The ladies of LUPEC (that’s Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails, for the uninitiated) took Speed Rack on the road this weekend for a pitstop in Boston at the Villa Victoria Center for the Arts.
What’s Speed Rack, you say? It’s a national cocktail competition founded by LUPEC New York’s Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero, featuring some of the top “lady mixologists” in the country (that’s the “rack” part), who are pitted against each other in head-to-head timed challenges (that’s the “speed” part), and subsequently judged on timing and taste. The Boston heat, the largest yet, was judged by Misty Kalkofen, mixologist-extraordinaire from Drink and president of the Boston chapter of LUPEC, Jackson Cannon of Eastern Standard and Island Creek Oyster Bar, Liza Weisstuch a spirits and cocktail journalist, and Christopher Myers, co-owner of Radius, Via Matta and Myers + Chang.
Eight ladies saddled up to shake some drinks, but after a heated contest and more than a little boozing, Kelly Unda (Harvest) faced Sabrina Kershaw (Citizen/Noir) in the final round — with Kershaw taking the win after a small upset. In a closely matched round Unda was awarded a harsh 30-second penalty for making what Weisstuch mistook for a shaken Manhattan (gasp!), but was in fact just too vigorously stirred. Kershaw will come to New York in May for a chance to compete in the National Speed Rack competition.
If women who make a mean cocktail super fast is your thing, be sure to catch the Speed Rack as it tours the country. It will be making stops in other cities with LUPEC Chapters including Portland, Oregon for Portland Cocktail Week (Oct. 23), Los Angeles (Nov. 13), and Washington DC (Dec. 4). In 2012 Speed Rack will travel to San Francisco, Houston, Denver, Las Vegas and Chicago, all with the goal of raising $75,000 for breast cancer charities, before the ultimate Miss Speed Rack is crowned in May 2012 at the national finals in NYC.