drinking, or Let’s Be Honest, Drunk?

  • Fort Defiance (again): deviled eggs and chicken liver mousse. YUM!
  • Clover Club: (again again I know!) – everything and anything. Best cocktail bites in town.
  • Scratchbread: (even though you can’t drink there) it is in Bed-Stuy and when I’m doing a little daytime drinking session, their grits cannot be beat to fill me up and make me happy.
  • For Manhattan? Hmmm…. Mother’s Ruin’s veggie burger. No bun = amazing.

Where is your Fave spot for a Super Chill Vibes night out?

Cafe Petit in Williamsburg: so adorable and delicious, Vinegar Hill House: same as above and the food is next level, Mason Premiere: Happy Hour oysters and a bottle of champagne? Yes, please.
Anella in Greenpoint

What are you hidden gems in NYC that you will share?

These are the same places you will likely find me drinking at most of the time. Tom and Jerry’s, Tile Bar, Sunny’s, Dynaco, Broken Land, Lady Jays… otherwise I like to go to the not so hidden gems that somehow get lost. I like to head to the Carlyle and get an exorbitantly expensive cocktail and look at Old New York

What are you most proud of in your career thus far?

You know, that’s always such a tricky question and I think my answer is always evolving and changing. Starting Speed Rack is a huge accomplishment and I’m proud of it because it extends so far beyond myself. I have meet nearly 600 women in the 3+ years that we’ve been doing it and so many of them use Speed Rack as a career launcher.

I’m incredibly proud that of creating something that can have so much importance to some people’s lives and career. Lynnette Marrero (my partner) and I, step back after at each event and sometimes we can’t even believe it. It’s been great! And we’ve raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to stop Breast Cancer. EDITOR SIDENOTE— THIRSTY WANTS TO THANK YOU FOR THIS!

Do you have mentors or people whom you look up to in the industry? Whom can we thank (besides yourself) for your delicious work?

I find mentorships all over the place, but I’d have to say that 2 of my biggest mentors are Julie Reiner and St. John Frizzel. Julie is my current boss at Clover Club and I started working for her at Lani Kai in Manhattan many years ago.

St. John gave me my first cocktail bartending gig in NYC. He gave me a chance when a lot of other people were telling me that my place in the cocktail world was as a waitress. Phil Ward was the first one to introduce me to cocktails, before him, I knew how to bartend but I didn’t know what cocktails were. Without my first cocktail waitressing job with Phil, I don’t think I would still be bartending.

What are you working on these days?

Between Speed Rack, working at Clover and a few other pokers in the fire, I have a lot to keep me busy. Speed Rack is in its 4th year and we are going to London again for the 3rd time while adding events in Canada and Paris … and maybe even more!

Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve recently been reading a ton of pastry books and I’m also working on a whole bunch of different cocktails, which can be so cathartic when I’m running around planning all these events … it’s what it’s all about!

If you weren’t part of the crazy booze biz, what would you be doing?

The only other jobs I’ve ever really had besides bartending were horse training and gallery work. After working in NYC galleries for a while, I can tell you I wouldn’t do that again. So, I think I would be on a farm somewhere, riding horses 6-8 hours a day. Or perhaps be a professor of Art of Philosophy. I studied it in school and I nearly went to grad school quite a few times, but then this industry swept me away.

Fun Fact – You have an incredibly talented twin sister, who is also in the industry, tell us something that we might not know about your?

I do have a twin sister! We’re identical twins and she’s my best friend. She started a video production company with our mutual best friend, Julia called Le JIT Productions (standing for Julia, Ivy and Tess). They do a bunch of amazing work, specializing mostly in the booze biz. But what may you not know about me … well:

  • I have lived all across the world, mostly in Latin America (Guatemala, Peru and Argentina), and I speak nearly fluent Spanish.
  • I go to Running of the Bulls every year.
  • I have an art studio in Bed-Stuy attached to the Le JIT offices.
  • I ride my bike everywhere I go.
  • I fly like crazy and also do events for tons of people, but I am scared of flying and basically have agoraphobia.
  • I love cheese, of all kinds.
  • I love sailing and the water but I have an irrational fear of what’s in it – SHARKS!

Follow Ivy Mix

Instagram: Ivymix
Twitter: Ivy Mix

Insta / Twitter: @speed_rack

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