The 2018 finals of the Caribbean Tourism Organization’s Rum Rumble – a competition that pits Mmxologists against each other – was a competitive battle of the sexes that reconfirms exemplary Caribbean culinary skills and effort.
It was of a high standard, well received and applauded both by tourism officials and representatives and the large number of after work patrons who mingled as they moved from station to station sampling the many tastes and twists of Caribbean food and drink and listening or dancing to the music of the DJ’s, until 11 p.m.
Truth be told, Rum Rumble is the climax of a series of promotional mixologist competitions organized by the CTO as part of the annual Caribbean Week in New York. This year the competition was part of the entertainment of the Rum and Rhythm Benefit.
Just after 8 p.m. the music paused, and the Master of Ceremonies introduced the judges and the two finalists and explained the rules of the competition:
“This is a blind competition. These finalists do not know what is in the mystery basket. As they make their cocktails, they will tell you what they are making. The cocktail must have a name and include Cayman Islands rum. The Cayman Islands Tourist Board sponsored this competition,” he explained.
First, Barbadian Antoine Phillip and then Garelle Menos, a Haitian living and working in Miami, created cocktails from a mystery basket containing herbs, fruits, spices, and rum.
Spontaneously, the impromptu effort of the finalists – especially an animated and talkative Antoine – tempted and teased the tastes of patrons, who moved up close to take pictures of the performances with their cell phones.
Later, it was announced that Phillip Antoine is the Mixologist of the Year and will travel to the Cayman Islands on his prize trip.
Meanwhile, as has now become customary, the Barbados Tourist Board’s food and drink stations: food – Lamb Stew by Craig Greenidge and Sade Farrell; drinks – Mango Cocktail by Philip Antoine had long lines throughout the night.
Additionally, Barbadian Jason Howard – the chef for the Awards Banquet which honoured tourism and media professionals on Thursday evening – had a CTO sponsored station at the affair. Howard presented chili salt fish with corn roasted sweet potato mash, avocado salam, and herb oil.
The Rum & Rhythm benefit reconnected immigrants from the Caribbean to their roots, their Caribbean experiences and cultural diversity.
The benefit is held on the first Friday of June and proceeds from this event assist students completing studies in Tourism.
(Walter Edey, a retired educator and author, is an advocate of structural thinking as an alternative to problem-solving.
E MAIL: werus2642 @ gmail.com)