Cocktail Week: Mixology magic returns

On Grand Cayman, craft cocktails have become increasingly popular over the last few years, thanks in part to a number of bartender competitions like the Diageo Reserve World Class series.  To celebrate Cayman’s blossoming cocktail culture, Jacques Scott launched Cayman Cocktail Week in October 2013 in cooperation with several bars and restaurants.

Starting Thursday, Oct. 23, Cayman Cocktail Week returns with a series of events that will give visitors and residents a chance to sample the best cocktail experiences the island has to offer, said Jacques Scott’s Jo Austin, the coordinator of the 10-day event.

“Cayman Cocktail Week is a chance for us to showcase the talents of Cayman’s bartenders and also, let’s face it, to have a bit of fun,” she said.

This year’s Cayman Cocktail Week kicks off with a Red Lantern Happy Hour at Mizu in Camana Bay on Thursday, Oct. 23. The $20 ticket price includes two Asian-inspired cocktails featuring Moonstone sake, dim sum hors d’oeurvres and a red sky lantern to fly.

On Friday night, Oct. 24, Grand Old House will host Monte Carlo Casino Night where guests can use chips to play games like poker, roulette or craps, or to bet on video horse races, all to help raise money for a local charity. Game winnings can be used to bid for prizes in an auction at the end of the night. The $100 ticket includes casino chips, a welcome cocktail, and two hours of passed canapés. There will also be cocktail specials featuring Zacapa rum, Ketel One Vodka and Tanqueray gin all night long.

The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman is the venue for “A Fabulous Garden Party” on the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 25. There will be Champagne, Pimms punch, and Hendrick’s gin cocktails along with croquet and badminton on the lawn. Tickets are $75.

That evening, the action shifts to Barolo Lounge for a “Roaring 20s Speakeasy” with DJ Craig.

“You’ll need to know the password to get in, but look forward to a rip-roaring good time,” said Austin.

“Movies and Cocktails at Royal Palms” on Monday, Oct. 27 will feature a screening of the 1988 film “Cocktail” with Tom Cruise, while Grand Cayman’s best flair bartenders strut their stuff and create cocktails featuring Skyy Vodka and Appleton Rum.

The following evening, Tuesday, Oct. 28, will feature a tasting of Zacapa Rum at the Jacques Scott Fine Wines store on North Sound Road. On hand to lead the tasting will be Zacapa Rum global ambassador Rebecca Quinonez.

On Wednesday, Oct. 29, “Ciao Bella” will involve a contemporary Italian cocktail dinner at Agua Restaurant. Bartender Simon Crompton said Agua would be going back to its Italian roots for the event, which will cost $125 all inclusive.

For those looking for a less expensive choice on the evening of the 29th, “All for Rum and Rum for All – A Pirate’s Life for Me” will offer guests the experience of a sunset sail on the Jolly Roger with rum cocktails and finger-foods. Tickets for the two-and-a-half-hour cruise cost $30. Also that evening, Ortanique Restaurant will host a Caribbean Happy Hour featuring cocktails, appetizers and cigars.

The Cayman Cocktail Week action moves to Cayman Kai on Thursday, Oct. 30, with a “Connoisseur’s Rum Tasting” at the Kaibo Upstairs Restaurant. A water taxi will be available for those who want transportation to and from the Seven Mile Beach area.
Friday, Oct. 31 brings Halloween and “Shocktails and Screams!” at Abacus and Karoo at Camana Bay. There will be live music, Halloween shots and a photo booth at Karoo.

Cayman Cocktail Week winds up on Saturday, Nov. 1 with “Cheeky Tiki” at South West Collective on the harbor front in George Town. Starting at 4pm, the luau-style event will feature tropical cocktails, a pig roast and games. This event, like others during the week will highlight several fresh, local ingredients, Austin said.

“As farm-to-table dining has become more recognized in Cayman, so should the use of locally sourced ingredients for cocktails,” she said. “The bartender is a chef behind the bar these days.”