The minds behind Leyenda are an all female team. Julie Reiner is one of the heavyweights in the cocktail world. She originally worked at the bar where many of the major cocktail players in the city started, Pegu Club. From there she went on to open Flatiron Lounge and later Clover Club in Brooklyn. Both are considered some of the best bars in both the city and the world.
Ivy Mix worked for Julie at both the Tiki bar Lani Kai and the classic cocktail bar Clover Club. As they got to know each other, Ivy shared her passion for tequila and mezcal, having worked at the now closed Mayahuel (which was a highlight of our Craft Cocktail tour when it was open), and decided to partner with Julie to open a brand new bar across the street from Clover Club. Ivy also won Best American Bartender at the prestigious Tales of the Cocktail in 2015. How's that for a resumé?
The other person involved in the delicious creations at Leyenda is Sue Torres. This legendary chef has been featured on Top Chef Masters and is known for her Mexican food. Her restaurant Sueños closed the year before Leyenda opened. She is pairing her masterful Latin American food, like tacos and mofongo, with the incredible cocktails.
The focus at Leyenda is spirits from Latin America. So not just tequila and mezcal but also rums, cachaça, and pisco. You'll find those mixed in to award winning cocktails, like the Tia Maria (mezcal espadin, Jamaican rum, orange curaçao, lime, and orgeat) and La Sonámbula (Jalapeño-infused tequila, chamomile, lemon, molé, and bitters). Or you can work your way through flights or tastings. They also often have special events, like the recent Tiki Happy Hour.
Leyenda is just across the street from their sister bar Clover Club. Both are on Smith Street steps away from where we begin our Brownstone Brooklyn tour. If Leyenda was open during the afternoos, it would be difficult to not refrain from bringing groups by for a cocktail or two. Julie Reiner and Ivy Mix are both names we may mention when talking about the most influential modern bartenders on our Craft Cocktail Tour.
Latin American spirits are maybe not as known in this city as whiskeys and gins. But thankfully, these talented ladies are both educating and entertaining with their carefully curated cocktail menu. It's a comfortable, non-pretentious cocktail lounge with all the components for success - killer drinks, awesome food, and something on the menu for everyone.
221 Smith Street
Brooklyn, New York 11201