The fifth annual Bartenders’ Brawl was held on October 25th in conjunction with the Aruba Tourism’s Eat Local Restaurant Month. The event, originally created by Island Temptations, was hosted and produced by the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, and held on Festival Plaza at the Renaissance Marketplace. The chic event showcased seven of Aruba’s top bartenders impressing a sold-out crowd with their original craft cocktail creations.
Aruba’s local spirit distributors were the essential collaborators to make this event happen—supplying all the liquor and necessary ingredients to produce these exciting libations for attendees of the event to enjoy. Renaissance’s culinary team fueled guests with savory noshes like roast beef sliders, mini vegetarian tacos, BBQ glazed beef ribs, and a tempting dessert trolley, while local deejay extraordinaire Jason, provided an upbeat, retro audial backdrop to the festivities.
This year, the People’s Choice cocktail, was selected by a panel of Instagram influencers from the USA Nathalie Migliarini, and Kimberly King with Enrique Balestrini, from Aruba; a panel of professional judges selected the Judge’s Choice, Chef proprietor Urvin Croes, White Modern Cuisine, General Manager, Divi Resorts, Ferry Zievinger, and teacher in EPB’s culinary program Orlin Geerman.
All bartenders were challenged with the inclusion of one locally grown/made ingredient into their creations.
Receiving the most points and earning the Instagram influencers’ award, Elephant in the Room, an Ophir Gin-based cocktail by Bartender Carlos Perez, of Azia Restaurant, representing Pepia Est. Among local cocktail ingredients Aloe juice and a homemade cardamom syrup.
Second place winner by the Instagram Influencers was Jamaican Spritz, an Appelton Estate Rum-based, forced carbonated cocktail by Bartender Nathan Schwengle of the Apotheek, representing Aruba Trading Company. Among interesting ingredient, a local remedy, Stroop di Calbas and lime.
Third Place winner, Bumxotic, a Bumbu Rum-based cocktail by Bartender Emilia Lopez Henriquez, of the Ritz Carlton’s Casa Nonna restaurant, representing Divino NV. Among local cocktail ingredients the fiery Madame Janette Pica di Papaya, lime, basil, mango and passion fruit puree.
The professional judges’ favorite, and first place winner, was the Jamaican Spritz, an Appelton Estate Rum-based, forced carbonated, cocktail by Bartender Nathan Schwengle of the Apotheek, representing Aruba Trading Company, with the local Stroop di Calbas remedy, and Lime. All judges complimented the level of difficulty overcome, by balancing the bitterish taste of the gourd.
In second place, Tropical Guava & Berry, a spicy Ron Tropical-based cocktail, by Bartender Merly Cardenas, Renaissance Blue Bar, representing Aruba Trading Company. Among local ingredients, a rare Caribbean medicinal berry, made into a syrup, spiced with cloves.
In third place the Elephant in the Room, the Ophir Gin-based cocktail by Bartender Carlos Perez, of Azia Restaurant, representing Pepia Est. Among local cocktail ingredients Aloe juice and a homemade cardamom syrup.
Other craft cocktails included Magnolia, a Don Valente Handcrafted Tequila-based cocktail by Bartender Michael Gomez, of the Apotheek, representing J&G Trading. Among local ingredients dried and pressed Hibiscus flowers, lime and Moringa flowers.
Ginger, a Bacardi Ginger-based cocktail by Bartender Danny Kock, of Moomba Beach Bar representing Tropical Bottling. Among local ingredients the island’s popular Coco Rico soda pop, Pica Di Papaya, lime and rosemary.
Caribbean Heat, a Diplomatico Planta Rum-based cocktail by Bartender John Fredwill Vivas from Craft, representing La Cava. Among ingredients passion fruit purée and homemade orange liquor with basil.
Patia La Mia, a Fair Quinoa Vodka-based cocktail by Bartender Janice Martinus, of Hoya Lush cafe, representing Manrique Capriles. Among ingredients, local homemade kiwi & habanero syrup.
The team at Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino under the leadership of Food & Beverage Director Diego Lemasson, and Island Temptations were proud to provide a venue for Aruba’s talented bartenders to showcase their creativeness and further elevate the island’s growing craft cocktail scene. Cheers to all the bartenders and distributors that helped make this a dynamic evening!
Nathalie Migliarini of Beautiful Booze invited by ATA & RenAruba
Kimberly King @kimberlyj_king, a culinary & travel fanatic partnered with RenAruba
Enrique Balestrini @evbalestrini, from Aruba
Local professional judges:
Chef proprietor Urvin Croes, White Modern Cuisine, Ferry Zievinger, General Manager, Divi Resorts, and Orlin Geerman, director of EPB’s culinary program.
Thank you members of the USA media who covered the event for Eat Local month:
Keith Langston – www.passportmagazine.com
Allison Tibaldi-CNN Travel (Freelancer)
Davina Sutton- www.coffeewithamerica.com
Jen Smith- DailyMail.com
Morgan Mandriota- Betches (Freelancer)
Rebecca Michelle Glasser-Baker – www.metro.us
Zeno Reps: Mila Ortiz and Casey Hamilton
Thanks to ATA Rep: Amayra Boekhoudt
Special thanks to local panel of guests
Event page is active on social, https://www.facebook.com/events/423677778239917/