LUPEC Seattle Dismantling the Patriarchy…one drink at a time!

Ladies for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails, Seattle Edition!
We try to meet up once a month in the area's best cocktail bars to try tasty libations made of gin, rum, tequila, whiskey, etc.
Occasionally we throw a party and use our power to raise money for local charities.

Follow the fun!

Monday, May 13, 2013

LUPEC does Eat.Run.Hope (and drink)


On April 14th the ladies of LUPEC and several of their spouses participated in Eat Run Hope. This event supports fetal health and is presented by Ethan Stowell Restaurants and Eastside Maternal Fetal Medicine. Team LUPEC raised over 500 dollars for the cause. In addition to the usual suspects we had Ben Perri of Zig Zag fame on team LUPEC. The majority of Team LUPEC participated in the 5k with Ben Perri crushing it and winning the whole entire run! Way to go Ben Perri he finished his 5k in 19minutes and 53 seconds!
 Several of the LUPECers before the 5k!

We made sure to imbibe plenty too. Rocky Yeh was making delicious Bloody Marys. Mimosas, champagne and beer were available as well.   
 In addition to our imbibing, a very important aspect to any LUPEC event we also noshed on awesome food. One of the LUPEC favorites was Tom Douglas’ grilled adobo pork belly super nachos! Some other highlights were roasted pig with salsa verde from Dots Delicatessen, Fideos from Il Corvo and ice cream from Poppy Basil Cinnamon with strawberry sauce and almond streusel was delicious but it was hard to say if it was better than the banana ice cream with fudge sauce coconut and mango marshmallow.
Everyone had a great time and went home with full bellies. Next year Eat Hope Run should have a few extra cases of champagne to keep up with the ladies of LUPEC! 

Thanks to Danielle Fague for eating, running, hoping, and blogging! This event really was so much fun besides raising funds for such a good cause. And speaking of that- if you didn't get a chance to donate, feel free to do that now!
I hope that even more of the ladies will participate next year!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Romancing the Rum Era at Rumba

March is not always an altogether beautiful weather month in Seattle, so LUPEC took their mouths on a rum-soaked mental journey to the sunshine and good times of pre-Castro Cuba.
With the guidance of Rumba's bar manager, Connor O'Brien, we were transported to front row seats, next to Ernest Hemingway at the El Floridita bar in old Havana.
The Daquiri #2 started us out, using (as all the night's drinks did) [name of rum deleted to protect the innocent] rum, allowing the LUPEC ladies a chance to sip a special spirit, one that we would not have been able to find had we just stayed here in Seattle. Any good journey requires a few snacks to keep everyone happy, so Rumba supplied us with plantain chips and guacamole.
"Rum is an underdog" Connor told us, comparing its place in the drinking world to where tequila was ten years ago. He launched from there into a history lesson, giving context to all of us on where rum comes from and why it's important--especially the [name of rum deleted to protect the innocent] rum, which we then were invited to taste a flight of: the 3 year and the 7 year. 
Manager Kate Perry was a blur, getting all the glasses out for the flight--two per person in a matter of seconds. As we delved further into prohibition era laws in the US and the growth of the rum industry and bar scene in Cuba, we were served a third drink, the Presidente.

When Connor's very in-depth presentation was finished, the spirit of Cuba and the journey into terrific rums continued with discounts on rum drinks for the rest of the evening.

In case you missed out (or just want to relive the awesome mini-vacation at home), here are the recipes for the two cocktails we had:

Daquiri #2
  • 1 jigger rum (Havana Club Añejo Blanco suggested)
  • Juice of half a lime
  • 1/4 oz Curaçao
  • 1/4 oz sugar
Place all ingredients in glass.
Shake, strain in a chilled cocktail shell.

  • 1 jigger rum (Havana Club 2 años suggested)
  • 1/2 oz blanc vermouth
  • 1 t dry curaçao
  • 2 dashes grenadine
Stir and strain into a chilled cocktail shell.
Garnish with a flat orange twist.

Many thanks to this month's guest blogger Naomi Bishop whose own blog The Gastro Gnome is a mouth watering feast of all that is delicious. And of course muchas gracias to the whole Rumba crew, especially Connor and Kate for doing everything besides the rumba, to make us happy! Cheers! ~Wendy

Monday, March 11, 2013

Speed Rack Aftermath

February 10. Speed Rack. The sun was shining high in the Seattle sky as I made my way down to the Century Ballroom. The day was promising to be beautiful, though much of it would be unknown to me. My day would be spent inside watching contenders shake and stir their way toward the illustrious title of Miss Speed Rack Seattle. What would begin with 19 talented bartenders, would end with one woman raising her hands in victory as the judges proclaimed her the winner.

