Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The 2013 Miami Rum Renaissance Festival is Coming!

It's been a while since I've written but I'm back after a long hiatus which included relocation of the Official Aging Barrel Test Facility (aka new home purchase). What can be so great, so incredibly fun, so important to you, my friends and drinking buddies, that I've come out of retirement? Well, it's almost that time of year when my eyes twinkle because I know that it's the most wonderful, hap-happiest time of the year again! The fifth annual Miami Rum Renaissance Festival is just around the corner!

Whether you love rum or are curious to find out just what the differences in rum styles and which are your favorite rums, make plans to attend this year's festival in mid-April. This year's festival has moved to the Doubletree Hotel near Miami International Airport to accommodate the growing number of enthusiasts that attend every year and, if you've never been, I hope you will be among that number! But if you're planning on attending, I'll offer a few words of advice: 

  • Water water everywhere but not a drop to drink. (Unless you're smart enough to read this message.) Legends say that ancient mariners knew of a simple solution to the dreaded hangover - WATER. But don't think of water as just a cure for hangovers, it can also help to prevent them. A hangover is primarily your body feeling extremely dehydrated - this is your body telling you that it needs more fluids and it is time to re-fill.

    It stands to reason then that the key to avoiding hangovers is to drink plenty of water before, during and after you drink alcohol. Alternating each drink with a glass of water, you will at least attempt at keeping your body hydrated, to counterbalance the effects of the alcohol on your system. And after drinking, make sure to drink several glasses of water, to help hydrate you before you fall asleep.

  • Grandma says you're too skinny and you need to eat more! A full stomach slows down the absorption of alcohol, giving the body more time to process the alcohol. Fatty foods and carbohydrates are particularly known to increase this effect - so I say it's a good time to have a nice big bowl of Spaghetti with Sunday Gravy for lunch - but when you really think about it, is there ever a bad time for pasta?

    ...and don't forget breakfast! Breakfast isn't just one of my three favorite meals, it's the most important one. But we're adults here folks. Put away your sugar cereals with a prize at the bottom and get yourself a meal that includes eggs (for the cysteine), a banana (for the potassium), and fruit juice (for the fructose) - it does your body good, especially when drinking. Keep in mind that caffeinated coffee, tea and soda will further dehydrate a drinker.
  • Pace Yourself - It's a marathon, not a sprint. Drinking all day is an endurance event. Listening to your body is the most important thing: If it tells you, "I've had enough," well, you had a good run, but you need to stop, because you could do some serious damage. However, your body may send the message, "Just gimme another 15 minutes. I'm still working on that last one," in which case, game on. Respect those messages, though, and do your best to listen for them.

    Here's another great idea! If you've gotten to the point where you may want to sit out the next round, go attend some of the seminars. Every year, some of the top names in the drinks biz show up and share their knowledge with festival attendees. Whether you're learning a little bit about where all of that glorious rum comes from and how it's made, or the history of rum and how it has shaped the world (Don't let your teachers fool you, the Revolutionary War wasn't started over tea but rather another amber liquid), or what kinds of cocktails you can craft from it - your friends and family will be dazzled and amazed at the amount of knowledge you can amass at Rum Renaissance!
  • Dude, where's your car? Taxis and hotel rooms are just two of the many things cheaper than a DUI so do the smart thing and stay clear of the steering wheel (I won't go on here, this one's pretty obvious).
Overall, the most important thing here is to HAVE FUN! There's plenty to do, but you can't do it all so take your time (I say at least a two day pass is de rigueur), enjoy the festival, bring some old friends or make some new friends (rum drinkers can be amazingly friendly) and make sure you enjoy some rum!

Here is the official announcement:

2013 Miami Rum Festival Expands

Miami Rum Renaissance Festival, Miami Rum Festival, Miami RumFestMIAMI, FL -- The fifth annual Miami Rum Renaissance Festival -- the largest gathering of rum experts, professionals and enthusiasts in the world -- will span Monday, April 15 to Sunday, April 21, 2013 at the Doubletree by Hilton Miami Airport Convention Center. 

Last year, more than 8,000 rum enthusiasts attended the festival with 20,000 square feet of exhibit space. The new space spans 40,000 square feet, twice the size of last year's event. Festival organizers are preparing for 15,000 attendees.

In addition to a week-long series of VIP parties, tasting sessions and celebrity seminars, the rum festival brings together members of the esteemed International Rum Expert Panel (RumXPs) for their annual tasting competition.

Two full days of Grand Tasting events for the public will take place on Saturday and Sunday, April 20 and 21. More than 240 spirits from the Caribbean and beyond will be available for sampling, along with a selection of island-style cuisine.

New this year is a half-day exhibit session exclusively for the beverage trade on Friday, April 19. Liquor store buyers, food and beverage managers, bartenders and other spirits trade professionals will be invited to attend.

The Miami Rum Renaissance Festival attracts cane spirit products and brands from all over the globe. Companies large and small will be on hand to present their rums to a global gathering of experts, reporters, critics and consumers.

South Florida is regarded as the number one rum market in the world, with a high percentage of rum enthusiasts, liquor stores, bars and restaurants offering both popular and top-shelf luxury rum products to consumers.
According to event manager Robin Burr, the Miami Rum Fest has doubled in size each year, a testament to the fact that consumer interest in sugar cane spirits is growing faster than any other category of liquor.

"We're proud to say that our prediction of rum's resurgence in popularity was on the money," said Robert A. Burr, festival organizer and publisher of Rob's Rum Guide. "An incredible range of fine rums, from casual and fun mixers to luxurious top-shelf sipping rums will be on display. There is no better opportunity for the rum enthusiast to sample such a vast selection of spirits in one place."

Rum lovers can choose between $50 day passes to the grand tasting events and $65 VIP tickets that allow early access to the exhibits and complimentary tickets to the celebrity seminars. VIP ticket holders also enjoy access to a private area featuring complimentary cuisine and VIP cocktails.

For those that wish to participate in the entire week of VIP special opportunities, a $250 Executive VIP pass grants admission to all events.

For more information on the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival, activities planned during Miami Rum Week and exhibits at Miami Rum Fest, call 305-443-7973 or visit the web site at