Audio slideshow flashback: Hukilau 2011 cocktail contest was a Barrel of fun

The 2012 Hukilau will be held Thursday through Sunday, April 19-22, at The Mai-Kai and several Fort Lauderdale beachside hotels. Official sites: | Facebook

Previous flashbacks: 2010 party features Shag | Los Straitjackets highlight 2009
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Hukilau 2011

It seems like every year The Hukilau comes up with a new twist on the concept of a Tiki-themed weekend party. You never know what great band or special event will surprise and entertain you. With this year’s event fast approaching – it kicks off Thursday and runs through Sunday – now’s the time to scour the schedule for cool and unique happenings.

Last year, one of the highlights took place on Thursday night, June 9, during the kickoff party at the Bahia Cabana Beach Resort. Five tropical drink mixologists faced off in the Master Mixologist Rum Barrel Challenge to see who could impress a who’s who of rum experts with their own take on the classic cocktail made famous at The Mai-Kai.

The contest was held live on stage following the night’s musical performances and certainly lived up to its billing. It was hosted by tropical drink author and guru Jeff “Beachbum” Berry and judged by his hand-picked Rum Rat Pack, four of the most noted experts in the field. The five contestants were given 7 minutes each to prepare their creations for the judges. What ensued was a rum-soaked flurry of mixology and creativity that impressed the judges and entertained hundreds in attendance.

Click here or on the images above and below to take a look back at this action-packed contest. Then click on the play button and be sure to turn up your speakers!

Hukilau 2011 audio slideshow: Master Mixologist Rum Barrel Challenge

Click here for a full recap of the competition, which was won by Joe Desmond of New York’s Famous Rhum Rhum Room (Joe and wife Nicole’s home bar) with his out-of-this-world concoction, The Moon Barrel. Runners-up were Grady Johnson, Blair Frodelius, Pablus, and George Jenkins. The judges were UK Rumfest organizer Ian Burrell, Smuggler’s Cove owner Martin Cate, author Wayne Curtis and rum historian Stephen Remsberg.

More on Hukilau 2011
‘Rum Rat Pack’ starts a revolution at Hukilau 2011 | Full coverage

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The Rum Barrel: The Rodney Dangerfield of tropical drinks

About Hurricane Hayward

A professional journalist and Florida resident for more than 30 years, Jim "Hurricane" Hayward shares his obsession with Polynesian Pop and other retro styles on his blog, The Atomic Grog. Jim's roots in mid-century and reto culture go back to his childhood in the 1960s, when he tagged along with his parents to Tiki restaurants and his father's custom car shows. His experience in journalism, mixology, and more than 20 years as an independent concert promoter make him a jack-of-all-trades in the South Florida scene. A graduate of the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications, Jim is a longtime web producer for The Palm Beach Post. In his spare time, he has promoted hundreds of rock, punk, and indie concerts under the Slammie Productions name since the early 1990s. In 2011, he launched The Atomic Grog to extensively cover events, music, art, cocktails, and culture with a retro slant. Jim earned his nickname by virtue of both his dangerous exotic drinks and his longtime position producing The Post's tropical weather website.
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