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Rum Renaissance Recap

Beverage industry veteran, freelance journalist and rum enthusiast, June Coleman, joins The RC team with coverage of the Rum Renaissance Festival.

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Picture 7The Ultimate Rum Party
By June Coleman

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UPON MY ARRIVAL TO MIAMI FOR THE FIRST RUM RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL, I KNEW THE EVENT WOULD BE AS HOT AS THE BALMY WEATHER OF THIS HIP FLORIDA CITY. THE EVENT, WHICH SPANNED A 4-DAY PERIOD, OFFERED A TASTING COMPETITION, A SERIES OF CORPORATE SPONSORED VIP PARTIES AND A GIANT RUM TASTING. THE FESTIVAL ATTRACTED A RAINBOW OF RUM ENTHUSIASTS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE AND A VERY, VERY GOOD TIME WAS HAD BY ALL.

DAY ONE: MY FIRST STOP ON THE PARTY ITINERARY WAS TO A LITTLE BURGER JOINT OF ALUMINUM FACADE AND RETRO DÉCOR CALLED “8 OZ” FOR A GATHERING SPONSORED BY ATLANTICO RUM . AS I ENTERED, I KNEW THE PARTY WAS “ON” WITH DEPECHE MODE BOOMING ON THE SOUND SYSTEM, BAR STAFF CIRCULATING WITH SLIDER BURGERS AND AN OPEN BAR WITH AN EXTENSIVE RUM SELECTION. WE WERE SERVED A MEDLEY OF ATLANTICO COCKTAILS; SOME MODIFIED FROM OLD STANDARDS AND OTHERS WERE MORE ADVENTUROUS. THEY WERE ALL WELL DONE.

WHEN THE CLOCK STRUCK 9PM, IT WAS TIME TO MAKE MY WAY TO THE NEXT PARTY HOSTED BY CASTRIES RUM CREAM OF ST. LUCIA. IT WAS NEXT DOOR TO THE 8 OZ. BAR AT THE EXQUISITE MONDRIAN HOTEL. THE ATMOSPHERE AT THE HOTEL’S SUNSET LOUNGE IS ULTRA MOD WITH A PERFECT VIEW OF AN ELABORATE POOL AREA AND THE BAY BEYOND. THE CROWD SIPPED CASTRIES COCKTAILS, MIXED AND MINGLED AS NEW FRIENDSHIPS WERE CONCEIVED.

DAY TWO: THE NEXT EVENING, WE GATHERED ONCE AGAIN AT THE MONDRIAN HOTEL’S SUNSET LOUNGE FOR A PARTY HOSTED BY RON ZACAPA. THE RUM FLOWED FREELY AND THE BAR STAFF SERVED A VERY NICE DRINK CALLED THE GINGER CUBAN; RUM, MINT, LEMON JUICE, CANE SUGAR, AUGOSTURA BITTERS, SHAKEN AND STRAINED OVER ICE, AND TOPPED WITH GINGER BEER! VERY TASTY! THE CROWD WAS SERENADED BY A LATIN JAZZ QUARTET AND PUFFED ON HAND-ROLLED CIGARS. THE NEXT STOP WAS ACROSS THE BAY TO BACARDI HEADQUARTERS. OUR GROUP SNATCHED UP A FEW COCKTAILS, TOURED THE BACARDI MUSEUM AND THEN MADE OUR WAY UPSTAIRS FOR MORE FOOD, DRINKS, MUSIC AND A SAMPLE OF RESERVA LIMITADA….A NICE SIPPING RUM.

DAY THREE: THE MAIN EVENT: THE WEATHER WAS PERFECT, THE VENUE WAS BEAUTIFUL AND MORE THAN A THOUSAND PEOPLE PARADED THROUGH THE GRAND TASTING, A SHOWCASE OF RUMS FROM AROUND THE WORLD. DISTILLERY REPS POURED SAMPLES IN THE COURTYARD AND SURROUNDING CABANAS OF THE SHORE CLUB HOTEL. UPSTAIRS, THERE WERE A HOST OF EDUCATIONAL SEMINARS SCHEDULED FOR ALL ENTHUSIASTS TO ENJOY. THE VARIETY OF RUMS ON OFFER WAS MIND BLOWING AND I WAS ABLE TO ACQUAINT MYSELF WITH A FEW OF MY OLD STAND-BYS (ANGOSTURA 1824, DIPLOMATICO EXCLUSIVA) AND DISCOVERED SEVERAL NEW FAVORITES (DOS MADERAS, RON CACIQUE.)

THE AFTER PARTY HOSTED BY APPLETON RUM TOOK PLACE A FEW DOORS DOWN AT THE DELANO HOTEL. I FOUND MY WAY THROUGH THE LOBBY WITH ITS SNOWY WHITE SHEERS AND TECHNO MUSIC, MEANDERED THROUGH THE GARDENS TO THE SUBTERAINIAN BAR KNOWN AS THE FLORIDA ROOM. THE RUM SOAKED CROWD GROOVED TO SWEET JAMAICAN TUNES BELLOWED BY JAHFE, A GREAT MIAMI-BASED REGGAE GROUP. WE DRANK APPELTON 12, MINGLED AND DANCED UNTIL THE WEE HOURS. THIS PLACE KNOWS HOW TO THROW A PARTY.

DAY FOUR: THIS WONDERFUL WEEKEND CONCLUDED WITH A POOL PARTY BACK AT THE SHORE CLUB. THE RUM FLOWED WHILE WE RELAXED, TALKED SHOP AND NETWORKED. IT WAS THE PERFECT ENDING TO 4 DAYS OF FUN, RUM AND SUN. ROBERT BURR AND HIS TEAM DID AN AWESOME JOB ORGANIZING THIS EVENT. AS THE POPULARITY OF RUM CONTINUES TO GROW ON A GLOBAL LEVEL, EVENTS LIKE THIS ONE WILL SURELY BECOME MORE COMMON. TO MATCH THE VIBE OF RUM RENAISSANCE, HOWEVER, WOULD BE QUITE A TASK INDEED. I LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING WHAT THEY HAVE IN STORE FOR 2010.