The Ultimate Rum Experience Returns!
By Caribbean Journal Staff
The Ultimate Rum Experience Returns!
The Caribbean’s ultimate rum experience is returning this Nov. 10-15, 2020 in St Barth.
The 2020 edition of the Caribbean Rum Awards and the St. Barth Rum Festival, a week-long celebration of the Caribbean’s finest rum, will return to the Caribbean capital of luxury.
“This year’s Caribbean Rum Awards will again honor the best of rum-making in the Caribbean,” said Alexander Britell, editor and publisher of Caribbean Journal. “We’re proud to partner with Christopher Davis and the St. Barth Rum Festival for what will be an exciting, high-level experience tailored for the current realities of travel.”
The intimate experience will bring together a selection of rum connoisseurs, aficionados and rum distillers, centered around the Caribbean’s greatest rum bar, the Rhum Room in Gustavia.
“What an honor to spend a great week of events with rum, passionate connoisseurs and interested learners as well,” said Christopher Davis, proprietor of the Rhum Room and the Quarter Kitchen & Cocktail Lab, and founder of the St. Barth Rum Festival. “What surprises me the most about this year is regardless of all the worldwide issues we are still able to put together an incredible Rum Festival program, as almost all other festivals are cancelled. People are excited to come to St. Barth to visit and to taste fabulous rums from around the Caribbean.”
The event will kick off with a Ti’ Punch Happy Hour by WIMCO, followed by a series of evening rum and cigar experiences and VIP master classes.
On Nov. 12 will be the Rum Expo, a free outdoor public event featuring samples of some of the Caribbean’s greatest rum expressions, from La Favorite to Rhum Neisson to Ron del Barrilito.
The heart of the program will of course be the awards themselves, the Caribbean’s leading competition of premium rum and rhum agricole, bringing together a panel of international judges and an unrivaled selection of top quality expressions.
Last year’s competition included a never-before-conducted competition of the Caribbean’s most expensive rums, with Don Q Reserva de la Familia Serralles taking the Double Gold.
This year’s Caribbean Rum Awards, optimized for social distancing with limited-attendance and outdoor experiences, will include intimate master classes with some of the world’s top rum makers, including Grégoire Hayot of Guadeloupe’s Rhum Karukera, Gregory Vernant of Martinique’s Rhum Neisson and Franck Dormoy of Rhum La Favorite.
“We have received exceptional support from the distilleries,” Davis said. “Attendees will be able to sample rums from some of the best distilleries in the Caribbean, and there will be more distilleries, depending on whether or not we obtain approval from the Collectivité to use the street for the afternoon.” That’s along with some new experiences for this year, including a tasting of local Rhum Arrangé made in St. Barth.
Only VIP ticket-holders can access the full gamut of experiences; there will be a number of free, public-facing events, including the aforementioned Rum Expo on Nov. 12 and the Ti’ Punch Seminar on Nov. 13.
A People’s Choice rum competition will also return this year, featuring esteemed rum enthusiasts from the island. Along with this competition are a pair of Rum Cocktail Pairing dinners, one on Nov. 13 and one on Nov. 14, set at the celebrated Quarter Kitchen and Cocktail Lab. (To purchase dinner tickets, contact firstname.lastname@example.org). “The Rum Cocktail Pairing dinner this year is extended to both Friday and Saturday nights due to overwhelming demand and the menu is shaping up to be really special,” Davis said.
Caribbean Rum Awards partner WIMCO is partnering on a series of villa packages that include VIP tickets to the event. “The Caribbean Rum Awards event is totally in sync with the spirit of St. Barth, an island that has always been celebrated for its exceptional restaurant scene and passion for gourmet experiences” said Stiles Bennet, WIMCO’s president. “WIMCO Villas is proud to sponsor the event, and is encouraging our clients to visit the island in early November for a chance to taste some of the most exceptional rums in the world.”
“Particularly amid the current realities of travel, we’re pleased to keep this year’s Caribbean Rum Awards an intimate experience, and so excited with this year’s impressive group of partners,” Britell said. “There’s no rum festival in the world quite like this one — and there’s no place in the world quite like St. Barth.”
Tradewind Aviation, which operates regular flights (and private charter flights) throughout the day between San Juan and St Barth, is the official airline of the Caribbean Rum Awards. Book your travel early.
St. Barth has been open for tourism since June with strict entry protocols that have made the island a veritable sanctuary amid the pandemic; those include required proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival (find more info here).