Serious stirring and shaking is about to happen, thanks to the Texas return of Speed Rack, the all-female speed-bartending competition that raises money for breast cancer charities. The fourth national tour will make its first-ever stop in Dallas on Wednesday, January 14, bringing together the best, brightest and fastest female bartenders in the region and BUST will be part of the action.
The Dallas cocktail movement is booming and women are leading that movement. We chatted with Speed Rack Founders, Lynnette Marrero and Ivy Mix and competitors Haydee Hernandez, Kiyoko Kinoshita and Simone Springer (the triple threat representing Midnight Rambler) who shared some misconceptions about lady barkeeps.
The judging panel features such leading cocktail-world luminaries as Alba Huerta (owner and head bartender Julep Houston), Matt McCallister (executive chef and owner of FT33 and 2014 Food & Wine Best New Chef), and Chad Solomon (owner of Midnight Rambler), who also shared their favorite places to imbibe.
What do you think is the future of the cocktail culture in Dallas?
ALBA: I think beautiful things emerge from a strong sense of place and community and the bar scene in Dallas is definitely that. They are incredibly supportive of one another and always answer to the call of charity. They’re a community filled with creative, energetic individuals who are forward thinking and looking to collaborate on projects and ideas.
HAYDEE: Dallas has come a long way in the past few years; the craft cocktail has caught on and is past being a trend with people venturing out of Vodka and Redbull. The future of the cocktail culture I think is a thirst for more… unfamiliar spirits, layers to the pallet that one would not usually be considered as a cocktail.
What are you looking forward to the most about judging Speed Rack Dallas?
CHAD: I’m looking forward to seeing the best female bartenders in Dallas showcase their skills. Speed Rack has been a tremendous galvanizing force in the industry, while raising money for an important cause, so I’m pleased to support.
IVY: Texas has always lived up to being big in personality and fund raising and we’re super excited to see where it goes this year. I am particularly excited to see so many new faces and the next generation of female bartenders in the competition. Every time I go to Texas I fall a little bit in love.
Let’s say we sauntered up to your bar and asked you to make me your favorite drink on the current menu here. What would you choose?
ALBA: I would chouse the Burnt Spiced Julep at Julep in Houston. It’s my favorite cocktail that lights an overproof rum soaked tea ball filled with the 3 spices used in a Tom and Jerry (allspice, clove, cinnamon) combined with the elements of a Jersey lighthouse and done in a Julep style. Because in Texas it’s usually warm enough outside that we want to drink both a boozy and refreshing drink at the same time.
HAYDEE: A favorite!?? That’s hard to pin point because they each have their own flavor that distinguishes them from one another. I think if I really had to choose it would be the Knight Marcher at Mindnight Rambler. The knight Marcher has components that like I said before are the future of cocktail culture. And not to mention the presentation and the look on the guest’s face when I place their cocktail in front of them.
What is the most common misconception about lady barkeeps?
HAYDEE: That female bartenders should be at home “tending to the cradle” and not behind the bar. Having kids of my own “if I had a $1” for every person that asked me how my family felt about my career choice… People need to get over it.
SIMONE: That we can’t make a good whiskey cocktail. Or just can’t keep up with the boys.
KIYOKO: I feel as though women in the industry are underestimated in our ability to craft an amazing cocktail. Maybe people think that our idea of a great cocktail is something overly sweet containing lots of mixers and garnished with something that came out of a fruit bowl. I love surprising customers with my skill and knowledge of my craft. Women have to be equally good if not better than the guys in this cocktail scene and I believe that we are not just pretty faces… We can serve you up a damn good drink as well!
Where do you like to drink in Dallas?
ALBA: There are so many great spots. Old favorites like Victor Tangos, Black Swan Saloon, Bolsa and the Standard Pour. And new favorites like Proof and Pantry and Midnight Rambler. But honestly, the best thing to do is to ask your bartender. They will always point you in the right direction.
LYNNETTE: I cannot wait to visit some old time favorites like the Windmill!
IVY: I love classic Texas bars. Bring me anywhere I can 2-step and I’ll be happy.
Additional information can be found on the Speed Rack website www.speed-rack.com , on Facebook http://www.facebook/speedrackinfo and on Twitter @speed_rack. Check out the antics at last year’s regional heats by visiting: http://www.speed-rack.com/videos.
WHAT: Speed Rack Dallas
WHERE: Life in Deep Ellum Cultural Center, 2803 Taylor Street, Dallas, Texas, 75226
WHEN: Wednesday, January 14, 2015, at 6:00PM
Photos courtesy of Speed Rack.