As I arrived, the ladies were just preparing to enter the preliminaries. Some were local, but others had traveled from as far as Spokane and Portland. The Tin Tables’ wells served as the focal point. Each areas was dotted with shakers and long-handled spoons, Hawthorne strainers and julep strainers all marked with pink electric tape. As a contestant made her way behind the stick, she faced down the necessary glassware already lined up on the varnished wood. Four drinks would test them: whiskey sour, margarita, sidecar and a gin martini with orange bitters. Oh, and then there was the clock.

Meanwhile the activity continued as the Century Ballroom was reshaped to house the competitive bar event. Portable bars were set up on stage, as well as the judge's table. Numerous punches were batched by the volunteer barbacks, all talented bartenders in their own right. The punch stations were set up around the back of the room, all with excellent vantage points for the action that would engulf the room later that day. Nothing seemed to garner more attention in those hours of preparation than the arrival of the giant ice sculpture of a bottle of Green Chartreuse, from which ice luges would be poured all afternoon long.

As the day moved steadily along and the final 8 were chosen, the activity reached a frenetic pace. The host of volunteers entered and were assigned to various serving positions. Several LUPEC Seattle ladies took their post with punch ladles. With a half hour to go before the event officially opened, the line of attendees wrapped around the building. The excitement reached a fever pitch as the ladies of Tilted Thunder Roller Birds skated across the hardwood floors, raffles tickets in hand. The event was destined to be memorable.

When the doors finally opened, the thirsty public started to fill the room, checking out the various offerings. But all eyes were soon trained on stage. Shortly after the four judges, Kathy Casey, Anu Apte, Robert Hess and Audrey Saunders chose the cocktails, the action took off. The crowd cheered as their hands flew to the bottles in a mad dash to not only prepare but garnish the four beverages. In the end, the judges were tough but fair as they appraised cocktail after cocktail. Who knows how they were able to withstand the onslaught of wonderful drinks and not only remain objective but keep their palates in tune.

As the opening round came to completion, only four were left standing: Lacy Hawkins, Angel Teta, Missy Cross, and Beckaly Franks. In a surprising turn of events, the finals ended up being a rematch of last year's Speed Rack Portland--where last year's Miss Speed Rack Portland, Missy Cross, would face off against Lacy Hawkins. This year it was Lacy Hawkins who took home the title and was bathed in champagne. She will go on to compete in the Speed Rack Finals, held in New York City on May 16.

Regardless of the winners and losers, the day was incredible. From the shots to honor Anu Apte's birthday to the champagne cocktails to toast the winner, the event was filled with an air of camaraderie and celebration, and a bit of friendly but fierce competition. Of course, we should not forget that all of the proceeds were raised to support a very worthwhile cause--breast cancer research, education and prevention.

~Thanks to our woman on the street Courtney Randall for covering all the action and reporting back. Speed Rack is an amazing event put on by some really amazing women. It was great to see a lot of you at the event. Hopefully they will return to Seattle and we can all go again! Wendy

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cocktails and Boobs, Both Will Be Shaking!

December 4, 2011, the morning after Repeal Day. I walked through the frozen morning toward the Jack Rose Saloon in Washington, D.C., half-rolling and half-dragging my luggage across the frost-covered sidewalk. The morning was clear and brisk, and each step reverberated through my body. Why oh why was I up this early, squinting into the bright morning sun? Of course, there was good reason to propel myself from my comfortable hotel bed, pack up my suitcase many hours before my flight, and scurry around in the sub-freezing temperatures--it was Speed Rack.

Speed Rack is the brainchild of Lynnette Marrero and Ivy Mix, also LUPEC NYC members. The women-only competition pits regional bartenders head-to-head in a test of accuracy and speed. Shaking, stiring and building drinks selected from a list of 50 industry standards, each drink is judged by a panel of industry experts. As a competitor moves from one round to the next, she becomes that much closer to winning her regional heat and a chance to compete at the Speed Rack Finals, held in New York City. On the line are a significant amount of bragging rights, the title of Miss Speed Rack, and a trip to France. But there is a serious side to all of the fun and games--all of the proceeds from the events go toward funding breast cancer research, education and prevention. In the initial year, almost $70,000 was raised across 11 events nationwide.

When I walked through the doors to the Jack Rose on that cold December morning, I found the entire place alive with excitement and activity. Contestants, many of whom had worked the Repeal Day Ball, milled around drinking coffee and chatting about the events of the night before. Though the atmostphere was full of camaraderie, but a certain amount of nervousness and competitiveness were active as well. Volunteer barbacks were busy setting up the area--clearing space and prepping ingredients. Other volunteers were creating signs and assembling the merchandise tables. Lynnette and Ivy were there, of course, assisting and overseeing the activity.

