The Delfins Beach Resort in Bonaire.
Eat & Play

In Bonaire, a Celebration of Caribbean Rum and a New Culinary Movement 

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - June 22, 2023

Bonaire Rum Week was back again in full force for its second annual edition, with world-class rum companies heading to the Dutch Caribbean island for a truly unforgettable week. 

The event was a sign of just how far Bonaire has come as a destination, transcending what is already some of the best diving and snorkeling in the Caribbean and coming into its own as a new regional culinary power. 

That was clear at every event, from dining at the three-Michelin-star-pedigreed Brass Boer to an exquisite oceanfront rum-pairing lunch at the Harbour Village Beach Club. 

Bonaire Rum Week 2023 was even bigger and better than our inaugural edition last year,” said Alexander Britell, editor and publisher of Caribbean Journal, which organized the event in collaboration with Tourism Corporation Bonaire. “Bonaire has become a true culinary capital in the Caribbean, and this week shone the spotlight on all of the delights on the island for foodies and spirits lovers alike.”

The Rum on the Beach party at Plaza Resort.

“Once again we can look back at a successful Bonaire Rum Week, this year we had more partners join, and also had the Taste of Bonaire as the closing event,” said Miles Mercera, CEO of Tourism Corporation Bonaire. “Without a doubt, Bonaire was put in the spotlight for its amazing food and rum,” said Miles Mercera, CEO of Tourism Corporation Bonaire.

The event kicked off with a VIP event by Siesta Key Rum at CHEFS, the culinary experience at the Bamboo Bonaire resort that has become one of most acclaimed restaurant concepts in the region. 

That was followed by the Grand Opening at Bonaire’s top cocktail bar, Rum Runners at Captain Don’s Habitat, which saw a host of rum brands led by Papa’s Pilar serving up premium sips with a Cuban son soundtrack. 

The opening party at Rum Runners.

Then came the uber-popular Rum on the Beach at Plaza Beach and Dive Resort, where hundreds of aficionados joined one another for a classic beachfront rum party and sampled rum like Ron San Pablo, Belc Rum, Island Company Rum, Barcelo, Dutch Head and Clifton Estate.

Island Company Rum was named Best Gold Rum of Bonaire Rum Week.

That evening, the island’s exceptional new La Casa del Habano played host to an evening of Cuban rum, featuring rare brands like Caney and Varadero and a world-class band focused on Cuban classics. 

Richard Sutton and his daughter came back for the second time to Bonaire Rum Week.

The week also included a high-level rum pairing lunch led by Chef Rodrigo Sanchez at the Harbour Village Beach Club, with multiple courses paired with an exquisite selection of rums from Guyana’s El Dorado and Venezuela’s El Dorado. 

The Undersea Rum Hunt at the Buddy Dive Resort.

New for this year was the Undersea Rum Hunt, which saw nearly three dozen divers head underwater at the Buddy Dive Resort to look for marked stones corresponding with bottles of rum back on land. The winners received their prizes in a ceremony at the Buddy Dive Rum Happy Hour the following day. 

The winners of the Undersea Rum Hunt.

The week also included a happy hour at the lovely sunset deck at the Divi Flamingo Resort. 

It all culminated with a multi-course pairing at the Brass Boer, featuring all of the festival rums and an energetic DJ set in a location right on the ocean’s edge. 

A son band performs in downtown Kralendijk.

“Whether you love rum or you just want a high-end Caribbean getaway, this just about the perfect week,” Britell said. 

Attendees at the Brass Boer final dinner.

Bonaire Rum Week also announced its festival winners, led by the Brass Boer, which took home the crown as the Best Rum Cocktail in Bonaire for its Caribbean Dream cocktail. 

Harbour Village Beach Club’s La Balandra played host to the rum lunch.

Papa’s Pilar Rye Finish was named Best Aged Rum; Siesta Key Rum was named Best Spiced Rum; Island Company Rum was named Best Gold Rum; and Pilar also took home the crown as Best Overall Rum Brand

This year’s Rum Week also saw a “Rum Row” at the Taste of Bonaire event downtown.

“We are proud to host the top rum events in the Caribbean, and excited for what’s next,” said Guy Britton, executive Vice President and managing editor of Caribbean Journal, which also organizes the annual Caribbean Rum Awards St Barth, the world’s most exclusive rum competition and a week of rum events set on the Caribbean’s most glamorous island. 

This year’s Caribbean Rum Awards St Barth runs from Oct. 31-Nov. 4. 

For more, visit the Caribbean Rum Awards St Barth

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