Speed Rack Seattle: Booze & Babes for a Cause

Cocktail shakers, boobs, and the floor of the Century Ballroom were shakin’ in Capitol Hill Sunday night, as female bartenders from all over the Northwest competed in a head-to-head battle for the coveted Miss Speed Rack Seattle title. The national event also raised money for breast cancer education, prevention, and research.

The judges’ panel included famed New York City mixologist and co-owner of the Pegu Club, Audrey Saunders; cocktail expert and co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail, Robert Hess; host and president of Kathy Casey’s Liquid Kitchen, Kathy Casey; and finally, owner and bartender at Rob Roy, Anu Apte.

Each of the four judges picked one drink for two competing ladies to make under a timed clock. After tasting, the judges added penalty seconds based on execution and technique. “I’m an asshole when it comes to daiquiris, and this bitch is good,” said Saunders of Rob Roy’s resident bartender, Kathleen.

Called the “roller derby of cocktail competitions,” the event also served as an educational experience for those unfamiliar with, say, the difference between dry and sweet Vermouth and the “true beauty of a Cosmopolitan.”

“Yours was more maraschino-forward and yours was more citrus-forward, but both were very good,” said Casey while comparing two Hemingway Daiquiris.
The judge’s palates were precise and did not let an extra dash of bitters slip by. But despite judges’ critique, this was not a sobering event. The entire crowd slammed back shots in unison to celebrate Anu’s birthday; Beckaly from Portland’s Clyde Common danced onstage to Ludacris’ “Get Back”; and ladies in rollerblades shimmied around the room selling raffle tickets to support the cause.

Lacy from Luc Lac Vietnamese Kitchen in Portland, OR walked away with the crown and will compete in NYC for the overall title. One hundred percent of the proceeds from each event go towards the fight against breast cancer.