Each year, around the Fourth of July, a great festival takes place in Key West… the Key Lime Festival. One of the events of the festival is the Sip & Stroll. The idea is several establishments around town create a drink, featuring Key Lime, and a group of enrolled, street walking, bar hopping, happy go lucky folks try them and then vote for the winner.
Yep, it’s a pub/bar crawl with a Key Lime theme. What can I say? Pour me there! So, I enrolled in the fun this year. I had been looking forward to this for .. weeks. I know, slow times – boring life, any way, I had it all mapped out. We would be visiting our youngest in Orlando and drive down the day of the Sip & Stroll. Head over to registration and then spend the next several hours amongst other tasters/drinkers/voters and have a ball. Well… yes some of that happened. Here are the list of do’s and don’ts for the event, should you decide to attend next year. Feel free to add your own!
Don’t drive in the day of the event
Yep, let me say that again. Don’t drive in the day of the event. Florida traffic is, well, unpredictable, and if you are coming from Orlando, it can be really unpredictable. We woke up that morning with the best of intentions. Up, out the door, car packed and on the road by 5am. Next stop… Key West. According to GPS should be there around noon time.
Well, traffic was pretty light down A1A, but we had tried a short-cut getting out of Orlando …and well, we saw a lot of farm land and fell two hours behind. We hit town an hour after registration started. The result? The t-shirt I had my eye on, was gone. I still got a pretty cool one, but not the one I really wanted.
But, I did make it to registration before it closed and have a great t-shirt.
Don’t do the event by yourself
If a group of you are going to be in town, all of you register for the event. If you are the only one in the group doing the tasting, it’s kinda … boring. You can’t get any feedback from your friends on how the margarita compared to the martini you just tasted because, well, their drinking beer.
Trust me on this… pay the extra money. Your in Key West to have fun, enjoy the event, everyone registers.
Do follow the instructions
Well, here is where I made my mistake. The instructions at registration are very clear, it was me who chose not to listen or follow them. There were seven bars that were serving and some had multiple tastings at their locations. We had twelve drinks to taste and judge. I made the mistake thinking Ocean Key’s martini would be at … Ocean Key. Nope, it was at Smokin’ Tuna. I would have known that if I had actually followed the instructions I had in my hand.
Do relax and enjoy each of the stops
Because I felt rushed (see the first Don’t), I didn’t take time to enjoy each stop. This is something you should really plan on. Each of the bars along the Sip & Stroll want you to experience how cool they are. They are saying, enjoy your sip of this wonderful Key Lime drink, but come on back later and sit and really enjoy what we offer.
As you look around, take it all in. Do I want to come back here? I have to say I found that I really wanted to come back to Bagatelle. I had never been there before and it really had a good vibe when I walked in the door. So, we came back for brunch a few days later.
Do enjoy the drinks
Each of the drinks were so different. Some places made margaritas and others made martinis. But, honestly all were great. We voted on taste, aroma and presentation. I took the voting serious. We had twelve drinks to try and I wanted to give everyone of them a chance to shine. But, as with any competition, a clear winner steps up and all others are then compared to your favorite. Mine was Rick’s Martini. It was smooth and wonderful and the winner of the martini class. Guess I picked that one right!
Do talk to the bartenders
They are showing off their creation and really want to tell you all about it. I had the best conversation with the folks from the Southernmost Beach Cafe. Their margarita was awesome. They used KeKe for the key lime flavor and were interested in some of the drinks I make with KeKe. The guys over at Rick’s were really nice too. They made sure I had a taste of each of their drinks … pretty awesome!
Overall, I had a great time at the Sip & Stroll. I visited places I normally don’t go and saw new places I wanted to try. It was a great way to spend the afternoon, strolling down Duval in Key West. Next year, everyone in my group will be Sipping and Strolling!