The Tasting Panel magazine

July 2013

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Page 49 of 149

COMPETITIONS Emcee Chris Patino of Pernod Ricard with 2013 winner Eryn Reece. Racking Up Victory SPEED RACK CROWNS its 2013 CHAMPION by David Ransom / photos by Gabi Porter W The judging panel (left to right): Dale DeGroff, Julie Reiner, Johnny Iuzzini and Audrey Saunders. Speed Rack founders Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero. hat do you get when you put a couple hundred slightly over-served bartenders and spirits industry professionals from around the country in a downtown NYC nightclub with 16 female hopefuls, a sequin-jacketed emcee and a quartet of festively-dressed cocktail judges, some wearing pink bandanas on their heads? Well if it was Thursday, May 16, then it must have been the national finals of the Speed Rack competition, the women-only speed-bartending tournament started by industry veterans Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero. Speed Rack ( was founded in 2011 to help support and recognize women in the largely male-dominated bartending industry, while raising funds and awareness for breast cancer charities, a cause important to both founders. "There was immediate support within the community from both men and women, and we quickly realized we had a chance to make a difference," says Marrero, who is also a founding member and current President of the New York chapter of LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails), an organization dedicated to "preserving the recipes and integrity" of classic cocktails. "And, there is never an end to the need to raise money for breast cancer charities," adds Mix, one of Zagat's "30 under 30" top Bartenders in NYC in 2012. To date, Speed Rack has raised more than $150,000 for various breast cancer charities, including SHARE (, a New York City–based organization that offers peer-led support and advice to women facing breast and ovarian cancer. "SHARE is grateful for Speed Rack's invaluable fundraising support," said Executive Director Jacqueline Reinhard, "their passion and generosity is helping SHARE increase awareness of breast cancer and serve more women with resources, information, and hope." Adds industry veteran and breast cancer survivor Melanie Young, author of the soonto-be-released Getting Things Off My Chest: A Survivors Guide to Staying Fearless and Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer, "One out of every eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and research has shown a link between it and alcohol consumption. So, while we work in, love and support this industry, educating the women within on both fronts will only help all women in the end." This year's winner, Eryn Reece of NYC's Death & Co. and Mayahuel, took top honors, beating out 16 finalists chosen from more than 200 contestants who had entered regional contests in cities across the country. Her prize for being able to skillfully make four "Judges Choice" cocktails in about two minutes was a trip for two to Anjou, France, courtesy of Cointreau, to attend the Cointreau Bartenders Académie, and of course, the title of Miss Speed Rack 2013. 48  /  the tasting panel  /  july 2013 TP0713_034-65.indd 48 6/24/13 5:40 PM

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