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True to her name, Ivy Mix stirs an incredible cocktail, especially in the company of Julie Reiner. The drink pros made quite the formidable pair at the Clover Club, Reiner’s Cobble Hill cocktail institution where Mix served as head bartender, but they’re testing if lightning strikes twice at this Pan-Latin follow-up. (Spoiler: It does.) In a mystic-cool space fitting for such bartender worship—rigged with Indio candles, cathedral-pew booths and a golden tin ceiling imprinted with crosses—Mix takes the reins on the cocktail menu and proves she’s worthy of the title leyenda (Spanish for legend).
ORDER THIS: South of the Border cocktails that go well beyond tequila. Pulling from her time spent living and working in Guatemala, Argentina and Peru, Mix pours the pisco-charged Hey Suze ($12), which soothes gin, absinthe and the biting Peruvian liquor with sweet, subtle sugar snap peas, and the Maiden Name ($12), which plays up sugary cachaça with a warming fusion of coconut, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Groups are well suited to pitchers like the pineapple-and-grapefruit ¡Oye Rubia! ($38), splashed with fino sherry, sauvignon blanc and blanco tequila.
GOOD FOR: An alfresco evening. Grab one of Mix’s more tropically minded numbers—like the Mia Tia ($13), a riff on a mai tai made with mescal, rum, lime, orgeat and curaçao—and head for the breezy, tree-filled, salsa-soundtracked patio out back. You’ll feel less like you’re in central Brooklyn and more like you’re in Central America.
THE CLINCHER: Rounding out the fierce female-driven team is former Sueños toque Sue Torres, who turns out characteristically fiery Latin eats to complement Mix’s cocktails. Of note are the goat-picadillo tacos ($16) with braised, gently gamy meat loaded into a corn tortilla with black currants, briny olives and a bright squeeze of lime juice, and a refreshing ceviche ($13) of ahi tuna and watermelon, fragrant with cucumber and citrus in a grapefruit-forward dressing. Larger appetites should opt for Grandma Torres’s pernil and mofongo ($15), starring a 48-hour braised pork shoulder that shreds with the single swipe of a fork and is served piping hot beside garlicky smashed green plantains. The only thing more scorching at Leyenda is the crew behind it.
221 Smith St
|Cross street:||between Baltic and Butler Sts|
|Transport:||Subway: A, C, G to Hoyt–Schermerhorn; F, G to Bergen St|
|Price:||Average cocktail: $13. AmEx, MC, V|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Thu 5pm–2am; Fri, Sat 5pm–3am; Sun 5pm–1am|
|Do you own this business?|