The preliminary rounds were held in the upstairs bar. As the ladies took to the bar to eek out their best times, to qualify for the opportunity to perform in front of a live roaring crowd. The environment was remarkably supportive as those not on the clock cheered on their fellow contestants. Unfortunately for me, just as the event started ramping up and the crowds started arriving, I had to leave to catch my flight back home. The round robin segment, followed by the finals, were sadly to take place after my plane was already in the air.

The second season of Speed Rack opened with a tchk-tchk-tchk of the shaker in Boston on October 3, and events are scheduled nationwide through the end of March. I am extremely excited that my city is hosting one of the regional competitions. I would finally be able to witness the action of the latter rounds live.

On Sunday, February 10, 2013, Speed Rack will come to Seattle. Don't miss the excitment as some of the Northwest's finest female bartenders go head-to-head at the Century Ballroom. And if you just can't wait to get a taste of what the event is like, check out the videos that show the highlights of past competitions.

Many thanks to guest blogger Courtney Randall who will be covering Speed Rack next month for our LUPEC blog. Good luck to all the contestants and we hope to see you all at the event, which promises to be a hell of a good time while raising money for the boobs we all love and adore! Find out more and get your tickets here!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

MurrayAid with House Spirits & Bastille

LUPEC gathered in the near past at Bastille's back bar to drink some House Spirits cocktails and to raise money for Murray Stenson.
The evening started with a Swedish Finn  (Punch featuring House Spirits Distillery's  Krogstad aquavit. Additional ingredients in the punch were lemon, allspice dram, sparkling apple cider  and nutmeg. Bastille served it with the smoked salmon (Pacific Northwest's answer to pickled herring?), arugula and chanterelles. All the drinks that evening were enjoyable, but this was my favorite drink of the night. The punch gave a nod to the season, and the aquavit gave it a nice hint of anise without over powering the blend of flavors.
Next we moved on to a classic Gin Rickey which was made with House Spirits' Aviation Gin.  As a brief aside, you may not know that this gin is named with the Aviation cocktail in mind.  House Spirits' targets a gin with a clean, neutral profile and faintly spicy finish.  It's not a London Dry, it's a new American style.  Bastille served a bruchetta with shaved broccoli, cheese, tomato and house made frommage blanc.
Finally we had a barrel aged cocktail called the Four Saints Cocktail. This cocktail showcased House Spirits White Dog Whiskey. byrrh, cynar and orange bitters rounded out the ingredient list. This was paired with a pumpkin soup with a brioche bun.  Like all barrel aged cocktails the barrel aging rounds out some of the rough edges and was a good presentation for the white dog whiskey.

The drinks, food and comradery of LUPEC may be why we all come out, but for me the best part of this evening was raising money for Murray Stenson. Murray who has been a great ambassador to the cocktail community. Murray has made many of us the first vesion of a classisc cocktail. For me, The first time I had a Liberal, it was served to me by Murry. I am proud to say the we raised $1545 in cash, and Bastille kicked in another $1000 from our bills for a total of $2545! Much of this was due to the LUPEC Queen Bee's, (Wendy Miller)  'force of nature' personality as she asked patrons who came in during and after LUPEC for donations. We hope that Murray is well soon.
A big thank you to House Spirits and Bastille for hosting a lovely evening.

And a big thank you to guest blogger Jen Burch who has been in the group since the very first meeting. Also huge thanks to guest bartender and SF LUPEC lady Brooke Arthur, everyone at House Spirits and everyone at Bastille, these are a fine bunch of generous folks!

LUPEC Seattle really appreciates all the businesses, brands and bartenders who have hosted us over the past year and have helped us when we try to give back to the community. Happy holidays and cheers to a wonderful new year! ~Wendy

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Ladies Lunch

I love telling people:
  1. that I belong to LUPEC and the inevitable
  2. what LUPEC is all about.
I am immediately fancier in these people's eyes...and let's face it's true: belonging to LUPEC is a +10 fancy. Since I am not a fancy person by nature (you've met me, right?), I could use those 10 points. Our October 2012 meeting at Vessel, though? Yeah, we might have to bump that up to +50. Why?

Number One: Ice Program. I know Vessel isn't the only venue with an ice program about town, however, I think it's the only one with the capacity in-house to make 300 lb blocks of beautifully clear chunks of solid water, replete with two (two!) saws - chain and band, if you must know - on hand to carve said ice into manageable bricks, which are then parsed out to the bar for individual carving, crushing, ice picking, or what have you. The lucky ladies that attended got to see one of these blocks lifted from the magic water freezing machine (technical term) and, after its requisite rest, carved up. As you can imagine, it was a delight. Jim Romdall demonstrated and instructed us on the particulars of temperature and technique and the importance of timing.

