Speed Rack

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This past Sunday evening I attended the Speed Rack season 5 National finals. Speed Rack is an organization that promotes women bartenders, this event is a multi city contest to find the nations fastest women bartender and crown her Ms Speed Rack 2016.

The competition featured eight wild card contestants who participated in timed heats of rounds of cocktails to be judged by cocktail celebrities.

The event that evening also raised money for breast cancer research, so pink was the color of choice throughout the venue including the speed rack logos on the t-shirts, which some might say was a double entendre.

The event was held at the over 100 year old nightclub, concert venue and event space, Webster Hall located at 125 East 11th Street in the East Village, Manhattan. To accompany the competition, two levels of the club were filled with spirit companies serving their products and assorted cocktails.

I stopped by the Luxardo table whose claim to fame is a two century old liquor made from Maraschino cherries, and tried some of their other products which included Aperitivo, an herb and citrus based liquor, and the Fernet Amaro, another dark, intense herb based liquor.


Some of the cocktails I sampled:


St-Germain Cocktail: Processco, St-Germain, club soda.

Lady Reign: Bacardi Maestro, Bacardi 8, apricot brandy, pineapple juice, lime juice, angostura bitters.

Four Roses Cooler: Four Roses bourbon, honey syrup, lemon juice, grapefruit juice, angostura bitters.

Welcome Home: Beefeater gin, apple juice, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup, yellow Chartreuse, velvet Falernum.

English Channel Collins: Plymouth gin, Lillet rouge, fresh lemon juice.

Paradise City: Absolute vodka, spiced Aperol, fresh lemon juice, soda.

Moscow Mule: Absolute vodka, ginger beer, fresh lemon juice.

Exonoration: Singani 63, perfect purée prickly pear, ginger syrup, lime juice, Perrier.

The Grand Life Punch: Kappa pisco, Grand Marnier raspberry peach, lemon juice, bubbles, berries.

Double Dr Punch: Highwest double rye, pomegranate juice, date syrup, lemon juice, orange flower water, mint.

Do Lally Ditty: Jameson Black Barrel, honey, sauvignon blanc, apple juice, fresh lime juice, mango green tea.




Boco Resort Cocktail Party

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This past Sunday afternoon, the Bowery Collective which holds cocktail themed events during the year, held their first annual Boco Resort cocktail festival featuring over 50 types of Summertime cocktails. In preparation for Summer drinking they wanted us “to rethink the margarita and show how brown spirits can work in the sun” using brown spirits in cocktails that traditionally use white spirits such as rum, tequila and vodka. Works for me. The event which was held at the ever trendy Bowery Hotel on 335 Bowery in Manhattan and was held on the second floor terrace event space. I’ve been to many cocktail and wine events at this space and with an outdoor terrace and a hunting lodge motif, makes for a fun event space

There were many booths featuring brown as well as white spirits with mixologists creating various incarnations of Summer cocktails including fruity drinks with umbrellas!. Out in the terrace there was a guy with a buzz saw slicing (empty) rum bottles. It seems that Monkey Rum designs its bottles so that they can be reused as a drinking glass.

After a glass of Fernet Branca to start the day, I sampled many cocktails and whiskeys. With a reggae band playing in the background, followed by a DJ spinning tunes, a good time was had by all.




Wine On The High Seas

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Just got back from a cruise vacation. I took a week off and ended up at the port of Miami boarding the Norwegian Cruise Lines ship the “Escape” for a week long cruise that took me to the  U. S. and British Virgin Island and Nassau, Bahamas.  The Escape is a state of the art mega-ship launched last year, at over a 1,000 feet long with 4,000+ passengers and a 1,700+ crew, it’s a mini city on water. To accommodate all of those guests are 28 Bars and Restaurants including a wine bar. That wine bar is  “The Cellars” a Michael Mondavi family wine bar. It’s a small nook on the bar floor of the ship where I spent some time chatting with Rodrigo, the Wine Steward while drinking some juice. They also had one of those wine pouring machines in the café if you wanted a glass of wine with your buffet.


Some of what I drank during my cruise:

2014 Marques de Riscal Verdejo (Rueda)

2010 Godelia Mencia (Bierzo). Dark red with a purple robe, roasted meat and bacon with camphor on the end, concentrated with slate notes on the fruit and chewy tannin.

2013 Estancia Pinot Noir (Monterey). Medium red, strawberry jam and black cherry on the nose with some earth notes, strawberry fruit with crisp acidity.

2013 Estancia Meritage (Paso Robles). A Bordeaux blend, dark red to amber with a perfume of crushed dark berries and camphor, silky mint notes on the fruit with firm acidity.


I attended a seminar on Riedel glasses and how wines are enhanced with the proper glass.

Pinot Noir glass served with the 2012 Louis Jadot Pinot Noir (Burgundy)

Syrah glass served with the 2013 Spellbound Petite Sirah (California)

Cabernet Sauvignon glass served with the 2013 Wente Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon “Southern Hills” . (Livermore Valley).