Tuesday, March 6, 2012

First-Ever 'Speed Rack' Comes To Chicago

Mea Leech (left) of The Drawing Room and Debbi Peek (Balena, The Bristol) are part of a national cocktail competition featuring only top female bartenders.

Well, this is a first.

The Drawing Room's Charles Joly will serve as the head barback for a pretty high-profile event happening soon at Bottom Lounge.

That's because Speed Rack is a national cocktail competition featuring only top female bartenders, who'll go head to head in timed challenges. It's the first competition to highlight the up-and-coming generation of women in the spirits industry.

This is Chicago's first year participating, and the list of contenders runs deep. It's certain to be one hell of a competition, and proceeds benefit breast cancer research and prevention. The Chicago winner gets $500 and the chance to compete in the New York finals on May 17.

The event takes place 3-7pm March 18, and the $25 ticket includes unlimited spiked punch and appetizers from Zapatista.

Here's the impressive list of participants:

Swing Into Spring’s Best 'Culinary' Cocktails

Nellcôte is one of several spots this spring embracing the "culinary" cocktail trend. (Photo: Nellcôte)

West Loop newcomer Nellcôte calls its creations "kitchen cocktails," while after-work favorite Fleming's recently introduced "couture cocktails" like the Mad Milagro Margarita to the menu.

Yeah, they're fancy and fabulous, and lucky for you, they don't all come with a high price tag.

To find out the latest in cocktail trends, see my latest story at DiningChicago.com.