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Speed Rack
Photograph: Courtesy of Speed Rack

Boozy Speed Rack bartending competition comes to NYC this month

Sixteen contestants will duke it out on Roosevelt Island September 20

Amber Sutherland-Namako
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Amber Sutherland-Namako
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A worldwide bartending competition for womxn+ will shake and stir things up at the Graduate Hotel Roosevelt Island this month.

The ninth edition of Speed Rack gathers bar professionals from all over the country to compete in boozy feats in front of a crowd emboldened by alcohol to cheer and jeer. This year, sixteen hopefuls will battle for the tipple title. 

Contenders were selected from a pool of online applicants, all vying for the chance to test their cocktail mettle. Each had to win regional finals for the chance to compete in NYC. Locals Natasha Bermudez from Llama San and Yolanda Baez from Broken Shaker are among the 16.

Here, they’ll each be tasked with crafting four cocktails. Drinks will be assigned at random, plucked from 50 possible standards like Manhattans, sidecars and daiquiris. Contestants will be evaluated on criteria including presentation, taste and accuracy. (So no “takes” here!). This year’s announced judges are Pouring Ribbons’ Joaquín Simó and Clover Club’s Julie Reiner. By the end of the evening only one expert cocktailer will emerge as Speed Rack Champion, 2021. 

Speed Rack began in 2011 as a collaboration between award winning celebritish bartenders Lynnette Marrero and Ivy Mix to raise money for breast cancer research. It has gathered more than $1.25 million to date. This year’s edition is part of global Tales of the Cocktail conference programming. You can view the recorded competition at 3pm on August 23 via the conference site. 

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