Raising a glass to virtual cocktail hour in the Caribbean

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Caribbean Bartender of the Year in 2019 Jurnick Merced of Curacao, who was one of the featured guests on the fourth session of "Limin wid Taste."
Caribbean Bartender of the Year in 2019 Jurnick Merced of Curacao, who was one of the featured guests on the fourth session of "Limin wid Taste."

Caribbean food and beverage industry aficionados have been raising their glasses every Friday evening since mid-May to toast the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association's (CHTA) new "Limin' wid Taste" expositions by some of the region's leading mixologists.

The series is a virtual addition to the annual Taste of the Caribbean culinary competition, food and beverage exchange and cultural showcase, which Covid-19 derailed this year.

Since 1993, the Caribbean's best chefs and culinary teams have converged on the event to demonstrate their skills and offer the public an exhibit of the culinary treats of the islands.

During each "Limin' wid Taste" session, a featured bartender showcases three drinks: "Cocktail @ Home," a drink that can be stirred and shaken at home; "The New Norm," a beverage that can be created in a post-Covid world, and a "Reimagined Cocktail," an award-winning Taste cocktail from a previous year's competition.

"We're pleased with the reach of our Friday sessions, which highlight Taste of the Caribbean's role as facilitator of professional development for the food and beverage community," said Vanessa Ledesma, COO of CHTA.

One session was led by Trinidad and Tobago's Raakesh Madoo, a university lecturer in Trinidad, who hosted a discussion of classic cocktails and the evolution of mixology.

In another session, Jamaal Bowen of Barbados took viewers on a journey focused on local ingredients and relationships with local farmers.

In session four, Bahamian Marv Cunningham talked about the importance of training in the culinary and mixology worlds, followed by Jurnick Merced from Curacao, named Bartender of the Year in 2019, who explored culinary tourism.

Coming up on June 5 is Shana Rajahram, the 2018 Hall of Famer from Trinidad and Tobago, who will examine the role of women in mixology. Ira Claxton of the U.S. Virgin Islands will focus on brand development on June 12.

"Limin' wid Taste" takes place live on the CHTA's Facebook page on Fridays at 5 p.m. Eastern.

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