Smooth: Bruce Barritt said one of the highlights of the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival is a 'Chopped' sort of competition where bartenders get a basket full of ingredients, including Barritt&rsquo;s Ginger Beer, and they have to come up with a coktail on the fly. <em>*Photo by Kageaki Smith</em>
Smooth: Bruce Barritt said one of the highlights of the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival is a 'Chopped' sort of competition where bartenders get a basket full of ingredients, including Barritt’s Ginger Beer, and they have to come up with a coktail on the fly. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

FRIDAY, JAN. 25: What’s not to like in this scenario: Miami, rum and Barritt’s Ginger Beer?

The Miami Rum Renaissance Festival is slated for April 15 to 23 and the iconic Bermuda soft drink will literally be mixing it up with the likes of Bacardi, Captain Morgan, and DonQ at the event.

Bruce Barritt, general manager for Barritt’s, said his company takes part through its US distributor, but he has participated in several of the Rum Festivals.

“We have a US firm that handles our brand in that market and they have been supporting the Miami Rum Renaissance for several years now. They also exhibit at a variety of other spirits and cocktail events. They have a very aggressive sampling and cocktail support programme going on.”

He said this was a prime event to help market the Barritt’s Ginger Beer brand.

Staggering

“Of course, ginger beer naturally goes with rum so this just makes sense. I’ve been twice to help work their sampling booth and be a part of the proceedings.”

Mr Barritt said this is a fun event — as it’s not every day you can wander around taste a variety of different rums.

“The range of rums is quite staggering. It’s not just the big brands, but you also have the craft rum guys; there’s people who make rum in the US; there’s people who make rum in Madagascar and all kinds of different islands.

“As a spirit, rum is enjoying quite a resurgence. There’s a renewed interest in it and events like this just help increase that.”

While there is no category for soft drinks to mix with the rums, Barritt’s is on hand to showcase its taste and versatility with the various brands.

Mr Barritt said his company has a booth with the Ginger Beer and Diet Ginger Beer “and bottles of about every rum that’s available. People will stop by and go ‘What booth is this? You’ve got Cruzan. You’ve got Bacardi. You got Flor de Cana.’

“We tell them ‘We’re Barritt’s Ginger Beer.’

“’Ahhh – mix me a drink!’.”

He said it shows the versatility of the soft drink being able to mix with any of the rums.

“There’s a real interest with craft cocktails — muddling with various herbs, using fresh fruits and fresh squeezed juices.”

He said one of the highlights is a speed competition run along the lines of the TV show Chopped on the Food Network, but instead of getting a basket full of food, the bartenders get a box full of ingredients, which includes Barritt’s Ginger Beer, and they have to make a cocktail out of it.

Mr Barritt was impressed with what they came up with.

“You get in the cauldron of creativity with someone who is a mixologist and see  how they present it with the glass they put it in and the garnishes — it is a fascinating and fun event.”

He said it harkens back to the days “when the person who is creating them is almost like a chef. They are doing amazing things.”