To help one of its bartenders prepare for a big national competition in New York, Bad News Bar is offering a four-for-$25 cocktail special from 8 p.m. to midnight every Tuesday between now and May 17.
The bartender: Elyse Blechman. The competition: Speed Rack.
Only female bartenders can compete in Speed Rack, and the events raise money for breast cancer charities. Regional competitions are held all around the United States. Blechman actually lost her round at Speed Rack San Antonio. However, thanks to popular-choice voting for wild-card competitors, she has a chance at redeeming herself at the national competition, in New York on May 22.
That means practice, practice, practice. The goal in Speed Rack is to make four different cocktails orderd at random by judges. However, the drinks can’t be just thrown together. Points are deducted for cocktails that are out of balance, in the wrong glass or missing garnishes. For a bartender to win, her cocktails have to taste good, too.
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Competitors have to memorize dozens of cocktail recipes ahead of time in order to be prepared for whatever the judges might throw at them. Some are classic recipes. Some of the drinks that could be called for are not well known. (Has anyone ever actually ordered a Caricature Cocktail?)
The four-for-$25 special means that the cocktail prices average out to $6.25 each and that a couple could each have two cocktails, or a group of four could have one a piece. Not usually part of a group? Well, bars are places for making friends, so perhaps you’ll be able to bond with your fellow customers and go in together on a round of drinks.
Eligible cocktails for the special are on a rather long list kept at the bar, and the selection includes time-honored classics like Last Word, Whiskey Sour, Hemingway Daiquiri and the Vieux Carré.
The best way to keep up Blechman's status during the Speed Rack competition on May 22 is via the Facebook page.