Tropical rum-based cocktails may have fallen out of fashion since the Don the Beachcomber days of the 1930s and ’40s. But the owner of Smuggler’s Cove, Martin Cate, is on a quest to restore tiki drinks to their former glory. At his Bay Area oasis, Cate’s menu boasts 105 meticulously crafted cocktails that represent the range and regionality of rum’s 300-year-old history. Contrary to our misconception that these day-glo punch bowls of sugary instant flavor mix and Bacardi 151 could be anything but offensive to the tiki gods, the Caribbean-inspired cocktail recipes of old were balanced. In fact, they were full of nuance and never overly sweet.
But as hotspots like The Beachcomber, Trader Vic’s and Tiki-Ti fell out of favor, the 13-ingredient classics gave way to synthetic coconuts, artificial colors and syrups. At his bar, Cate pays tribute to Donn Beach with a twist on the tiki legend’s classic Three Dots and a Dash. The name means “victory” in Morse code. The original World War II version of the drink calls for garnishing your glass with three maraschino cherries — the “dots” – and a rectangular wedge of pineapple — the “dash.” For his dash, Cate opts for a pineapple frond over a wedge.
Find this recipe and many more in Cate’s new book, “Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki.”
THREE DOTS AND A DASH
Using a technique called “flash blending,” Cate pulses his mixture with cracked ice for 3-5 seconds to quickly chill the drink.
½ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz fresh orange juice
½ oz Smuggler’s Cove honey syrup (recipe follows)
¼ oz John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum
¼ oz St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
1½ ozs rhum agricole vieux (Duquesne Élevé Sous Bois or J.M Gold)
½ oz blended aged rum (Appleton Estate Reserve or Real McCoy 5-Year)
1 dash Angostura bitters
12 ozs crushed ice
A footed pilsner glass
Prepare the garnish: Spear 3 maraschino cherries and a pineapple chunk using a cocktail pick. Or you can skip the pineapple chunk and include a pineapple frond in your glass instead (pictured above).
Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with 12 ounces crushed ice and flash blend. Pour the contents into a footed pilsner glass. Add the garnish.
SMUGGLER’S COVE HONEY SYRUP
Yield: Makes 3 cups or 24 ounces
1½ cups honey
1½ cups water
Heat 1½ cups of honey in a saucepan over medium heat until runny and not viscous, nearly to a boil but not quite. Next, add 1½ cups of water to the hot honey and whisk together. Remove immediately from heat and let cool.
To store: Transfer the honey syrup to a lidded bottle or another sealable container and store in the refrigerator. The syrup will keep, refrigerated, for several weeks.
All photos courtesy of Smuggler’s Cove