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Record Numbers Swell Key West Bacchanalia III

The 3rd annual Key West Bacchanalia which quickly became the best festival for spirits, wine and food, last week had mile long lines going down Duval Street waiting to enter the Rums of Puerto Rico Grand Tasting Village at Rick’s – perfect venue, perfect weather, perfect crowd! Celebrities in the field of Mixology, Enology and Culinary Arts joined the Bacchanalia to eat, drink and make merry – no pretensions here as everyone partied joyously. Darrell Gwynn, whose Foundation the festival benefits, joined the festivities as well. “Key West Bacchanalia and its founders have been great supporters of the Darrell Gwynn Foundation and its mission to support people with paralysis,” said Darrell Gwynn, president of DGF. “Over the years they have generated funds and created valuable awareness for our cause. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Key West Bacchanalia, a wonderful event that will grow bigger every year and continue to generate greater contributions to the Darrell Gwynn Foundation.”

Celebrity Cook-off dinner competition took place at the spectacular Hurricane Hole Restaurant and Marina with splendid views and ol’Key West character. Celebrity Cook-off dinner – Dive then Dine the Vandenberg sponsored by the best diving store in the world – Divers Direct - united tons of divers and snorkelers from around the country!
This year marked the very first year the local Key West Chef won the Celebrity Cook-off! Congratulations to Chef Tim Hadley of the Hurricane Hole who handily defeated Chef Adrianne Calvo of Miami, with his innovative fusion of the Que-influenced comfort food with sophisticated touch and local theme.

The Burger Wars overall winner once again goes to Howie Kleinberg of Bulldog BBQ in North Miami. Best Key West Burger award goes to the team of Blackfin Bistro and the best South Beach Burger to Cheeseburger Baby.

Ribera del Duero wines spiced up the Grand Tasting village bringing the charm and elegance of Spain – many thanks!

Lynnette Rodriguez of ABC Bartending School, Miami took the first price in Rums of Puerto Rico Mixolgogy Competition with her creation of the Bacchanalia 2012 official cocktail. Please visit for recipes and photos.

Sunday’s Team Key West (Norman and Justin Van Aken) vs Team Miami (Howie “Bulldog” Kleinberg) was a tie as the best BBQ in the world went toe-to-toe using Certified Angus Beef. Everyone was a winner enjoying these unforgettable presentations with cold cocktails presented by Rums of Puerto Rico, George Dickel Tennessee Whisky and Blue Point Beer at the world famous Hog’s Breath Saloon.

ABC Bartending School Founder Mark Drobiarz with his experts and students made sure everyone had a great time and all the events ran smoothly.

Here are the winners of the prestigious Bacchus Trade Awards 2012:
Don Q  Pasion
Ron del Barrilito Tres Estrellas
Zacapa Rum
10 Cane Rum
Best Chateau: Chateau D’Esclans (Whispering Angel Rose wine)
George Dickel Tennessee Whisky
Best wine region – Ribera del Duero
Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
Sweet Revenge (category: new product)
Tito’s Vodka
Blue Point Hoptical Illusion beer
Jameson Irish Whisky
Beefeater Gin
Don Q Limon
Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut sparkling wine
Enate Crianza (Somontano, Spain) red wine
Valduero Crianza 2007 (Ribera del Duero, Spain) red wine
Los Cantos de Torremilanos 2008 (Ribera del Duero, Spain) red wine
Molinari Sambuca and Molinari Sambuca Caffé
Fragoli wild strawberry liqueur
CIAO wine, Bianco, semi sparkling, Italy
Cabot Cheese
Certified Angus Beef

Special thanks go to our preferred hotels:
The Banyan Resort
Southernmost Hotel Collection
Key Ambassador Resort Inn
The Curry Mansion Inn
Doubletree by Hilton Grand Key Resort
Seascape Inn
Coco Plum Inn

Many thanks to all sponsors, venues, hotel partners and attendees for making the third annual Key West Bacchanalia such a huge success! Please go to to view photos, recipes and more and we will see you next June!