Speed Rack final features all-women bartenders

The Speed Rack contestants, eight of which will be showing off their skills in the final.

Speed Rack, the global all-women bartending competition that has raised more than $1.25 million dollars in the fight against breast cancer, is making its debut in the Cayman Islands at Lillie’s Nightclub on Thursday, 21 Oct.

Bringing together eight competitors from across the Cayman Islands who previously qualified to advance to the finals, these top bartenders will duke it out round-robin style, seeing who can shake the fastest and best cocktails for a panel of renowned judges. With assessments made based on a strict set of criteria, the winner of the contest will be named The Speed Rack Cayman Islands Champion.

“The response to Speed Rack Cayman Islands has been absolutely mind-blowing,” said event organiser Amba Lamb. “After competing in so many bar and cocktail competitions and seeing how few women were represented, this felt like the perfect way to bring our up-and-coming, bada** female bartenders into the spotlight and give them a stronger sense of community and support in our industry.”

Due to an abundance of safety, the event will host a limited number of guests and abide by COVID safety guidelines as instructed by the local government. For those who want to follow along virtually, the championship event will be broadcast via Speed Rack’s YouTube Channel.

Looking for a champion
Eight outstanding bartenders — listed below — from all across the islands were selected via online applications, based on merit and skillset, then invited to compete in the preliminary competition, where they each qualified to advance to the Top 8. Now, on 21 Oct., the top eight will compete in the Speed Rack Cayman Islands Finals to test not only their speed but also their aptitude.

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Each competitor will make a round of cocktails selected at random, culled from a list of 50 spirit industry-standard recipes, which will then be evaluated based on accuracy, taste, and presentation. The swiftest and most skilled bartenders will move forward to the next round — the final showdown, where the winner will be crowned the champion.

A global bartending competition by women, for women
Speed Rack, founded by USA industry veterans Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero in 2011, is the first global competition of its kind to highlight the bar industry’s leading women, with 100% of the proceeds going directly to breast cancer education, prevention, and research. The Speed Rack Cayman Islands Championship competition has partnered with The Cayman Islands Breast Cancer Foundation, a non-profit organisation committed to raising awareness of the fight against breast cancer while providing local practitioners with specialised training and equipment.

Speed Rack judges
Amba Lamb: Cayman Islands Diageo Brand Ambassador of Jacques Scott
Simon Crompton: Owner and Manager of Door No. 4
Freya Palesch: Manager of Macabuca and Cracked Conch
Maureen Cubbon: Owner/Chef of Zest and Bestlife

Speed Rack finalists
Bre Kay: George Town Yacht Club
Dani Parker: Bàcaro
Khristi Jairam: George Town Yacht Club
Linnea Holmund: The Bird
Lo Wolkowski: Legendz
Tania Gagnon: KARoo
Val Balignasay: Ms. Piper’s
Yuli Sanchez: Backroom

Tickets are $25 for the finals and can be bought online at EventPro here.

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