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Renaissance Rundown Pt.1

We’ve talked about it for months and Rum Reniassance has somehow come and gone in a flash.  Here’s our rundown……from what we can remember.

Day 1:

We rolled into Miami on Wednesday and checked in at the Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach.  Nice place.  After a bit of rest, we strolled down to the Gansevoort Hotel where Zacapa hosted the first of 10 or so VIP parties. Lorena Vasquez, Master Distiller at Zacapa, gave a brilliant presentation on their history and production.  Next, up to the roof terrace for more Zacapa love and catching up with new and old friends.

We then loaded ourselves into a shuttle bus that was generously sponsored by Rums of Puerto Rico and drove to the Epic Hotel in downtown Miami where Ron Barcelo was hosting the next party.  The Epic is a beautiful, upscale facility with dress code to match.  Several of us flip-flop wearing rum drinkers had to pull a string or two just to get inside but in the end, the Barcelo party was a memorable one with top notch food and drink.

Back on the bus and back to South Beach where Atlantico hosted us at the Betsy Hotel rooftop.  Great drinks, music and conversation ensued before the night was up.  Life is good!!

Zacapa Roof Party

Zacapa Roof Party

Hanging with Jeff Berry

Hanging with Jeff Berry

Rums of PR Bus

Rums of PR Bus

Ron Barcelo Girls

Ron Barcelo Girls

Betsy Hotel South Beach

Betsy Hotel South Beach

Mucho Atlantico

Mucho Atlantico

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Day 2:

Being anywhere before noon really seems to cause me a bit of stress these days, but on Thursday morning I had the opportunity to meet the Master Distiller from Zafra.  Alarm clock and front desk wake-up call were both firmly in place.  Over breakfast at News Cafe in South Beach we learned about Zafra, a 21 year old Panamanian Rum that is quickly gaining notoriety.  This is very special product and wonderful people represent the company.

After breakfast we met at the Florida Room at the Delano Hotel for the beginning of the Rum XP Tasting Competition.  I was honored to be a judge at this year’s event and for the next 4 hours we sampled and scored some of the best rums on the planet.  You know the saying, tough job but someone has to do it.

Thursday evening was once again filled with flashy VIP parties.  We rode the Rums of Puerto Rico Bus out to the Ritz Carlton-Biscayne Bay for the Clement party at a little place called RumBar.  Ti Punches flowed freely and some of Clement’s best was generously poured by our buddy Ben Jones.

Back on the bus and over to the Epic Hotel rooftop for the Diplomatico party.  Paranoid of the dress code police, I put on real shoes for the first time in months.  Our friends at Diplomatico pulled out the stops for this one and the 5 well-positioned bars kept drinks flowing as guest bartenders and enthusiasts showed off their skills.

The next party was back at the Raleigh Hotel courtyard and hosted by Ron Abuelo.  The setting was perfect for a final cocktail (or 4), good conversation and rummy chear all around.

Stay tuned for the boozy antics of days three and four of the Rum Renaissance Festival……   To be continued…….

Breakfast with the Zafra Team

Breakfast with Zafra

Ian Williams @ Rumbar

Ian Williams @ Rumbar

Shake it Matt

Shake it Matt

Adam Kanter @ Diplomatico

Adam Kanter @ Diplomatico Bar

Rum XP @ Diplomatico

Rum XP @ Ron Abuelo VIP Party

Pauline Holland & Clyde Davis

Pauline Holland & Clyde Davis