Thursday, July 18, 2024

Tiki Rum Festival comes to Belize


Belizean bartenders and mixologists got to learn from the masters, when the Belize Tourist Board and 501 Hub hosted the first-ever Belize International Tiki Festival at the Princess Ramada Hotel in Belize City from Thursday through Saturday, October 24-26.
Emir Sosa, the winner of the BTB Bartender of the Year 2018 competition, explained that over 150 bartenders have registered to participate in the event. Six visiting mixologists from Peru, Venezuela, Spain, U.S.A., Honduras, and Uruguay conducted seminars for local bartenders. The Festival culminated with Tiki bartender cocktail competitions from noon to 4:00 Saturday evening.
Marcelo Del Valle, owner of La Terraza Tiki in Miami, Florida USA, has been bartending for over 27 years and was in Belize to share his expertise with the locals. He has created several title drinks over the years, including the Siete Besos, which is concocted from seven different spirits, and the Mojito Americano, which uses cilantro.
Parce Rums of Armenia, Colombia, was one of the principal sponsors, and Parce’s founder-owner Brian Powers was in Belize to promote his line of rums. Established in 2012, Parce Rums now exports to over 16 countries. Powers claimed his rums are so smooth they can be drunk without any mixer except ice, as they have been aged in whiskey casks for three, eight, and up to 12 years.
Oriol Elias of Barcelona, Spain, was the least likely candidate to become a bartender since he began his career as a graphic designer. But he got so into it, that he has spent the past ten years as a bartender creating new cocktails, and the past two years traveling the globe, promoting Tiki cocktails and a brand ambassador for the Tiki Rum Fest. He also served as one of the judges for the bartending competition.
Gaston Santandreu of Uruguay has been a bartender for little more than a year but has since left bartending to serve as a promoter of the Tiki Festival, which is still a novel idea in Uruguay, and neighboring Argentina.
Other sponsors of the event included Rapidito Loans, the Princess Ramada Hotel and Casino, Real Syrups, Flor de Caña, Appleton, and North Park Hotel.

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