Speed Rack is back. The cocktail competition that features top female bartenders in key markets and pits them head-to-head in timed challenges, is launching a 10-city tour to find the fastest female bartender in the United States while raising funds for breast cancer charities. The tour follows the inaugural Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC) Speed Rack competition in New York City in May. Participating bartenders are required to make a round of cocktails, culled from a list of 50 accepted industry standard recipes in front of a panel of judges, who will rate each drink based on prep time and accuracy. The judging panel includes Dale DeGroff, Julie Reiner, Audrey Saunders and hospitality leaders in each city. The tour kicks off in Boston on Oct. 10, then moves on to Portland, Los Angeles and Washington D.C. to close 2011. San Francisco, Houston, Denver, South Florida, Las Vegas and Chicago will host competitions in 2012 leading up to the ultimate Miss Speed Rack national finals next May. More information about Speed Rack and the competition, created by Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero of LUPEC NYC, can be found at www.speed-rack.com; to compete, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, so it’s not a surprise that more operations are taking note. Fleming's has selected a signature drink to highlight and raise funds for a related charity: the Stiletto, a 99-calorie cocktail on the new 5/6/7 menu. All of the proceeds from the sale of the drink will be donated to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. Maeve Pesquera, director of wine for the chain, created the drink (Hendrick’s Gin, fresh blackberries, lime juice and diet ginger ale).
Nightclub & Bar Magazine's 2012 Nightclub & Bar Awards program is accepting entries. “Launching the NCB Awards program is always an exciting time of year for us," says Donna Hood Crecca, Nightclub & Bar Publisher and Editorial Director. “The program allows us to recognize and applaud excellence in bar and nightclub concept development, operations, promotion, innovation and success achieved by some well-deserving operators.” Operators may nominate their own establishment or other venues they admire, and nominations also may be submitted by suppliers, vendors, wholesalers, consultants, DJs and allied industry professionals. Awards will honor the Bartender of the Year, Beer Bar of the Year, Cocktail Lounge of the Year, Hotel Bar of the Year, Small Wonder Bar of the Year, Sports Bar of the Year and Wine Bar of the Year. For details including category criteria and entry forms, visit the 2012 Nightclub & Bar Awards Website at www.nightclub.com/awards. The deadline for entries is Nov. 11, 2011.
Details of Portland Cocktail Week (Oct. 20–23) are set. Spirits fans also will be able to visit the simultaneously held Great American Distillers Festival. Thursday Opening Night at Wilf's at Union Station will channel mid-century glamour and classic cocktails starring Pernod Ricard's portfolio. Visit www.portlandcocktailweek.com for the complete schedule, locations and more details.
New York City bartender Kyle Ford won an all-expense paid trip for two to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, by winning the Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur second annual National Bartending Competition. The panel of judges — Dushan Zaric of Employees Only & Macao, “King Cocktail” Dale DeGroff, spirits writer David Wondrich, corporate mixologist at Sidney Frank Todd Richman and Aisha Sharpe of Contemporary Cocktails Inc. — based scores on taste, presentation, appearance, creativity and overall delivery. Here’s Ford’s drink, the SS Europa:
1 part Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur
2 parts Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth
3 dashes St. George absinthe
Stir for 20 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
The audience favorite award went to Erick Smith of Worcester, Mass. Competitors included Chad Arnholt, Boston; Christopher Martino, Washington D.C.; Colin Shearn, Philadelphia; and Burton Daniel: Boulder, Colo.
ABSOLUT has launched a search for America's Best Bloody Mary, and consumers have been invited to vote on recipes from bartenders from 50 states. After the consumer vote, leadin bartenders will compete in a NYC showdown finals – go to ABSOLUT's Facebook page to see the recipes and vote.
Josh Harris and Scott Baird, San Francisco-based bartenders and board members of San Francisco Cocktail Week, launched a successful campaign on Change.org to persuade Gov. Jerry Brown to sign a bill that would lift a nearly century-old ban on serving infused cocktails in California. Supporters of lifting the ban claimed the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control enforces the law randomly and with questionable tactics — all to raise revenue.
Bartenders frequently go uninsured; the Responsible Bartenders of America (RBA) wants to help. RBA is a professional restaurant/hospitality business association that unites bartenders, servers and other restaurant and food-service employees who serve alcohol on a single online platform with the goal of creating a unified voice to express RBA’s concerns on responsible serving and handling of alcohol and the influence on laws and regulations designed to protect bartenders, servers, managers and all foodservice, hospitality and entertainment entities that serve alcohol. Health and other insurances, employment listings, TIPS certification and more services are promised. The organization is getting off the ground now; contact firstname.lastname@example.org for info.