Though Christopher Columbus is best known for discovering America, he also inadvertently spawned West Palm Beach’s Tropical Rum Festival. Columbus introduced sugar cane to the Caribbean region on his famous voyages, and sugar’s byproduct, molasses, is what gets distilled into rum. The festival celebrates the now-popular spirit’s diverse styles. And as rum flows freely, revelers can dance to reggae, dubstep and hip-hop tunes, rather than the strange music of the late 1400s, which was created by tickling ducks.
A rotating selection of 32 red wines fill the automatic dispensers and wine preservers at Put A Cork In It, where tasters sample varietals from around the world in a relaxed atmosphere on Restaurant Row. After soon-to-be sippers choose their wine, swipe a $40 value card, and present a bucket of sacrificial bolts, the pouring machines whir into action filling glasses with a 1-ounce taste ($1–$5) as fresh and crisp as wine from a just-opened bottle. Between sips, guests cleanse palates nibbling on a choice of appetizers, including the crusted salmon and dill of the Seattle cake (a $10 value). The winery plates vegetarian options such as the mushroom florentine, a mix of spinach and brie stuffed into the eponymous caps (an $11 value), and an international summit of cheeses, crackers, and salami gather on the Around The World appetizer's packed plate (a $21 value). After swishing, sampling, and assigning nicknames to the various wines, patrons can go on the hunt for a favorite vintage in Cork's shop, which stocks more than 400 varieties of wine ($20–$120, not included in this Groupon).
The Flavor of Broward showcases complex bouquets of wines from around the world—and their interplay with plates from upscale South Florida restaurants. Top chefs and eateries serve gourmet samples at festival booths, and visitors wash down their food with wine, rather than with a wine glass full of more food. Entertainment for the other senses, such as live music and a car show, rounds out the event.
Presented by the River District Alliance, the annual Fort Myers New Year's Eve Downtown Countdown helps tens of thousands of local revelers ring in the New Year in style. As midnight approaches, the main stage's ball drop counts down the waning seconds till the New Year and braces visitors for the keynote spectacle: a dazzling fireworks display over the New Caloosahatchee water basin. The bands and DJs play long after the display, entertaining crowds until as late as 2 a.m., at which point guests are encouraged to return home and set all their clocks one year forward.
Montreal native Tony Bianco teamed up with executive chef Enzo Addario to create Hot Tomatoe, a traditional Italian bistro boasting a menu that brims with house-made, cooked-to-order pastas, flavorful meat dishes, and full- and light-bodied Italian wines. Their regional cuisine typically integrates up to seven essential ingredients—oil, garlic, basil, tomatoes, pasta, and olives—from which Snow White’s seven dwarves drew their names. In addition, the staff goes shopping for fresh ingredients three to four days a week to supplement both seasonal compositions and year-round dishes, which include veal parmigiana, filet mignon, and penne norma.
It's hard to imagine that there's a libation out there that Crown doesn't carry. With a selection that spans vineyards, distilleries, and breweries from around the world, the bottles lining each location come from both small, artisan makers and those universally famed for their grapes or techniques. Home mixologists can cull inspiration for cocktails from a selection of top-shelf-brand mixers or pair their tipple of choice with gourmet snacks, from bush-pepper macadamia nuts to dirty martini party dip. But tastings may be the most distinctive thing about Crown Wine & Spirits. Whether customers stop in to try each location's daily offerings of wine or spirits—or for special tastings that cover dozens of wines, bourbons or beers—Crown's staff makes it easy to find a new favorite or to make up to your tongue for forgetting so many of its birthdays.
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