The country’s top female bartenders went shaker-to-shaker 0n Sunday, May 21, at the Speed Rack National Finals held at Weylin in Brooklyn, competing for both industry glory and breast cancer research.
Mony Bunni (pictured atop), bartender at Chicago’s Boleo and The Kimpton Gray Hotel and Lustau Sherry Chicago Brand Ambassador, beat out her competitors in the shaking and stirring showdown. She earned the title of Miss Speed Rack USA 2017.
To date, Speed Rack has raised more than $550,000 for charities supporting breast cancer research.
Almost 200 bartenders across the country competed in Speed Rack regional heats held in eight of the top cocktail cities nationwide:– Chicago (Midwest), New York City (Northeast), Seattle (Northwest), San Francisco (California), Atlanta (Southeast), Houston (Texas), Boston (Northeast), and Denver (Southwest).
Eight finalists rose to the top and took the stage along with eight Wild Card winners to compete in heats to make rounds of cocktails culled from a list of 50 accepted industry-standard classic recipes.
The judging panel, which featured leading cocktail-world luminaries Alba Huerta (owner and head bartender, Julep Houston), Dale DeGroff (aka King Cocktail and author of The Craft of the Cocktail and The Essential Cocktail: Bitters, Books, and Recipes), Roxanne Spruance (chef and owner, Kingsley), and Dave Wondrich (cocktail historian and writer), rated each drink based on prep time and accuracy.
Jameson Irish Whiskey presented Miss Speed Rack USA 2017 with a grand prize to join Speed Rack Founders Lynnette Marrero and Ivy Mix for an educational trip to the Jameson Distillery in Ireland and represent the United States at the Jameson Bartender Ball, along with the Speed Rack winner in each tour city.
In addition, the founding Partners of BAR (Beverage Alcohol Resource) presented Miss Speed Rack USA 2017 with a scholarship to their five-day program.