File Under Hot Dates: Speed Rack is Back!

Erin Reece, Miss Speed Rack 2013.

Erin Reece, Miss Speed Rack 2013.

Some of NYC’s fastest female bartenders will go shaker to shaker on Sunday, Dec. 15 for the third season of Speed Rack. The annual competition, which kicks off in NYC and tours nationally, was founded by industry vets Lynnette Marrero and Ivy Mix to raise funds for breast cancer research. (They have raised $160,000 to date!) Contestants from bars such as Raines Law Room and Mayahuel will compete in timed heats to make rounds of cocktails in front of a panel of judges featuring cocktail pros such as Julie Reiner (owner of Flatiron Lounge and Clover Club), Dave Wondrich (cocktail historian and writer), Jim Meehan (co-owner of PDT) and Aisha Sharpe (cocktail consultant). The New York winner will go on to face other regional winners in a national throw-down in May of 2014. Not only do attendees get to support this amazing cause and lady bartending, they also receive complimentary punch throughout the evening as well as treats from local food vendors. Sunday, Dec. 15, 4 p.m. at Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 North 6th St., Brooklyn. $30.

File Under: Hot Dates

Ladies, start your engines.

Ladies, start your engines.

  • Like the bosses they are, the ladies behind Speed Rack are hosting their national finals on Thursday, May 16 in the East Village. The fastest, most talented female bartenders in the top 10 cocktail cities (as well as six “wildcard” contestants who won online votes) will go shaker-to-shaker for an esteemed judging panel and live audience to crown Miss Speed Rack USA 2013. Guests who attend will see 100 percent of their $30 ticket go toward breast cancer research while witnessing Iron Chef-style throwdown and sipping all the complimentary cocktails and neat spirits they can drink. Not only does the champion earn bragging rights and the respect of her industry peers (judges include Dale DeGroff, Julie Reiner and Audrey Saunders), she’ll also get a trip for two to Paris, tour the Cointreau Bartender Academie, and receive a B.A.R. (Beverage Alcohol Resource) scholarship. Speed Rack, created by Lynnette Marrero and Ivy Mix, and produced in collaboration with CBLLC, has raised nearly $150,000 for breast cancer charities. For more information on Speed Rack, go here, and for tickets to the finals, click here. Thursday, May 16, 6 to 10 p.m., Element Nightclub, 225 East Houston Street.
  • It’s almost that time again–revelers are gearing up for the 2013 edition of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, May 17 to 21. While regular admission for the opening night gala is sold out, VIP tickets remain for the veritable prom of the cocktail industry, which at $295-$395 get you four hours of endless drinks (are 25,000 cocktails enough to choose from?). Many of the tastings and educational sessions are also sold out by now, but tickets still remain for events such as a decadent afternoon of chocolate and cocktail pairings; a Culinary Tour of Lower Manhattan with Oban, Talisker and Lagavulin; and the Indie Spirits Expo, a massive walk-around tasting of small-batch spirits. Prepare the hangover remedies now, folks.


    Bottoms up! The Manhattan Cocktail Classic is around the corner.

File Under: Hot Dates

Photo by John Walder.

Well, well, well–you didn’t forget about us, now, did you? Nothing like a hurricane to free up some much-needed catch-up time. First things first, The Dizzy Fizz is tickled plaid to announce The 3rd Annual Holiday Spirits Bazaar, blitzing into NYC’s Astor Center on Saturday, Nov. 17.

This year there are two sessions available to sip and savor the festive flavors of the season. Choose the afternoon session (1:00 – 4:00 p.m.) for some rollicking daytime tippling, or roll into the evening session (7:00 – 10:00 p.m.) for a Mad Men-style cocktail bash. At both sessions, you can pair your dazzling libations with gourmet cheese and charcuterie from Brooklyn cheesemongers Stinky Bklyn and stay refreshed with Perrier sparkling water. General admission tickets are $45, and you can use the code EARLYBIRD to save a cool $10 before Nov. 1, while supplies last!

