Last weekend I spent the evening at Hope Botanical Gardens in Kingston for the second annual staging of the Jamaica Rum Festival.
The Jamaica Rum festival presented by Appleton Estate launched in 2019 as an event celebrating and showcasing the islands best in rum over two days. This year the festival was held from February 29 to March 1 with the same fanfare of the year before.
Born out of Jamaica’s rich history in rum-making the Jamaica Rum festival was destined to win.
This years staging of the Jamaica rum festival offered rum tasting, seminars & workshops and live musical performances.
Jamaica Rum Festival was designed and decorated beautifully with lush greenery walls and LED screens lighting the entryways between the food village and main stage. Special kudos to the marketing team who made it all possible! The perfect Instagrammable event. Vendor booths were also decorated in theme. And I can’t forget the food village with all your favourite food trucks.
My Jamaica Rum Festival Experience
I attended day one of the rum festival and though the scheduled start time was 1 the weather in Kingston was rainy. I had already decided I wanted to be at hope gardens at about 4:30 so I wasn’t bothered by the rain.
Fast forward to 4:30 and I was running and it seemed everyone had the same idea as me because I got stuck in traffic only a few meters away from the venue.
After an extra 30-45 minutes in traffic and parking at the neighboring university of technology I was finally inside the venue and it was stunning.
I had the opportunity to attend #jarumfest as a media partner. Woot woot! Upon entering the venue with my armband passes I got my complimentary tumbler and a new Appleton Estate tote to add to my collection of useful branded paraphernalia. It’s safe to say this tote will be seeing it’s fair share of sandy beaches in the near future.
Being the foodie that I am I made a beeline for the food. Fortunately food was easy to find. Popular restaurants and food trucks blended together for an outdoor food court experience. Though there were plenty food options with a full venue the food lines were long. I managed to find a not so long line at my favorite food truck, Pink Apron though.
On the menu was their famous loaded nachos and a sandwich called Mac jam bam. They were all out of nachos and I was famished so I opted for the sandwich and boy did I enjoy it! Easily the best sandwich I’ve ever had. I had no idea I’d enjoy Mac and cheese in a sandwich as much as I did that Saturday. It was absolutely delicious. I could’ve ordered two more.
It was so good I strongly considered returning on day two of the festival just to try the mac jam bam again.
After my sandwich I went in search of rum samples. As part of the experience entry to the rum festival included a branded tumbler and 4 drink chits. Each chit allowed me to sample a brand of rum. I got a Rumbar chit, a Sangster’s chit and two wild cards. First stop was Rum bar where I sampled the rum cream.
The Rum Bar rum cream had a kick to it, it wasn’t as creamy as I’d like but it was enjoyable. On the other hand Sangster’s rum cream was creamy, rich and decadent. I didn’t use my wild cards.
At this point I noticed the samples were smaller than I anticipated, only offering two ounces.
I quickly realized that in order to fully indulge in the festivities I had to purchase my own drinks. I decided to put my new tumbler to use and get my own rum mix.
When the performances started and it was time to face the stage asks watch the show. Rum mix ready and tumbler in hand, I was ready. The line up delivered on entertainment. Mortimer and Protoje stand out in my mind even as I write this, they stole the show in my opinion. The evening of night one also saw performances from Bugle, Sevana, Naomi Cowan, Ding Dong Ravers, Spragga Benz, Lila Ike and Jaz Elise.
At the end I was happy I was able to attend this year’s Rum Festival and I’m looking for it’s continued success.
Cheers! We are rum people!
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