The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2016

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30  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2016 LYNETTE MARRERO Bartender/Mixologist at DrinksAt6 in New York, NY What inspired you to start a national cock- tail competition for female bartenders? When Ivy Mix came to me about start- ing Speed Rack, it was because I was the president of LUPEC [Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails] in NYC, and our goals were to promote women bartenders and distillers, all the while sup- porting women-based charities. So the idea was to create a competition as an opportunity to showcase female talents, and now the five-year-old competition has seen over 700 women compete and brought everyone in the cocktail community together to celebrate the ladies and raise awareness for an amazing charity. You were honored with a James Beard Award as one of America's Leading Female Mixologists in 2009. What did that recognition mean to you and for other women interested in a career in this field? At the time, I was just starting my career in consulting with my company DrinksAt6, and it was a turning point to decide where I wanted to go in this industry. I was privileged that year to be honored alongside many of my mentors, who helped shape where my career would go. Most influential in leading me down my current path is Julie Reiner, who gave me my first shift ever behind the bar at the Flatiron Lounge in NYC. We've partnered with Chef's Roll & Somm's List, the global culinary and wine professional networks, to learn more about beverage experts from across the country. SARAH MENGONI Lead Bartender at BLVD 16 in Beverly Hills, CA Your botanically inspired cocktails demonstrate a wide range of flavor profiles. What's a favorite farmer's market ingredient for summer? Picking a favorite is impossible! Each week there are different smells that jump out and grab me as I walk by: ber- ries, melons, tomatoes, herbs and stone fruit. Then there are all the foods that look beautiful: cucumber, figs, corn and nuts. I try to walk into the Westwood farmer's market with some sort of plan. Then an aroma or something beautiful or unusual catches my attention. A perfect handcrafted libation and menu pairing at BLVD 16? Our chef, Grace Gonzalez, makes fantastic beef jerky. It's a great pairing with our "Old Road" cocktail: Buffalo Trace Bourbon, John D. Taylor's Velvet Falernum Liqueur, Cynar and Fee Brother's Black Walnut Bitters—all served on a nice big cube of ice. MAURO CIRILLI Wine Director/Educator at Press Club in San Francisco, CA What differences have you noticed in the wine industry between Italy and the United States? The most notable was between New World and Old World wines. The U.S. takes every- thing to the extreme—not just in winemak- ing, but also in how the industry markets and sells wine, invests in new resources and seeks to find new identities in younger winemakers. Italy has the strongest wine history background, where traditions still strongly impact viticulture, winemaking and how wine is promoted and consumed. What can you tell us about your wine list at Press Club? It's awesome! My sommelier-trained staff and I select wines that highlight qual- ity, showcase the correct representations of varietals, reflect terroir and provide drinking satisfaction. Our list focuses on domestic and European selections, with some preference toward smaller, sustainable and biodynamic producers. If you are a mixologist or wine professional interested in being featured here or want more information on Chef's Roll and Somm's List, please email PHOTO: JENNY SCHLEIGER PHOTO: ERIC MEDSKER PHOTO: SCHROEDER'S

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