In Spring of 2023, Jennifer Lopez announced the creation of The House of Delola, a company she founded to launch unique, mixology-level ready-to-enjoy cocktails designed for elegant, effortless entertaining as part of a thoughtful lifestyle. She brought in globally renowned mixologist Lynnette Marrero to collaborate on creating these fun, fresh and delicious.cocktails. Lynnette was voted 2021 “World’s Best Bartender” by her peers around the world and is known for her ability to create the finest, most delicious world-class crafted cocktails.
The first release, “Delola Spritz” has been an instant success. The three refreshing cocktails include Bella Berry Spritz made with berry, hibiscus and premium vodka, Paloma Rosa Spritz made with grapefruit, elderflower and premium tequila, and L’Orange Spritz created with orange, passionfruit and premium amaro.
Hamptons Social spoke with Lynnette about how she channelled Jennifer’s love for the Amalfi Coast when developing the cocktails, her personal connection to The Hamptons, and the best way to enjoy the sensational spritzes.
Could you take us back to the first time you were approached to be the Master Mixologist for Delola?
LYNNETTE MARRERO: I was first approached to be the Master Mixologist for Delola by co-founders Jenna Fagnan and Ken Austin who I have known for several years in the spirits industry. They shared with me the vision for the brand, ethos and style. I initially did not know who the celebrity founder of the company was.
When I was told I was working with Jennifer Lopez, someone I have admired for years for their artistry, I was extremely excited and honored.
What excited you immediately about their vision?
MARRERO: The idea of the cocktails were also innovative and something I have not seen yet in the Ready to Drink/Ready to enjoy space. I was excited to and up to the challenge to create craft cocktail quality bottled cocktails that could also embody Jennifer’s lifestyle and what she was looking for in the market.
Could you tell us about the creative process in developing the cocktails with Jennifer Lopez?
MARRERO: I like to call this the greatest “Bartender’s choice” moment. Often in bars and restaurants we are asked to mix a cocktail that is off the menu.
I worked closely with Jennifer to help bring this vision to life. Jennifer has been involved in creating Delola since day one and played a huge role in each expression of Delola, including flavors that she enjoys and even ones that she didn’t like, excellent feedback when working on bespoke cocktails for anyone who comes into you bar more important when you are working to bring a founder’s vision to life.
I did a bit of research and asked her lots of questions about what she liked in certain drinks and what she didn’t like. I asked what she kept on hand. She told me how friends would come over and would open her fridge and play around with what she kept on hand. Lots of fresh fruits, some premium italian sodas, etc.
We played with different fresh fruits, herbs, and spices to create a line of ready-to-enjoy cocktails that are balanced, full-flavored, and made with natural botanicals and premium spirits.
Delola is inspired by Capri and the Italian Coast. Could you tell us about how you channeled this part of the world while making the cocktails?
MARRERO: Some of Jennifer’s favorite memories were spent on the Italian Coast. The Italian Coast is known for its delicious, light, and refreshing spritzes, so we channeled that in each of the current expressions of Delola.
Jennifer created a mood board for how she wanted Delola to look inside and out and reflect on what inspired her most to create the cocktails. Delola is also an extension of her lifestyle, so each expression represents her.
What is the significance behind the eye-catching packaging?
MARRERO: Jennifer refers to her time growing up in the Bronx, by including the Delola crest engraved on each custom bottle. The signature Delola blue tie in the colors of the Italian Coast, and there is a lion and lioness on the label because she is a Leo.
The choice to launch with a larger format bottle, before releasing the half bottles, reflects how much Jennifer loves to entertain and spend time entertaining with her family and friends. The premium glass bottle is a standout in this style of beverages.
You are known as a pioneering mixologist in the industry and one of the best bartenders in the world. When did you first discover your love for mixology?
MARRERO: I’ve been working in the industry for over two decades and have experience working in all types of restaurants and bars in New York to create some of the most world-renowned beverage programs.
When I first started out my career I worked at NYC’s Flatiron Lounge alongside cocktail-savant Julie Reiner, where I quickly made the transition from a cocktail server to a bartender, and that’s when I knew it was my true calling. After that, I worked at Freeman’s as a Senior Bartender and made my way to consulting and co-designing the bar program at Elettaria to create an award-winning cocktail menu.
In 2015, I helped to open and was previously the Bar Director of Brooklyn hotspot The Llama Inn and Greenwich Village’s Llama San, which was nominated for a James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program in 2022. That’s just a snippet of where I worked and started my career alongside working as a brand ambassador and helping to cultivate a new generation of cocktail bartenders and elevating the bar at restaurants.
What do you love most about creating cocktails?
MARRERO: I love creating cocktails that tell stories, create an experience for the consumer, and include the highest quality spirits and fresh fruits and juices to elevate any cocktail.
Jennifer Lopez has said, “Lynette and I are kindred spirits.” Can you discuss how the two of you clicked during the journey of creating Delola?
MARRERO: Jennifer and I are really connected as we both share a Nuyorican heritage. We share a similar work ethic, not stopping at good but striving for perfection. We also both aspire to create communities of hard-working, successful women to create brands that people can incorporate into their everyday lives. I also really resonate with Jennifer’s philanthropy. I think her partnership with Grameen America to deploy $14 Billion in loan capital to 600,000 Low-Income Latina Entrepreneurs by 2030 is incredible.
I think our desire to create something authentic and really work hard to make the access craft cocktails more accessible was important.
In addition, we also quickly learned that we share an affinity for similar flavors and our love of entertaining friends and family, which made it easy to connect when creating together.
What is the best way to enjoy drinking the delicious spritzes?
MARRERO: Delola is best enjoyed in a wine glass, poured over a full glass of ice, and accompanied by a paired garnish. We love to enjoy Paloma Rosa with grapefruit, Bella Berry with a lemon slice, and L’Orange with an orange slice.
But there are so many types of fun glassware, you can use a stemless wine glasses, or any footed glasses or elegant rocks glasses can also serve as the perfect vessel to serve your Delola Spritzes.
We also like to play with different garnishes to spruce up Delola.
For Bella Berry and L’Orange we like to recommend mint and basil and with Paloma Rosa we love to pair it with rosemary, lavender, and mint. You can also play with some of your favorite herbs to vary it up. Try L’Orange with some fresh fennel fronds or dill for a hint of savory or Bella Berry with some lavender or thyme. Paloma Rosa pairs well with basil, cilantro, and tarragon.
Could you tell us about your connection to the Hamptons?
MARRERO: Jennifer has a house in The Hamptons, and she knew Delola would be a great fit when entertaining in The Hamptons this summer. We were able to host many events this summer that turned the Hamptonites into big Delola fans.
The Hamptons always seem to come into my life. As someone in hospitality, I have spent a lot of time out here working amazing events. It was amazing to spend some time in The Hamptons with my own brand this time. I loved getting to know people and sharing Delola. It was incredible feedback and everyone was extremely supportive and curious.
Delola will definitely be back next summer to host some more fun events and pouring opportunities.
What do we have to look forward to in the future with Delola?
MARRERO: There is a lot in store for Delola in the future and we can’t wait to share all of the fun and exciting developments with our brand. Delola was created for all seasons and we’re excited to keep sharing Delola throughout the fall and winter months. For Thanksgiving and the holidays, we have some exciting giveaways and food pairings we plan to highlight. I will be spending more time traveling the country connecting with my industry and sharing Delola with many new communities.