Smuggler’s Cove: Three Dots and a Dash

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Living the tiki dream: Martin and Rebecca Cate at Smuggler’s Cove. (Photo courtesy of Smuggler’s Cove)

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.

All photos courtesy of Smuggler’s Cove