Chow Town

Vote early, vote often to bring Speed Rack to KC

Updated: 2013-10-09T17:28:27Z

By ANNE BROCKHOFF

Kansas City’s come into its own as a drinks destination in recent years, and major events like The Big Central Regional Barista Competition in January, Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival in August and a long list of beer festivals have all burnished that image.

Now we’ve got a chance to bring another to town — a Speed Rack regional competition.

Speed Rack was created by and for female bartenders. Not only does it showcase women’s skills behind the bar, it’s raised more than $150,000 for charities devoted to breast cancer education and prevention since its inception in 2011.

“Leave it to women — they didn’t just put together an intense competition. They multitasked and made it a charity drive for breast cancer,” said Paige Unger of Extra Virgin, who won the regional competition in St. Louis last May. “It just so happens also to be an awesome event to attend.”

Attending Speed Rack here in Kansas City isn’t a done deal, though. Regional competitions have already been slated for Seattle, San Francisco, San Diego, Austin, Chicago, Miami and New York. The tour’s final stop is still wide open and will be decided by what Speed Rack calls a Wildcard City Brawl, or in more mundane terms, online voting.

Kansas City’s so far edged ahead of other destinations, but there’s still a long way to go until voting closes on Oct. 31. Until then, you can vote daily online at the Speed Rack Wildcard City Brawl website.

Bringing Speed Rack here would undoubtedly give our hometown women an edge in what’s known to be one of the most demanding competitions out there. Competitors make a round of cocktails randomly picked from a list of standard recipes that are then judged on accuracy, taste, presentation and, of course, speed.

Regional winners then compete in the finals in New York, giving them a national stage on which to strut their stuff. Who wouldn’t want to vote for that?

Anne Brockhoff is an award-winning spirits writer who writes a monthly column for The Star’s Food section, as well as food features. She blogs at food_drink_ life.wordpress.com .

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