Tina Lesyk | March 31, 2019

I competed in my first Bartending competition. Speed Rack is a national cocktail competition featuring top female bartenders. The bartender babes are put head to head in a round robin style speed cocktail making event that is being judged and timed. Not only was it a great way to get to know other bartenders in the city but it also took me out of my comfort zone. I like to think that i know a number of traditional cocktails. After all, I used to teach Basic Bartending at the Culinary Institute of Canada and the syllabus consisted of 5 basic spirits (Vodka, Gin, Tequila, Rum, Whiskey) and their 4 most traditional cocktail recipes.  The kind of cocktails you would find in The Boston Bartender Guide.

One week before the competition we were sent a list of 10 cocktails, i knew how to confidently make 4 of them. It was at that point that I got pretty nervous. We found out the morning of the competition what 4 drinks we would have to make as quickly as possible. The cocktails were the Vesper, Tennessee Smash, Manhattan and Margarita. I am so thankful that I reached out to the girls ahead of time as a group of us got to practice together a couple times and this was instrumental in not humiliating myself the night of the comp.

To set the stage competition day, we had 3 minutes to prepare our bar. That consisted of choosing glassware, icing said glassware, setting up your rail and preparing garnishes/ingredients.

My goal was to not humiliate myself in front of a room full of people, I didn’t expect to win this competition it being my first ever comp and being up against 14 real badass female bartenders. What an adrenaline rush doing this! i completed my drinks in about 1 min 25 seconds. I didn’t royally mess up my drinks so it was a win in my books.

100% of the money raised at the event went to breast cancer prevention, education and research. This comp takes place across Canada, USA and Mexico.

If you want to see me in action, check out this link to our Instagram page. https://www.instagram.com/p/BvKm1mInK-t/

Cheers!