Top Dallas Bartenders to Compete in Houston’s Speed Rack

by Steven Doyle   photos by Susan Migdol

If you happen to be in Houston this coming weekend you might wish to attend a pretty awesome cocktail competition called Speed Rack that pits some of the hottest bartenders in Louisiana and Texas to raise cash and awareness for breast cancer. Sixteen female bartenders will be in competition for bragging rights, a $500 honorarium and a chance to compete nationally in New York City later in the year. Two of our best female bartenders will be in that competition.

You may have read about both of these women in the past on craveDFW; enter Bonnie Wilson from Whiskey Cake and Trina Nishimura from The Cedars Social representing Dallas in the Houston contest this Sunday, January 22, 2012.        

A minimum $20 donation gets you into this private event. Punches, cocktails, beer and food will be served as well as the best female bartenders the Lone Star State have to offer as they duke it out in this fun and unique competition. If you are not able to attend the event you may still want to visit the Eventbright website to make a donation in support of this cause.

We spoke with Nishimura today we learned that she is no wallflower when it comes to these competitions. She recently competed in a heat with many of the area’s top barmen (yes, she was the only chiquita in the mix) and took home the Buffalo Trace top prize with her cocktail that she calls Thyme Waits For No Man. If you happen into Cedar’s you can try one on for size. Trina has also shared the recipe with us and we list the ingredients below.

“I am all about coming together as a community, and many of the local bartenders are not just about making drinks and swilling cocktails. Look at 828, we like being able to support our community and I am happy to raise money for this charity that fights breast cancer,” said Nishimura.

Bonnie Wilson was equally enthused. She explained the lay out of the competition that takes 16 and eliminates half in a time trial. From there the public is invited to sample the drinks that start with her margarita, then move onto a Bee’s Knees (a lemon juice based gin drink), a daiquiri and the best vodka martini. The second round is a set of 4 drinks called from 50 given recipes.

Contestants are judged not only on the speed of making the drinks, but also on taste and execution. “The competition winds down like the Final Four until there is one person standing,” said Wilson.

The judges will be evaluating the finished cocktails for temperature, balance, adherence to the recipe, garnish, correct glassware, taste and of course speed.

Both Wilson and Nishimura are excited to be chosen to represent all of North Texas and promise to come back with a victory. We will have exclusive photos in a post-event wrap up next week.

Thyme Waits For No Man   by Trina Nishimura
1.5 ounce Buffalo Trace Bourbon
.5 ounce Calvados
.5 ounce Benedictine
.5 ounce thyme syrup
.75 ounce lemon juice
The Gingerman   by Bonnie Wilson
bar spoon of ginger purée
2 ounce Bacardi 8
3/4 ounce honey,
3/4 ounce lime, shaken
top with 1/2 ounce ginger beer

A special thanks to Susan Migdol for these incredible photos.  We heard the session was a blast and will most likely run a photo slideshow to share more of the fun.



Filed under Bourbon, Cocktails, Competition, Dallas, fundraiser, Houston, Recipe, Road Trip, Steven Doyle, therapy

5 responses to “Top Dallas Bartenders to Compete in Houston’s Speed Rack

  1. Rusty Shackleford

    I think the event sounds wonderful and the cause is great but were they really quoted using the word “swilling”? The sentence structure makes it seem as though you were “swilling cocktails” when this was written. Par for the course I suppose.

  2. Shiva

    You are a dick, Dale. This is a cool story and a kick ass web site.

  3. For Christ’s sake, we’re talking about booze here. Sometimes you sip it, sometimes you shoot it, and sometimes you swill it. They don’t call it giggle water for nothin (how’s my diction?).

    All I know is that it takes a lot of cohones to participate in this event. These lady’s rock just for showing up, representing, and putting their money where their mouth’s are. All in the name of raising money for Breast cancer research. I’m really looking forward to meeting them!


  4. jules

    get ’em girls!

  5. Nannie Reino

    loving this

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