Caribbean Week Rum & Rhythm Battle of the Mixologists


~ Top male and female mixologists to challenge each other for title of CTO Mixologist of the Year at Rum & Rhythm on Friday 3 June at Capitale in New York ~

Caribbean Week Rum & Rhythm Battle of the MixologistsIt will be a battle of the sexes to determine Caribbean Week New York’s Mixologist of the Year at one of the most anticipated events on the tourism calendar in the “Big Apple”.

One male and one female mixologist will challenge each other in the Battle of the Mixologists at Rum & Rhythm at the Capitale in New York on Friday 3 June.

Four of the best women in the field will first compete in the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO)’s Rum Rumble on Sunday 15 May at Rum House at The Hotel Edison on 228 West 47th Street in Manhattan to determine who will meet Sylvanus Johnson of St. Vincent & the Grenadines in the big final. They are Shannon Mustipher, brand ambassador for Denizen Rum and beverage director at Glady’s Caribbean in New York, which has one of the most diverse selections of Caribbean rums in NYC; Erika Ordonez, who currently delights patrons with her drinks at Slowly Shirley and at Porchlight Bar in Manhattan as well as Montana’s Trailhouse in Brooklyn; Selma Slabiak, a bartender for 16 years who has worked at Donna and Shanty and is currently the head mixologist at Aska; and Shantel Grant, a first generation Jamaican-American who demonstrates her bartending skills at Forrest Point in Brooklyn. They will prepare Tiki-inspired cocktails made with Caribbean rums.

Rum Rumble is a series of promotional mixologist competitions organized by the CTO as part of Caribbean Week New York. Held at Manhattan spots that are well known for their rum bars and popular mixologists, the competitions pit some of the leading bartenders against each other, each seeking a place in the final at Rum & Rhythm to determine the CTO Mixologist of the Year.

The finalist in the male category was chosen after the contest held on 24 April at Solomon and Kuff Rum Hall. Sylvanus Johnson became the top male mixologist by defeating three other competitors with his drink, Diabou, named after his village in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It featured Matusalem Platino and Matusalem Classico and included Thai basil and grilled pineapple juice.

The other competitors were: Shane Smith with his drink, The Sir Maxwell (named after his favourite concert player) featuring Mount Gay Eclipse; Austin Hartman, whose drink, Blood on the Water was reminiscent of a shark attack and featured Mount Gay Black Barrel and El Dorado 3; and Jeff Hazell, who took a journey around the Caribbean with his drink, Jet Pilot, featuring El Dorado 12.

This year’s Rum Rumbles are being coordinated by Nalini Tiwari of Adya Communications, the US representative of El Dorado, one of the Caribbean’s leading rums and a winner of multiple global awards. It is sponsored by Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands.

This year is the fifth anniversary of Rum & Rhythm as a benefit for the CTO Foundation, a charity which offers scholarships and study grants to Caribbean students pursuing studies in tourism and hospitality and related subjects.

The Ultimate Caribbean Epicurean Experience on Friday 3 June will, for the first time, be held at the historic Capitale, a Roman classic 1895 landmark adorned with Corinthian columns, Venetian glass, marble mosaic floors and 65 foot ceilings.

Tickets for Rum & Rhythm can be obtained by clicking on the following link:

Organized by the CTO, Caribbean Week New York is the largest, most engaging regional tourism activity in the “Big Apple” and typically attracts thousands of participants, including Caribbean tourism officials, the media, artists, performers, celebrity chefs, fashion designers, models, investors and other strategic partners. It showcases the sights, sounds, colours, culture and unique holiday experiences of the Caribbean and combines business sessions and consumer-oriented events with food, fashion, entertainment, sales and networking opportunities.

For the full Caribbean Week New York programme and for additional information, visit;  email or call (212) 635-9530.

Caribbean Week is supported by Academy Engraving, Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, the      Bahamas, Barbados, Caribbean Airlines, Cayman Islands, CitiTech Solutions, Dominica, El Dorado Rum, Empire State Building, Grenada, Jade Mountain/Anse Chastanet Resort, Jamaica, Martinique, Nassau Paradise Island, Nevis, St. Kitts, Travel + Leisure, Resonance Consultancy; Turks & Caicos Islands, Sugar Bay Resort & Spa and Unique Vacations, Inc./Sandals.

About the Caribbean Tourism Organization

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), with headquarters in Barbados and offices in New York and London, is the Caribbean’s tourism development agency comprising membership of the region’s finest countries and territories including Dutch, English, French and Spanish, as well as a myriad of private sector allied members. The CTO’s vision is to position the Caribbean as the most desirable, year round, warm weather destination, and its purpose is Leading Sustainable Tourism – One Sea, One Voice, One Caribbean.

Among the benefits to its members the organization provides specialized support and technical assistance in sustainable tourism development, marketing, communications, advocacy, human resource development, event planning & execution and research & information technology.

In addition the CTO, in partnership with the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), jointly and equally owns the Caribbean Tourism Development Company (CTDC), a marketing and business development entity dedicated to promoting the Caribbean brand worldwide.

The CTO’s Headquarters is located at Baobab Tower, Warrens, St. Michael, Barbados BB 22026; Tel: (246) 427-5242; Fax: (246) 429-3065; E-mail:

The CTO’s New York office is located at 80 Broad St., Suite 3302, New York, NY 10004, USA: Tel: (212) 635-9530; Fax: (212) 635-9511; E-mail:

The CTO’s London office is located at The Quadrant, Richmond, Surrey TW9 1BP, England. Tel: 011 44 208 948 0057; Fax: 011 44 208 948 0067; E-mail:

For more information on the Caribbean Tourism Organization please visit Get the latest updates and follow CTO on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.