Opening Rum Event presented by Rum Papiamento
The very first Bonaire Rum Week, presented by the Caribbean Journal, was held on June 14 - 17, 2022 at various venues across the island. While not typically known for rum, Bonaire proved to be an excellent choice for a new rum festival due to its access to premium spirits from around the world, its emerging craft cocktail scene, and its extensive culinary options. Activities included multiple rum tastings from sponsoring brands, a cocktail competition at the new Tiki & Co bar, rum-paired dining experiences, and a rum and cigar after-party. All of the events were open to the public and no tickets were necessary (although RSVPs to each activity were required). This allowed guests to build their own schedules and pay for dining and cocktails individually.
Check out the Bonaire Rum Week website for more information:
~ Rum Runners at Captain Don's Habitat ~
Bonaire Rum Week kicked off with a waterfront tasting of Aruba's Papiamento Rum. Rum enthusiasts mingled with brand representatives and the event organizers while sipping this Panama-sourced, Dutch Caribbean-inspired blended aged rum. Other premium rums were available for tasting as well, including San Pablo, Dutch Head, Clifton Estate, Ron Barcelo, Papa's Pilar, Don Q, and Siesta Key.
~ Rum Runners at Captain Don's Habitat ~
Following the Opening Rum Event, participants were invited to stay for a five course rum-paired dinner at Rum Runners. The meal started with an aperitif consisting of an amuse bouche of seasoned beef served on a piece of coral and a Papiamento Old Fashioned. The first course was a delicious Caribbean gazpacho topped with Bonaire sea salted salmon. Next was the fresh catch ceviche, beautifully presented in a little glass fishbowl and paired with a pour of Papa's Pilar Blonde rum. The main course was sous vide duck breast and sweet potato served with Clifton Estate Spiced rum, followed by the fourth course of Delices de Bourgogne and Gorgonzola cheeses served on quirky bent spoon along with Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva rum. The dessert course was a coffee infused cheesecake paired with Rom Rincon Limited Edition 2022 rum. Although a bit lengthy (about 3 hours long), the meal was a great value, priced at $75 per person.
~ Plaza Beach & Dive Resort ~
Day 2 of Bonaire Rum Week began with a sunny beachside afternoon tasting with Rum San Pablo from the nearby island of Curacao. Their Reserva 1945 series, named for the year production first began in Curacao, includes the 8 Year, 12 Year, and 15 Year expressions which were all available for tasting. Other brands such as Clifton Estate and San Juan Artisan Distillers presented their rums as well, with the rhythms of a live steel drum band providing a tropical soundtrack to the event.
~ Tiki & Co ~
During the second night of Bonaire Rum Week, a cocktail competition was held at Bonaire's impressive new tiki-themed bar Tiki & Co in downtown Kralendijk. The island's top mixologists were challenged with creating a new cocktail using Diplomatico Rum to be prepared and judged live in front of the crowd of rum enthusiasts. In addition to watching the competition, attendees enjoyed Tiki & Co's original craft cocktails served in unique tiki mugs from around the globe.
~ Harbour Village Beach Club ~
The third day of Bonaire Rum Week started with a three-course lunch with rum pairings at La Balandra Bar and Restaurant inside Harbour Village Beach Club. This unique restaurant is modeled after a wooden ship, complete with a large ship's wheel and bowsprit, overlooking the stunning Bonaire coast. Lunch began with a rum-marinated mojito wahoo appetizer with fennel salad, rum crème fraiche, and herring caviar served alongside a refreshing mojito. Next was the main course of rum-glazed barbequed short rib paired with a fruity rum sangria and several rum samples. Lastly was the drunken piña dessert, which included pineapple infused with rum and spices, a pumpkin and caramel crème almond cake, and rum raisin ice cream. The all-inclusive meal was priced at $70 per person.
~ Blennies at Buddy Dive Resort Bonaire ~
Day 3 of Bonaire Rum Week also included a waterfront happy hour with Clifton Estate Rum at Blennies Restaurant & Bar at Buddy Dive Resort Bonaire. This spiced rum from the island of Nevis was served straight up and in several cocktails such as a shaken daiquiri and Cuba Libre. A few passed hors d'oeuvres were provided as well, and attendees enjoyed the rum and conversation as the sun set over the water.
The final day of Bonaire Rum Week kicked off with a rum tasting workshop for local bartenders. This event was facilitated by judges from the Caribbean Rum Awards and provided the opportunity for attendees to taste and learn about a variety of premium rum expressions.
~ Divi Flamingo Beach Resort ~
The last evening of Bonaire Rum Week began with a happy hour sponsored by Rom Rincon, known as "The Spirit of Bonaire". These rums are produced locally at The Cadushy Distillery in its namesake town of Rincon in the northwest region of the island. Eric Gietman, the master distiller, gave a brief overview of the distillery and introduced each of the Rom Rincon expressions as samples were passed out for guests to taste. Mixers were also available for those who preferred a cocktail, and there was a secondary area serving samples of other rums such as Ron Pepon, Papiamento, San Pablo, and Rhum Depaz. The event concluded with a live auction of bottle #1 of Rom Rincon's limited-edition rum for 2022, with the winning bid of $500 donated a local charity.
~ Brass Boer - Delfins Beach Resort ~
Day 4 of Bonaire Rum Week ended in style with a four-course dinner at Brass Boer restaurant inside Delfins Beach Resort. The restaurant is the creation of three-star Michelin chefs Johnny and Therese Boer and has received many awards including Best Restaurant in the Caribbean from Caribbean Journal. Dinner began with foie gras served with Rom Rincon Private Stock rum, plum compote, and brioche, followed by a second course of Caribbean sea bass and chicken rendang. The third course included Dutch farmers' duck breast with carrots and gravy of hay alongside stew topped with smoked egg foam. Lastly was the dessert course of banana royale with Thérèse's Rumour Premium Rum, hazelnut, toasted white chocolate, and chocolate sauce. Various festival rums were also available for sipping throughout dinner. This was the most expensive meal of the event (priced at $90 per person), but it was truly a unique and unforgettable dining experience.
~ Club Tropicana - Delfins Beach Resort ~
The final event of Bonaire Rum Week was a VIP cigar and rum tasting afterparty on the sand at Delfins Beach Resort. Papa's Pilar provided their Blonde, Dark, and Sherry Finished rums for guests to sip and plenty of cigars were also offered. There were other premium rums available as well, including Havana Club 15, Dutch Head, and Don Q Vermouth Cask. It was a relaxing and enjoyable end to a wonderful week of rum, sun, and fun on the island of Bonaire.
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