Whether you are a cocktail connoisseur or simply fancy sampling something new, next month’s Cayman Cocktail Week is already stirring up plenty of interest.
“Basically, the week and all its associated events and happy hour happenings are a golden opportunity for the island’s restaurants and bartenders to showcase local cocktail culture using the best quality spirits and the freshest ingredients,” said Jo Austin, Jacques Scott brand manager.
Plenty of ice with that
“It will feature lots of memorable events and exciting experiences for those who enjoy going out and mixing it up a little,” she added.
One promotion that runs the entire week, Oct. 23-30, is Ortanique’s Caribbean Creations. The 4-7 p.m. happy hour deal not only gets you a slamming cocktail, but also a bite and, for a further $5, a fat Cuban cigar.
Organized by the island’s largest beer and wine distributors, the 2015 Cayman Cocktail Week currently has around 26 venues signed up. Tantalizing tipples and drinks specials will feature in a Cocktail Week menu available from Kaibo to West Bay’s Catch restaurant. Participating eateries and bars have full license to showcase their skills and cocktail creations.
“Many of them will be using seasonal produce from the local Farmers Market … And it’s a chance to try something different throughout October. Customers will be able to get some great savings on luxury cocktails,” suggested Austin.
“Cayman is slowly becoming more cocktail savvy, which means we can plan some really interesting events this year. A couple of years ago it would have been difficult to hold something like this, but these days more and more people are taking an interest in high-end spirits within the gin and even tequila categories,” she said.
As well as a host of happy hour specials to tickle the taste buds and tempt even ardent beer fans from their pints, Cocktail Week menus will offer a mix of classic cocktails and newer ones.
Just to shake things up a bit, this year, organizers are planning a warm-up/pre-Cocktail Week event. Muddled, hosted in Eduardo’s Barolo Lounge, is being billed as a fast-paced competition similar to “Chopped.” The cocktail version of the Food Network show is on Oct. 1 from 7-10 p.m. Tickets are $10 and include a free drink per guest.
With a basket of mystery ingredients, the event will test the ingenuity, skill and speed of some of the island’s best mixologists, under timed conditions, before a live audience who may get to sample some of the cocktail concoctions if there are enough to go around. “Think of it as a boozier version of ‘Chopped’ with similarly crazy ingredients,” said Austin.
The formal kickoff to this year’s Cocktail Week is a themed evening hosted by Icoa. The event, on Oct. 23, will add a New England twist to their popular Asian street food menu, offering an a la carte menu with fresh seafood dishes paired with lighter Ketel One and Champagne cocktails.
As with all of the signature week’s events, spaces are limited, so book early. The gin workshop at South West Collective, for instance, has already sold out.
On Oct. 24, foodies can take part in the Tequila & Tapas lunch at Casa 43. The intimate cantina-style restaurant boasts a well-stocked Tequila bar and will be offering a tapas tasting paired with high-quality flights (shots of three different brands of the spirit). Casa 43 will also host a brief introduction to the history of North America’s oldest distilled spirit. The standing room only lunch, from 12:30-2:30 p.m., is one of many ticketed events during the week and promises a lively, mariachi-infused atmosphere.
The main event of Cayman Cocktail Week is Agua Restaurant and Lounge’s Ernest Hemmingway Cocktail Dinner. The high-end, five-course menu will celebrate the author and adventurer, who besides being one of the region’s greatest literary figures, was an avid cocktail connoisseur.
Not only will each course be named after one of the author’s books, they will showcase the cuisine of the area in which the tome was set.
Of course, no Cayman Cocktail Week would be complete without a nod to the islands’ favorite spirit: rum. This year is no different. Appleton fans and the cocktail-curious are being given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to taste the oldest barrel-aged rum in the world. Priced at an eye-watering $3,500 a bottle, only 800 bottles were ever produced.
The Rare Rum Tasting, presided over by Appleton’s Master Blender Joyce Spence, will be held at Kaibo Upstairs on Oct. 30. Canapés and cocktails made from 12-year-old Appleton will be followed by a sit-down tasting with 12-, 21- and finally, 50 year-old rum. A water taxi will be available to ferry guests from Camana Bay at 6:30 p.m., returning at 10:30 p.m.
For full details of all Cayman Cocktail Week’s events, dinners and classes, visit the Facebook page or contact [email protected]