By Lindsey Turnbull
2017 marks the fifth year that Cayman has celebrated the art of the cocktail with Cayman Cocktail Week, offering cocktail lovers seven days of events and signature drinks to enjoy at a variety of great bars and restaurants around the island, taking place from 20 to 27 October.
Mixology (the art of creating great cocktails) has come a long way in terms of levels of sophistication and complexity of cocktails now available and, in Cayman Cocktail Week, Cayman’s talented bartenders have the perfect vehicle in which to showcase their talents.
Participating restaurants all had exciting and enticing Cayman Cocktail Week cocktail menus, giving guests the chance to sample their signature blends for themselves. Because of the diverse backgrounds of Cayman’s bartenders, who come from all over the world, guests were able to sample some authentic cocktails from far and wide, adding an exciting dimension to the week’s festivities.
At The Wharf’s Ports of Call bar, bartender Edgar Perez stuck to his Cuban roots with his Wharf Mojito, filled with Havana 7 rum, sweet and sour, soda water and topped with a guava puree for his own signature twist on the classic. His other favourite cocktail for the week was his Berry Bliss, using fresh muddled berries, a mixed berry puree, Grey Goose vodka, soda water and Grey Gosling ginger beer, for a refreshing cocktail with a fruity zing.
At Anchor & Den at the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, they celebrated the fact that they currently have two Italian bartenders – Luca Minusola from Palermo in Sicily and Alisa Zaino from Milan. As a result, they held an amazing culinary tour of Italy – Il Mercatino - along with some great Italian cocktails, which was a sold out event. Their speciality cocktail also had an Italian focus.
“Our Cayman Cocktail Week cocktails are all variations of the Negroni,” Luca explained. “The Negroni is made with Campari and vermouth and is drunk as an aperitif in Italy, or after dinner as a digestif. However, Negronis from Palermo, where I come from are quite different from the ones drunk where Alisa is from, in Milan.”
In addition to the great cocktails at each individual restaurant and bar, Backroom Cocktail Bar had an opening Gatsby-themed cocktail party complete with jazz music, while the King’s Head pub in Camana Bay hosted a Tanqueray ‘Take-over’ for gin lovers against a soul music backdrop. Craft Food & Beverage Co gave guests the chance to craft their own Caesars and Bloody Marys, while Karoo held its own Bulleit Brunch with a Bulleit Bourbon bar. The Ritz-Carlton hosted an ‘all you need to know about tequila’ evening with Don Julio Master Distiller, Enrique De Colsa, the Westin Lobby Bar’s bartenders helped you craft the best margarita and a ‘Bond’-themed Cayman Cocktail Tour took guests to four surprise destinations, beginning and ending at Barolo Lounge.
The week also hosted a really important event for the hospitality industry, the Culinary Awards of Excellence and Trade Show and Bartender competition, which took place on Wednesday 25th October at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.