New York City-Brooklyn
May 11, 2018
Occupying the first floor of a four-story walk-up, Leyenda’s open-air concept, with its brightly colored back bar, copper ceiling and backyard patio give the impression of a hip Latino expat with a Brooklyn accent. Leyenda co-owner/founder Ivy Mix—the winner of the 2015 Best American Bartender award at Tales of the Cocktail’s Spirited Awards—got her start pouring drinks at Cafe No Se in Guatemala. She honed her skills at Brooklyn’s award-winning Clover Club for several years, alongside bar legend Julie Reiner (also a Leyenda partner), before opening this tribute to all things Central and South America. The bar may be relaxed, but the drinks, which prominently feature pan-Latino ingredients like tequila, mezcal, cachaça, pisco and yerba mate), are expertly crafted. Among the standouts, the Tia Mia (mezcal, Jamaican rum, orange curaçao, lime and orgeat) may be one of the 10 best new cocktails in the city, invoking spirit-forward craft and tiki trends in the same, balanced glass. Large-format Pitcher drinks, like the Por la Sangre (Garnacha wine, Chilean pisco, orange, lemon, strawberry cordial, black peppercorn and bitters) is big enough to serve a whole table. The small bites menu is not to be missed, with dishes like spinach-manchego empanadas and Colombian papas rellenas expertly blending Brooklyn-American chic with traditional Latino fare.