A profile of Julie Reiner, her roots in Hawaii and how she’s brought a fresh Polynesian spin to New York’s cocktail scene.
A true island girl, raised in Honolulu, Hawaii before moving to Florida for school.
Becoming a Mixologist
After cocktail waitressing in Honolulu in her late teens, Reiner started to develop her interest in cocktails and a passion for the right mix of people and drinks. After finally getting a chance to work behind the bar while in college, Reiner fell in love with it and knew she wanted more. Â Julie’s big moment of inspiration came from the cocktail program at the Red Room in San Francisco and it’s there she became a full-time bartender and fully in the game.
After spending some time on the West Coast, Julie moved toÂ New York City and its bustling, old world cocktail culture scene. In NYC her creative cocktail skills were quickly recognized by many even Dale DeGroff, aka âKing Cocktailâ. She spent time at a couple of bars to tune her talents and progressed quickly,eventually Â landing the role as Bar Manager at C3. While working there for the next three years she gained the experience of creating full-blown drink menus and her own cocktail creations featuring fresh fruit juices. Her innovative approach to cocktail making landed her on the front page of the New York Times. You can say you’ve made it then, can’t you?
Home Cocktail Bar
Each of her bars has a different focus with an underlying theme of serving the best high quality cocktails made with the freshest ingredients. Her most recent venture, Lani Kai, pays homage to modern day Hawaii inspired by her own roots in the tropics. However, Julie refuses to call it a âtiki barâ and points out several differences in the design – including those contributed by her designer brother – that bring forth a more modern take on Polynesian mixology.
Given that she spent time at each stage of cocktail delivery, she pays a lot of attention to employee satisfaction. And in a trade where having highly skilled bartenders is crucial to success, she does her best to keep her masters of mixology satisfied and motviated to provide the best cocktail experiences.
Julie’s goal in opening Flatiron Lounge was to have âreally high quality cocktails but that anybody could come to,â. Her focus has been on gourmet cocktails and taking a more culinary approach by using fresher ingredients to âfree the flavorâ; an area she identified it as an untapped market in New York. She remained behind the bar at Flatiron training bartenders for a full 5 years since this particular mixology technique was still new and not as widespread on the east coast.
“ Stick with it, hold your own, and don’t take any shit.”
Cheers to Julie, her success in New York and her mission to save us from bland, boring cocktails.
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