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Miami Rum Renaissance Festival Showcases the Rums of the World

By Marina I. Jokic

Rum is the drink of choice for many people and the staple ingredient in countless cocktails. Rum-infused elixirs remind us of pristine, tropical islands and warm rays of sunshine. The Miami Rum Renaissance Festival celebrates the drink by bringing together producers, distributors, retailers, and consumers to bask in the flavors and richness of different varieties of rums. It's an elaborate affair with many events from seminars to tasting competitions, drawing upward of 10,000 people each year.

People come from all over the U.S. to experience exceptional rums not only from its proverbial home, the Caribbean, but also from North, Central and South America, Europe, and Asia. Many are surprised at the sheer variations and subtleties of flavors that exist in disparate regions of the world.

Robert Burr, Organizer and Host of the festival, is an avid fan of the drink and has extensive experience traveling to rum-producing regions around the globe. "A decade ago, we began to find more of these rums on the shelves of local liquor stores and we predicted the upcoming renaissance of rum in the United States," Burr says.

Burr's love for scuba diving takes him to the most exotic and wonderful places. He even published his experiences in the local Fisheye View Scuba Magazine. This wanderlust led to the discovery of tropical islands whose residents had mastered the art of brewing rum in various styles and categories. The more he traveled, the more Burr's fascination with the drink grew.

Because he foresaw the impending popularity of rum in the states, Burr mobilized a number of producers, distributors and retailers in order to bring the complexity, history, and beauty of this beverage to the average consumer as well as to expert collectors. The Miami Rum Renaissance Festival was the realization of Burr's vision, and took root in a most suitable location.

"We present seminars about rum, we invite producers from around the world to display their spirits, we invite rum experts from around the world to gather for the international tasting competition," points out Burr. It's a rare opportunity for the community of rum producers to showcase their best work to the wider public. The festival also has an important educational element, which informs people about the process of production, from picking the sugar cane to fermenting to aging in oak barrels.

Newcomers will be delighted at the incredible variety of rums to sample. It's a journey across almost all rum-producing countries. "It's a trip around the world- a rum safari, a spirited journey without packing your bags," says Burr. What's more, you can pace yourself and really take your time and indulge in learning the history of rum as well as sampling and noticing delicate differences.

The Rum seminars showcase the many styles of rum, from the Cachaças of Brazil and the Rhums Agricoles of Martinique to the Clairins of Haiti and the rums of Cuba. "We explore the many new craft spirits made across America, the rums of the British Navy, the history of Overproof rums," Burr adds.

There are seminars on the styles of distilleries, the methods of aging rum in barrels, and the art of blending rum. You can also learn about the right way to taste rums, how to set up a tiki bar at home, and, most importantly, delicious rum cocktail and baking recipes.

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About The Author

Marina Jokic holds a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College in Russian and East...

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