SpeedRack-logo-finalThere’s an energetic bond in the bartending community I admire from the sidelines and safety of my home bar. In the trenches (between humiliating each other with surprise forced-servings of Smirnoff Ice, ass-grabbing, and dick-punching), these men and women challenge each other to greater perfection and creativity, continually reassess what it means to be a good host, stick up for each other when stiffed on tips, and rally generously when one of their own is hurting (witness the amazing outpouring of support for Murray Stenson). It was no surprise to me when it was reported that many first responders to Hurricane Sandy weren’t Red Cross or even local police and firefighters, but the New York chapter of the USBG, who dove right in to help with the cleanup.

Speed Rack is an organization near & dear to my heart: not only full of the aforementioned bartender energy, but specifically focused on celebrating the Girl Power segment of the community. By “Girl Power,” I mean those endearing and stunning qualities that shine brightest in the ladies: fearlessness, lightning skill, silliness, beauty, care, grace, and clutziness. They all come together at Speed Rack, a touring drinkmaking competition for female bartenders that benefits breast cancer research with 100% of their ticket sales. Everything else at the event is sponsored by generous brands and volunteers. Check out Imbibe’s profile of Speed Rack founders Lynnette Marrero and Ivy Mix as part of their “Imbibe 75” – highlighting the movers and shakers in the cocktail community.

At the event, lady bartenders challenge each other live on stage to make four drinks as quickly and as accurately as possible. They’re judged right then and there by well-known cocktail luminaries like Dale DeGroff, Audrey Saunders, Simon Ford, Hollis Bulleit, and Robert Hess, to name just a few. Fastest isn’t always best: penalty seconds are added for sloppiness, drinks that don’t taste good, or drinks that wind up on the floor. There’s a live DJ, plenty of libations, and energy for days. Each regional winner takes home a chunk of cash, bragging rights, and a chance at the National Finals , where Miss Speed Rack wins a trip to France courtesy of Rémy Cointreau.

Take a look at their website and see if there’s an event coming to your city soon. For a low price at the door, you’ll be treated to a variety of free drinks, a hell of a wild show, and the company of some of the finest people in the industry. Plus the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping out in the fight against breast cancer. If you can’t make it to an event, you can always donate any amount via the PayPal link at the top of their site. In their inaugural year, they raised over $69,000 for the National Breast Cancer Foundation and for SHARE. I’ve lost a couple friends to cancer the last few years, so it feels good to support Speed Rack whenever they roll into SoCal. Pitch in and become a part of this outstanding effort.

The boobs in your life will thank you.


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