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rack 'em!

Houston's best female bartenders shake up this killer cocktail competition

Houston's best female bartenders shake up this killer cocktail contest

Speed Rack bartending contest
Speed Rack stars some of Houston's best female bartenders.  Speed Rack/Facebook
Speed Rack Texas 2017 Elyse Blechman
Houston's Elyse Blechman nearly went all the way in 2017. Photo by Photographs By Emily Jaschke
Speed Rack Texas 2017 Sarah Troxell Nobie's
Sarah Troxell of Nobie's will again stir it up. Photo by Photographs By Emily Jaschke
Chris Shepherd crop
Chris Shepherd will serve as judge.  Photo by Julie Soefer
Ninfa's on Navigation Alba Huerta
Judge Alba Huerta of Anvil.  Courtesy photo
Kam_Franklin_Greg_Noire
Suffers star Kam Franklin will also judge.  Greg Noire
Speed Rack bartending contest
Speed Rack Texas 2017 Elyse Blechman
Speed Rack Texas 2017 Sarah Troxell Nobie's
Chris Shepherd crop
Ninfa's on Navigation Alba Huerta
Kam_Franklin_Greg_Noire

The region's best female bartenders will get a chance to show off their shaking, stirring, and mixing skills at Speed Rack, the all-female bartending competition, which is going down on Monday, January 28.

Founded in 2011, Speed Rack tours the country, giving up-and-coming bartenders a chance to show off their behind-the-bar talents, as well as provide them an opportunity to network with other female bartenders from other regions. It has also raised over $850,000 for breast cancer prevention, treatment and awareness.

This year, 100 percent of ticket sales will be donated to charities that support this research. “We’re very passionate about the number of different charities that we support in cities across the U.S., not to mention around the world, as we continue to grow, and are excited to be so close to our longtime goal of $1 million raised for charity” says co-founder Lynnette Marrero in a statement.

This organization doesn't just stick to the States. Last year, the Rack traveled to Canada for a third season, as well as made its debut in Australia. “Going into our eighth year of Speed Rack, we’re so excited to continue growing this community across the globe,” says co-founder Ivy Mix. “What started out as an idea to give female bartenders a space to thrive in a male-dominated industry has grown into this incredible network, where women from around the world are able to connect and support each other both in and out of the industry, and that’s something we’re really proud to be a part of.”

As for this upcoming competition, 25 bartenders from across the South Central region are scheduled to battle it out, vying for one of the eight positions that will move on to nationals, taking place in Chicago next May. There are three representing H-Town: Sarah Davies of Tiny Boxwoods, Zulco Rodriguez of Anvil Bar & Refuge and Sarah Troxell of Nobie's. The libations will be judged by Tales of the Cocktail executive director Caroline Nabors Rosen, Underbelly Hospitality owner/chef Chris Shepherd, Julep owner Alba Huerta and The Suffers lead vocalist Kam Franklin.

This event will most likely be a blast for all who attend, from the bartenders who'll be front-and-center to the spectators who'll be taking in the entertainment as well as punch provided by the event’s sponsors and bites from local eateries.

But the founders want people to remember that this is still for a good cause. Says Marrero, "The competition is always exciting, and we love seeing the hard work and creativity behind the bar from the Speed Rack competitors every year, but at the end of the day our mission is to spread awareness and support research to ultimately end this disease that so many of us have been touched by in one way or another.”  

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Speed Rack's South Central Competition gets shaking on Monday, January 28, at The Houston Event Venue, 3118 Harrisburg Blvd. 6 pm-10 pm. Tickets are $25 ($30 at the door). For more information, visit the official site.