Sponsors include: Maker’s Mark, Pierre Ferrand Cognac, Don Q Rum, Catdaddy Moonshine, Bulleit Bourbon, Death’s Door Spirits, Ardbeg, Greenhook Ginsmiths, The Black Grouse, G’Vine Gin, Caliche Rum, Four Roses Bourbon, Molinari Sambuca, Rhum Clement, Kansas Clean Distilled Whiskey, Cockspur Rum, Iceberg Vodka, Sorel Hibiscus Liqueur, Cacao Prieto, Half Moon Orchard Gin, George Dickel Tennessee Whisky, Don Julio Tequila, Philadelphia Distilling, Becherovka, The Balvenie, Monkey Shoulder, Hudson Whiskey, Heavenly Spirits and more! A portion of proceeds will benefit the Children’s Aid Society of New York. Must be 21+ to attend. For more information, please visit:

And once all this hurricane hoopla dies down, don’t miss your chance to support the ladies of Speed Rack, returning to NYC at Santos Party House on Sunday, Nov. 4. The best lady bartenders in NYC will face off round-robin style in timed challenges for the title of Miss Speed Rack. All proceeds from the event support breast cancer research.

Sponsors include: Absolut Vodka, Barritt’s ginger beer, Beefeater Gin, Benedictine, Brugal Rum, Campari, Cherry Heering, Coffee Heering, Cointreau, Cutty Sark, Drambuie, Four Roses, Harpoon Brewery, Haus Alpenz, Hine Cognac, Jameson, Lillet, Luxardo, Macchu Pisco, Martini & Rossi, Olmeca Altos Tequila, Perfect Puree, Perrier, Plymouth Gin, St. Germain, Xante and more! Visit for more information.

Elsewhere in the Liquiverse…

Boston bartender Jackson Cannon chimes in on the Painkiller debate via Eastern Standard's cocktail menu.

  • While I was on a gin tour in London last week (recap coming soon), I missed the dramatic unfolding of a legal tussle between Pusser’s Rum and Painkiller tiki bar. By now, you’ve probably heard that Painkiller decided to change its name to PKNY and give up its web domain after Pusser’s filed a federal lawsuit over its ownership of a trademark for the drink named “Painkiller.” Furthermore, the rum company says all drinks called Painkillers must be made with Pusser’s. (Painkiller/PKNY was not using Pusser’s in its Painkillers.) News of the litigation led to an uproar among the cocktail community, which found such aggression by a brand over a small bar to be distasteful and a bad PR move. To make matters worse, Pusser’s founder Charles Tobias responded to the criticism with a statement mentioning the brand’s intent to market ready-to-drink Painkillers “in a can.” For more insight into the legality of all this, read Payman Bahmani’s post on Umamimart. At any rate, be sure to continue enjoying your favorite cocktails and favorite bars, whether they are trademarked or not.
  • Last night kicked off the inaugural NYC Cocktail Week, sponsored by Sixteen cocktail bars in the city (see the full list here) have created a special Cocktail Week menu offering two drinks plus an appetizer for $20.11. If that doesn’t make you feel better about your lushy habits, a portion of proceeds from the event, running through June 29, benefits City Harvest and the Museum of the American Cocktail.
  • Last Sunday, members of LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails) gathered at Astor Center for a competition and breast cancer fundraiser titled “Speed Rack.” Sixteen female bartenders vied to make cocktails as fast as possible (different drinks were announced each round, including the Ramos Gin Fizz), and they were also judged on the quality of their drinks. Yael Vengroff of PKNY took first place and will compete against other finalists from around the country at Tales of the Cocktail 2012.
  • Wondering why you haven’t seen as many Dizzy posts lately? I recently started writing a daily drinking column over at Don’t worry, I’ll still keep things fresh for you here, I’m just getting adjusted to the new schedule!