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) (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

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.