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Originally published Wednesday, February 12, 2014 at 3:03 PM

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Ladies first, and fast, at cocktail contest

Speed Rack, a cocktail-making contest that benefits breast-cancer charities, returns to Seattle after a robust turnout last year.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Speed Rack, one of the biggest cocktail parties thrown in Seattle last year, is back.

This three-hour cocktail contest, Sunday (Feb. 16) at Century Ballroom, is a fundraiser for breast-cancer charities. It pits the top female bartenders from Portland to Vancouver, B.C., in round-robin competition to see who makes the best booze under pressure. Each contestant has to make four drinks in five minutes.

Popular around the country, Speed Rack first came to Seattle last winter and drew a crowd of 350. After that success, organizers say it was a no-brainer that the contest would make a stop in Seattle again, maybe every year now.

The event usually morphs into a party that lasts for days. Last year, Speed Rack became a weeklong event as booze reps flew in to Seattle for this fundraiser and stuck around to sponsor other parties and $5 happy-hour specials in Belltown and Capitol Hill.

This year, many of the top bars in the Northwest are expected to send their bartenders to compete, including Tavern Law and Rob Roy in Seattle, Clyde Commons and Teardrop Lounge in Portland and The Keefer Bar in Vancouver, B.C.

This year, the three big Speed Rack-related events are on Capitol Hill. No cover charge for any.

Liberty, 517 15th Ave. E., will host a pre-Speed Rack party Saturday, 8-11 p.m., to welcome out-of-town bartenders and cocktail geeks to Seattle. There will be drink specials and a guest mixologist from Chicago.

Sun Liquor Distillery, 512 E. Pike St., will feature discounted drinks and a cocktail contest Monday, 5-8 p.m., featuring male bartenders in drag in homage to Speed Rack.

Rumba on Capitol Hill hosts a post-Speed Rack party Sunday, at 8 p.m., with $5 cocktails and an “eligible bachelor auction for charity.

Speed Rack, Century Ballroom, 915 E. Pine St., 3-7 p.m. The $25 ticket includes snacks and drinks. Purchase at (search under Speed Rack)

More info at:

Tan Vinh: 206-515-5656 or On Twitter @tanvinhseattle

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