F&W's Ray Isle reports from the 8th annual, F&W-sponsored Cayman Cookout in Grand Cayman. Plus, a recipe for Caymanian Rum Punch. 

By Ray Isle
Updated May 24, 2017
© Heather Holt Photography

This weekend brings either (a) winter, if you are most places in the US or (b) glorious sun and blue water, if you happen to be at the 8th annual, F&W-sponsored Cayman Cookout in Grand Cayman. At Thursday's opening Barefoot Beach Barbecue, festival-goers gathered on the sands of Seven Mile Beach to try small plates from chefs such as LA superstar Ludo Lefevre, Top Chef's Tom Colicchio, and festival host Eric Ripert (and drink rum drinks). During the day on Friday, in one of the festival's highlights, chef José Andres did his annual paella on the beach presentation—a paella demo involving two custom pans the size of tractor tires, and an always unexpected entrance from Andrés himself (oh—and rum drinks). In years past he's risen from the water in scuba gear, arrived over the water wearing a jet-pack (semi-successfully—jet packs are hard to steer), and in a nod to the movie “Three Amigos,” rode in with pals Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert on horses, wearing sombreros. For this year's entrance, Andrés led a wave of pirates up the beach to storm the chef demo tent. It was, in its crazy way, business as usual. At least in Cayman.

The festivities continue throughout the weekend. But if you weren't able to make it here this year, plan for next. And in the meantime, here's a recipe for a killer rum punch that will at least make you feel like you're in the islands:

Caymanian Rum Punch

1 ½ ounces dark rum (such as Gosling's or Myers's Dark)
2 ounces fresh orange juice
2 ounces fresh pineapple juice
½ ounce fresh lime juice
1 dash angostura bitters
1 dash grenadine

Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Pour into a glass over ice. Add a ½ ounce float of top-quality dark rum on top (for instance Ron Zacapa 23). Garnish your face with sunglasses.