Two: Lunch! I struggled with making this number one or two, but I didn't want to make the ladies who couldn't take the afternoon (or day) off of work too jealous. However, I must say, indulging in a weekday afternoon lunch with an adult beverage (or in my case three) is quite nice. Mental health day indeed. Full disclosure: I might have napped when I got home.

Three: Cameo McRoberts. One doesn't expect the aroma of lamb braising when entering a cocktail establishment, but that is exactly what happened. The delicious stylings of Ms. McRoberts, beloved fellow member and chef charmed us all. And yes, I believe we tried everything on the menu from the salads to the aforementioned deliciously smelling Braised Lamb French Dip. My favorite was the Muffulleta Sandwich, which fortunately for everyone involved, I ordered. All this tastiness was topped off with an unexpected surprise: a complimentary Old Fashioned ice cream concoction. YUM.

Four: Did I mention the drinks yet? Ah yes, the drinks. The lunch beverage menu has non-alcoholic beverages (did anyone order one of those?) and as befits our status of endangered cocktail saviors, four quite delicious alcoholic options:
  • Bloody Mary - Mix made from scratch, including but not limited to fresh roasted tomatoes
  • Red Snapper - As above, but with gin
  • Pimm's Cup - Pimm's No. 1, lemon, cucumber, ginger, mint
  • Corpse Reviver #CO2 - Gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, lemon, absinthe, carbonated (pictured below)

Of course one could order off menu, but I didn't find that necessary on this visit.

Overall, with its rotating bartenders and menus (both food and drink); fantastic back bar; and new airy space, Vessel 2.0 was a fantastic LUPEC host and is a delight any day of the week. Highly recommend! And if you see Jim, ask him about the ice!

Huge thanks to Jim, Cameo, and their wonderful teams.

And a big thanks to guest blogger Carolyn Roper for this excellent recap of October's meeting. October is also LUPEC Seattle's 3rd birthday. And I must echo her thank you's to Cameo, Jim, Clark and our fabulous bartender for the afternoon Bryn. ~Wendy

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

LUPEC Seattle teams up with Novo Fogo's Bars on Fire!

For September's gathering, LUPEC Seattle participated in a convivial, combined event at Poquitos with Novo Fogo's established Bars on Fire series.

If you haven't heard of Novo Fogo yet, it's time you learn about them! They produce an excellent line of cachaças, easily available in the Seattle area thanks to the tireless advocacy of one of the owners -- and LUPEC ally -- Dragos Axinte.

Dragos is a welcoming host, and we were all given a special cocktail menu, developed by our two bartenders for the evening: Erik Carlson (pictured left) and Evan Martin (pictured right).

Our cocktail menu:
Nelson's Passage
Evan Martin
Silver Cachaça, passion fruit syrup, cinnamon syrup, lime, mint, I.P.A.

O Melhor
Evan Martin
Barrel-Aged Cachaça, Amontillado sherry, orgeat, Combier Pamplemousse Rose, lime, lavender bitters.

Gaby's Punch #2
Erik Carlson
Silver Cachaça, pistachio orgeat, lime, absinthe, Angostura bitters.

Cane Chopper
Erik Carlson
Barrel-Aged Cachaça, orange curaçao, cane syrup, mole bitters, coffee bitters.

As with any LUPEC event, there was lots of sampling and sharing, and this time with Poquitos' delicious Mexican food available to accompany our cocktails. Our fearless leader stated the O Melhor was her favorite, and another member chimed in that its sherry, orgeat, Pamplemousse Rose and lavender were perfectly-balanced. The Cane Chopper was a light, yet dynamic drink, and Gaby's Punch was punctuated by an unconventional pistachio orgeat. Another at our gathering declared that the Nelson's Passage encapsulated Summer for her --"Summer's either a mint julep or this drink!"

Finally, there was the classic, the caipirinha. These were served in mason jars for drinkers to shake before imbibing. This fun rendition of the definitive cachaça cocktail became a popular choice by night's end.

While many folks associate cachaça exclusively with caipirinhas, thanks to Dragos, Erik, and Evan, we learned again at this month's meeting that it can also be an integral ingredient in other delightful cocktails, too. Thanks to them, all those who participated for another successful LUPEC Seattle night out!

Thanks to this month's guest blogger Rachel Thibodeaux who if off to live in jolly ole London for a bit. Maybe if we are all real nice to her she'll bring us back some special gin in about 6 months! And of course HUGE thanks to Novo Fogo and Poquitos for having us! ~Wendy