Rum aficionados rejoice as the third annual Rum Renaissance Festival kicks off tonight with Zombie Jamboree at the Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale. this evening, it's all about the famous Zombie cocktail. Tiki torches and free flowing DonQ cocktails mark the beginning of a week of events focused on this distilled beverage made from sugarcane.
Then on Monday, the Deauville Beach resort in North Beach will be transformed into a treasure trove of rums from around the world as festival-goers immerse themselves in both rum and the culture that surrounds it. During the rest of the week, there will events at the Palms Hotel, Tobacco Road, Soho Beach House and the Delano.
The festival features a range of fine rums from the Caribbean region, North, Central and South America, and around the world.
Robert Burr, festival founder known as Mr. Rum, discovered his love of rum while traveling through the Caribbean with his wife Robin. Avid scuba divers, the two explored beautiful reefs and sunken wrecks while enjoying local rums at every port. "Turns out every island makes the best rum, and they are more than happy to prove it" says Burr.
Thus began his fascination with the stuff- as well as an impressive collection. "Over the past decades, I've been collecting fine rums and developing a greater appreciation for the unique cultures I've encountered on my travels".
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Back in 2006 Burr predicted a rum renaissance and he's published a free Gifted Rums Guide to help convert novices. He'll tell you that rum has by far the most range of any spirit, from dark and spicy to clear and clean. "Rum will surprise and delight you beyond your expectations."
He expects to to draw 3500 attendees to VIP parties, tastings and the highly anticipated international Rum Expert Panel, known as Rum XP, evaluating more than 100 nominated spirits during a blind tasting.
Tickets to the Grand Tasting Event are available for $25 per day. VIP passes that grand full access to all rum parties and grand tastings are $250 each. For more info visit www.rumrenaissance.com.