Former Rattler mixes it up

LaTanya White knows what people like to drink and how they like to drink it. She has perfected the craft of bartending and knows it’s much more to it than simply pouring liquor over ice.

She said she got started in 2006 when she bartended a party, which led to her wanting to get involved. She enrolled in a bartending training class in Tampa and her passion for mixing drinks emerged.

White is an entrepreneur that is literally shaking things up in the spirits and luxury hospitality industry with her business, 71 Proof, LLC.

As stated in a release from White’s publicity company, PickettPR, she is widely known for catering and helping at social events and parties. Her company provides bar catering services, bartender training and specialty beverage creations.

She has been featured in Essence magazine, Night Club & Bar magazine, Food Arts magazine, Tampa Bay CEO Lounge, Conde Nast Traveler magazine and the St. Petersburg Times.

She was selected among the crop of Mixology Consultants for Grand Marnier and Navan in 2008 and she participated in the Cocktail Apprentice Program for the 6th Annual Tales of the Cocktail Celebration in New Orleans.

According to the release, she was also recently recognized as one of the Top 25 Women You Need To Know in Tallahassee.

“The Top 25 Women You Need To Know” is a designation that is conferred by the Tallahassee Democrat,” White said. “2009 is the year that the awards have been given and it is in conjunction with Women’s History Month.”

White said there were nearly 150 nominations for the list but a selection committee made up of previous winners of the “Top 25 Women” made the final decision.

“This year the group was made up of teachers, ministers, elected officials and other business owners,” she said.

Her success and popularity comes from different places, but her relationship with her publicist definitely helps. They have a sisterhood connecting them, along with their business partnership.

“I own PickettPR Group in Tampa and I meet a lot of people at various events and networking functions,” Keisha Pickett, White’s publicist said. ” We are actually sorority sisters in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated. We built our relationship and decided to work together.”

Not only does the correct representation help White and her credibility, but her charm goes a long way, too.

“What I’m known for in the industry, no matter where I go, is my personality and disposition,” White said. ” People always seem to remember my smile. I want to be known for being the most savvy hospitality business owner anywhere.”

White also thinks it’s important to give back and help the community she learned so much from.

“I’m setting a good example for our generation,” she said. “We can create them. I would love to pay it forward by creating the type of environment they need to continue to contribute to the economic development of the community.”

White said her next business endeavor, Concept Creative Hospitality Group, will be a portfolio of hospitality companies. She said it be comprised of five businesses that produce eight revenue streams, including conference centers and meeting spaces and an upscale cocktail lounge.

And what better to serve than White’s original tropical beverage, Caribbean Gold. She said it is made with Grand Marnier, Star Fruit puree, Passion Fruit Juice, egg white, and topped with edible gold.

White is a 2003 MBA graduate of Florida A&M University’s School of Business and Industry and is near completion for the Wine, Spirits and Beverage Management degree offered by the Art Institute of Tampa.

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