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Photo: Leo Borovskiy, Lush Life Productions

In anticipation of this weekend's Manhattan Cocktail Classic, we decided to highlight some of the amazing female talent behind the bar. Given all of that expertise, it's no surprise that New York is the location of the newest chapter of Ladies United for the Presevation of Endangered Cocktails, or LUPEC. Founder Lynnette Marerro tells us all about it.

Name: Lynnette Marrero
Location: East Village
Website: www.lupecnyc.com (coming soon)

What is LUPEC? Ladies United for the Presevation of Endangered Cocktails. It was started in Pittsburgh in 2001. In their own words:

The Founding Chapter of Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC) is dedicated to the Gin Fizz, the Widow's Kiss, and the Singapore Sling—the drinks our mothers and grandmothers drank, the drinks we strive to save from extinction as a small measure of remembering those great women and their great cocktail parties.

The mission is quite simple:

In a post-millenium world of beer and prepackaged Chex Mix™, LUPEC works tirelessly to breed, raise, and release cocktails that are endangered or even believed to be extinct.

The collecting of anachronistic recipes by women, and the resulting creation of endangered cocktails in an all-woman setting is intended to achieve the following goals:

  • To create a secular "coven-like" atmosphere in which Classy Broads of today can invoke and honor the spirits of their Forebroads
  • To continue the 150 year American tradition of dangerous women calling themselves Ladies and getting together in groups, clubs, and societies to work undercover while they chipped away at the patriarchy.
  • To protect the collective Joie de Vivre of LUPEC members by assuring them at least one good party a month
  • To encourage the accumulation and use of vintage serving and barware.

In New York we have definitely added a charity component. We really want to use our skills to support women-based charitable organizations.

Give us an example of an endangered cocktail, so we can do our part to help bring it back to life. I think when the organization began, cocktails were definitely more endangered. We happen to live in a city that has embraced these cocktails and are making them fashionable and more mainstream. However, one cocktail, the Rose #3 listed in the Savoy cocktail book, still baffles me. It's an odd drink and I've had versions a couple of years ago, but it never was quite right.

1 1/4 oz kirsch
1 oz dry vermouth
1/4 oz grenadine (6 dashes)

Shake in iced cocktail shaker & strain. Serve in a cocktail glass (4.5 oz).

I need to try to bring it back with homemade grenadine, and I did taste a lovely kirsch from Clear Creek that may also be the key to a successful Rose #3.

Why and how did the New York chapter get started? I started noticing LUPEC last year when Misty Kalkofen (of Drink, in Boston) started becoming a part of the New York cocktail scene. The Boston chapter has done so much with LUPEC, even publishing a book. I thought it was incredible. I also became a brand ambassador for Zacapa this year and as part of my job, I am encouraged to step out of my normal rotation of bars and explore what is happening in the industry. This is where I met some of the brightest new female stars. I met Eryn Reece at Louis 649, Lisa Hare at BoBo, and Meaghan Dorman at Raines Law Room. I was so impressed and I wanted to create a chapter in New York to promote, support and selfishly to have a strong community of women in the industry coming together. So I told Julie Reiner about it at the Mayahuel friends and family, and she was really into the idea. It took until after Tales of the Cocktail to really get the momentum, but we are moving fast.

What kinds of events have you held so far and what's coming down the pike?
We have held events to support two different charities: one was a Ladies night at Death and Company called "Bartenders for Boobs" to support the Avon Breast Cancer Walk, and one for Right Rides, which offers women, LGBTQ and gender-nonconforming individuals a free, late-night ride home to ensure their safe commute to or through high-risk areas.

Are you doing anything specific for the Manhattan Cocktail Classic this weekend? Yes, the LUPEC ladies are manning the bar at the Astor Center on Saturday from 11:30am to 1:30pm.

Does one have to be a female bartender to join? If not, how do we join?
Our chapter is not limited to female bartenders, although they hopefully will constitute the majority of our membership. The founding members include members of PR and marketing, and brand ambassadors as well as bartenders, and bar consultants. All the founding members are recognized for being a part of the New York cocktail community and for their contributions to the community outside of their "job." We are working on an application that aspiring members will be able to download from the website lupecnyc.com (coming soon)

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Cocktails and more from the Clover Club. [Photo: Tia Kim]


Where do LUPEC ladies drink in NYC?
Anywhere and everywhere! Seriously, New York has so many amazing places nowadays it would be hard to or take too long to list them all. Speaking for myself, I will drink anywhere that makes fresh juices, and truly tries to make quality, well-crafted cocktails. Of course we also support where our lovely members work and hone their craft: Mayahuel, Clover Club, Flatiron Lounge, Raines Law Room, Louis 649, and Hearth.

What's your all-time favorite cocktail? Wow, that is like asking someone to pick their favorite child! I am a big rum fan, so I'd have to say a rum swizzle. There are so many variations, but the end result is always, delicious rum and citrus and bitters over crushed ice in a tall glass. Mmmm.

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[Photos: Laren Spirer]

What are your favorite local hangouts or places you might be considered a regular? Death and Company and Mayahuel. I was lucky enough to work at Flatiron Lounge early in my career. I began as a cocktail waitress but moved up thanks to some of the fellas like Phil Ward who recognized my interest in making cocktails. Then when the sister bar, Pegu Club, opened, I met Brian Miller and Jim Kearns, and they've all become cocktail big brothers. So basically they are my Cheers. My husband and I have our names on a bar stool at Death and Company!

Best late-night eats? I try to avoid late-night these days!

Undiscovered gem? Louis 649 on Ninth Street. Great beer and spirits, fresh juice, and one of the best new up-and-coming female bartenders, Eryn Reece. They also do sponsored tastings on Tuesdays so you can go and try something new. Also, Eleven Madison Park. The food is incredible, but it is a place to definitely stop in for a cocktail as well. They definitely raise the restaurant-bar bar!

Last drink that knocked your socks off? Brian Miller's Winchester! It's a gin zombie with 3 or 4 gins, but it's incredibly smooth. I know blending rum in cocktails allows the bartender to blend flavors and characteristics of the different types of rum, but never thought about doing it with a gin. Oddly enough, it's being featured at UK Rumfest this year.

What's in your fridge that you'd be embarrassed to tell us about? There is a bottle of prepackaged grenadine! It's not Roses, it's a good brand sold at Whole Foods, but still I like to make my own. I had an event last minute and used it in my cocktail. In all fairness it was good, just not as good as the homemade stuff.

Everyone has a go-to person they call for restaurant/bar recommendations. Who's yours?
Noel Cruz. He always knows what is new and interesting. He's one of the first people I ever met in the biz and his culinary background makes him a walking Zagat.

What's the best recommendation he/she has given you?
He was the person who introduced me to Momofuku back in the day.

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