The daughter of two artists, Ivy Mix had little exposure to bar culture early on. Growing up in the small town of Tunbridge, Vermont—population 1,288—she spent her childhood training for a career as a professional equestrian.
That all changed with a trip to Guatemala at age 19. Having amassed a sizable tab at Café No Sé, a local ex-pat hangout, Mix offered to work to pay it off, incidentally landing her first bartending gig—and instilling in her a deep interest in Latin American spirits, something that’s gone on to become the defining arc of her career.
Before opening Leyenda, a cocteleria in the Cobble Hill neighborhood of Brooklyn, in 2015, Mix honed her knowledge of agave spirits as a cocktail waitress at Mayahuel, Phil Ward’s mezcal-centric bar in the East Village, before landing positions at Fort Defiance and Clover Club, both under the tutelage of Julie Reiner.
Beyond elevating the status of Latin spirits, Mix dedicates her time to advancing other female talent in the industry through Speed Rack, an annual competition she co-founded in 2011 alongside Llama Inn bar director, Lynnette Marrero, which raises money for breast cancer research—all the while earning top accolades, like Best American Bartender in 2015 from Tales of the Cocktail.
So what does Mix do when she’s not drink-making? Here, Mix tackles our Lookbook Questionnaire to share her weirdest hobby, her favorite bar and the first time she ever got drunk. —Chloe Frechette
Head bartender and co-owner, Leyenda. Co-founder, Speed Rack.
What do want to be when you grow up?
An Olympic horseback rider.
Best thing you ever drank:
Off the top of my head? The Irish Coffee at Fort Defiance in Red Hook, Brooklyn. It’s creamy, coffee-y, boozy. It’s delicious.
Worst thing you ever drank:
I’ve judged a lot of cocktail competitions, so unfortunately there are too many to list!
First time you ever got drunk:
I can’t remember the exact first time, but the first time I got super trashed I was young young young. I drank too much gold tequila, tried to kiss a boy and ended up throwing up in a backyard for the evening. I think I know how to drink (better) tequila now.
If you had to listen to one album on loop for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The album that’s stuck by me FOREVER and that I love is Gillian Welch’s Soul Journey.
What’s the weirdest hobby you currently have or have had?
I’m not sure if it’s a hobby, but I have a knack for collecting religious paraphernalia, like iconography. If you go to Leyenda, it’s a little bit of what I like, but my house is a whole other story. Lots of Marys everywhere. Some people like it, some people find it incredibly creepy. I’ve had prospective roommates turn down the offer because of this.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known five years ago?
Trump will be the president of your country. Run away. Run away now.
Weirdest cocktail experiment you’ve ever attempted:
I once did a cocktail for a seminar with Hendrick’s Gin where bartenders had to get one of the botanicals and make a drink featuring it. I was lucky enough to pull angelica root. Not sure if you’re familiar with it, but it tastes and smells like cow dung. So… basically, a cow dung cocktail.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not eating, drinking or drink-making?
I think we all glorify being busy in this industry. My favorite thing is to enjoy not being busy.
Weirdest drink request you’ve ever gotten:
“I got fired and dumped, make me something for that.”
Your favorite bar, and why:
Right now my favorite bar is in London and is called Sager + Wilde. It’s a restaurant bar and has two years in a row just been the best experience I’ve had in London—and in general—in a long, long time. Drinks on point and unpretentious, as is the food.
Best meal you’ve ever had:
Ever? I don’t know. But I just went to Clown Bar in Paris and it was unreal.
What’s your go-to drink in a cocktail bar?
Sherry. Or a Negroni. But mostly sherry.
I love big red wines. Bigger the better.
White wine spritzer.
Your preferred hangover recovery regime:
Sleep, kombucha, pho, hair of the dog, repeat.
The one thing you wish would disappear from drink lists forever:
Cocktail names that are 5, 6, 7, 8 words long. We want a drink, not a novel.
The last text message you sent:
“But tell me what it is!”