Touring Female Bartender Competition Raises Funds for Breast Cancer

Suspenders? No. Arm garters? Pass. Mustache? Think again. Girl power? Yes! Get your jiggers and shakers ready for the return of Speed Rack, the all-female speed-bartending competition that raises money for breast cancer. The sixth national tour kicks-off on November 14, 2016 in the United States and travels to eight regions – Midwest in Chicago, New York in New York City, Northwest in Seattle, California in San Francisco, Southeast in Atlanta, Texas in Houston, Northeast in Boston, and Southwest in Denver – before crowning a winner at the Speed Rack U.S. Finals in New York in May 2017. In six years, Speed Rack has held nearly 50 competitions, including two successful competitions in the U.K., and launched in Canada, making Speed Rack the largest network for female bartenders reaching more than 600 women each year and raising thousands of dollars for breast cancer research.

Equal parts spectator sport, cocktail bonanza, and charity fundraiser, Speed Rack is the brainchild of two of the cocktail world’s leading ladies, Lynnette Marrero and Ivy Mix, who were named two of the “Most Innovative Women in Food & Drink” by Food & Wine and Fortune magazines in 2015, and recently nominated for Wine Enthusiast’s 2016 Wine Star Award as “Mixologists of the Year.” Founded in 2011, Speed Rack has raised more than $500,000 globally for charities supporting breast cancer research, and the top female bartenders in America and abroad who go shaker-to-shaker competing for industry glory and the Miss Speed Rack USA crown.

“Speed Rack has created a community for badass female bartenders across the country and despite being a cutthroat competition, it has boosted their careers in a heavily male-dominated industry,” says Ivy Mix. “Combining speed, agility, accuracy, bar smarts and literally blood, sweat and tears, Speed Rack slaps down the notion that bartending is solely a man’s world. The culture of Speed Rack is also aggressively charitable, which is our motivation for creating a drink-making competition that not only shapes the next generation of women behind the stick, but also gives back in a big way.”

The 2016/17 Speed Rack Tour Schedule

Speed Rack Midwest – Chicago – Monday, November 14, 2016
Speed Rack New York – New York – Monday, December 12, 2016
Speed Rack Northwest – Seattle – Sunday, January 8, 2017
Speed Rack California – San Francisco – Sunday, January 29, 2017
Speed Rack Southeast – Atlanta – Sunday, February 12, 2017
Speed Rack Texas – Houston – Sunday, February 19, 2017
Speed Rack Northeast – Boston – Sunday, March 5, 2017
Speed Rack Southwest – Denver – Sunday, March 26, 2017
Speed Rack National Finals – New York City – May 21, 2017

Participants in Speed Rack go through a grueling selection process: After an online application and preliminary in-person cocktail battles, 20 semi-finalists per city are whittled down to eight. Then the true fight begins. Contestants compete in timed heats to make rounds of cocktails, culled from a list of 50 accepted industry-standard classic recipes, in front of a panel of judges and a crowd of excited viewers. Judges rate each drink based on time, temperature, flavor balance, appearance, and accuracy. The United States judging panel includes cocktail world luminaries such as Julie Reiner, Dale DeGroff, Paul Mcgee, and David Wondrich, celebrated writers and culinary authorities such as top food and drink editor Kate Krader, and notable chefs such as Josh Habiger.

The finalists from each city will join Speed Rack Founders Lynnette Marrero and Ivy Mix for an educational trip to both the Jameson Distillery in Ireland and the Altos Distillery in Arandas, Mexico. Each visit will include an opportunity to see the distilling process up close from agave to glass and grain to glass. The founding partners of BAR (Beverage Alcohol Resource) will reward Miss Speed Rack USA, crowned at the Speed Rack U.S. Finals, a scholarship to its five-day program. The grand prizes will be announced at each event. Charity beneficiaries to date have included SHARE Cancer Support, National Breast Cancer Foundation, Susan G Love, The Helen David Foundation, and others. Additional information can be found at #backtherack