Cocktails & Spirits

The Art of Rum: Local Mixologists and Artists Come Together During January's FAT Village ArtWalk

Here's something to raise a glass to: A community-building event organized to celebrate Fort Lauderdale's local craft spirit and art community. The two will come together as one later this month with a special festival that's been aptly dubbed the Art of Rum. 

According to event cosponsor and South Florida Distiller cofounder Joe Durkin, the Art of Rum will be a fun way to get to know more about Broward County's first — and only — distillery, as well as some of its most talented artists and mixologists. 

"Because South Florida Distillers isn't legally able to have the type of tasting room where people can come to drink," says Durkin. "So we've been looking for a creative way to showcase our rum while also helping to educate the public on the local spirit movement. This event is the perfect way to bring the South Florida creative community together, showcasing everyone from artists to mixologists."

On Saturday, January 30, the Art of Rum will take over the FAT Village Art Walk. The event has been organized to feature more than a dozen mixologists invited from the local area including Tap 42, the Ritz-Carlton's Burlock Coast, and Kreepy Tiki. Each will be responsible for creating a handcrafted Fwaygo cocktail inspired by a local artist’s work.

During the event, guests will have the opportunity to taste each cocktail as they move through the show. In addition to the installations, the evening will feature live art exhibitions, cocktail demonstrations, local musicians, and a meet-and-greet with the makers of Fwaygo.

Featured artists will include Nazha Nasfin, Richard Vergez, Renuka, Carlos Pundik, Todd the Painter, and Bjorn. Also artists Sacha Suarez, Terri Meridith, Lamin Aljahan, and Joao Paulo Goncalves from ArtServe, a local nonprofit that aims to provide programs, events, business opportunities, and facilities that help local and emerging artists turn their art into a business.

South Florida Distillers produces a variety of locally handcrafted rums distilled from Florida-grown sugarcane. Founders Avi Aisenberg and Joe Durkin released their first product, Fwaygo, in February 2015. They call their white rum a "true taste of Florida," with notes of Meyer lemon citrus and just a touch of peppery heat. Fwaygo is distilled from locally sourced, high-grade molasses using a slow fermentation and small cuts to develop uniquely rich flavors and a smooth finish.

Durkin says he hopes to see the Art of Rum become an annual — and possibly seasonal — event that grows along with his distillery and FAT Village. Since launching their signature Fwaygo brand white rum early last year, South Florida Distillers has already expanded operations, adding a new 250-gallon still to their Fort Lauderdale-based distillery. The new equipment will allow them to increase production from 50 to 500 bottles a month if needed.

"Our goal is to educate people, not only about our rum — what it is and how it's made — but also about Fort Lauderdale's FAT Village and everything unique and special that's going on here in the local arts community," adds Durkin. 

The Art of Rum will take place from 7 to 11 p.m. during the monthly FAT Village Art Walk located at 521 NW First Ave., on Saturday, January 30. Tickets for the event can be purchased online at Eventbrite. Tickets cost $25 per person for general admission and $75 for VIP access. General admission includes entry to the event and a sample of each local mixologists' cocktail. VIP tickets include unlimited cocktail tastings and exclusive access to a preferred lounge area sponsored by Broward Design Center. Visit

South Florida Distillers is located 1110 NE Eighth Ave. #3C, Fort Lauderdale. Tasting room tours can be scheduled through their website at

Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.