Lynnette Marrero is passionate about showcasing the softer, more feminine side of mixology and her enthusiasm for cocktails makes her an ambassador for women in the industry – a role she takes on with pride.
“I realized there was more for me than being just another cocktail waitress,” says Marrero, a New York City native whose first job was as waitress at a wine bar in 2002. Supporting herself with a job in the restaurant industry while she pursued a career in musical theater seemed like a no-brainer but almost overnight, explains Marrero, “I realized that there was true art to be explored through cocktails.”
Years later, as the owner of her own cocktail consulting company and the president of LUPEC NYC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails), Marrero is determined to help elevate women in an industry that’s still very much dominated by men. It’s particularly important, she says, because many of the products used to create the perfect cocktail – think beguiling spirits, sweet syrups, fresh herbs and ingredients – have an element of the feminine in their composition.
“I think rums and sherries are a great example of something that’s perceived as really macho to drink, very strong,” says Marrero, who loves using the full-bodied spirits over something like a flavored vodka, that’s often marketed to women. “There’s a real femininity and beauty in those spirits because they have so many layers of subtle flavor.”
That’s not to say that Marrero’s drinks are sickly sweet or Barbie pink: her trademark style includes the use of delicate, chai tea-spiced syrups, floral infusions and homemade bitters (think rose jam, sage and citrus) and unique spirits.
“I think there’s something empowering about being a female mixologist – I can play with flavors without being afraid of taking risks the way a man might,” says Marrero, who is Puerto Rican. With her feminist mantra in mind, try Marrero’s Conquistadora cocktail, which makes use of dry sherry and a combination of rums and coconut liqueur that’s reminiscent of classic Caribbean flavors but with an utterly modern, feminine twist.
1 oz Medium Dry Amontillado Sherry
1/4 oz Kalani Coconut Liqueur
1/4 oz Heering Coffee Liqueur
2 oz Zacapa 23 Rum
An Orange Twist
Preparation: Stir all liquid ingredients over fresh ice. Strain into a coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with orange twist. Makes one cocktail.