Smuggler’s Cove owners Martin Cate and Rebecca Cate, already incredible powerhouses of creative productivity, have been doubling-down, tripling-down, in recent years. There have been two major outputs from all this busy-ness. The first was Whitechapel, the astounding subterranean London-themed gin joint in San Francisco.
Now comes the second—Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum and the Cult of Tiki. This new book, published by Ten Speed Press, is available June 7 (but you can pre-order it right now). This book is beefy. It is over 350 pages, and every single one of them is a full-color design fantasia, thanks to a liberal peppering of photos by Dylan + Jeni, illustrations by Dave Stolte, and bits of historic ephemera. Even the cover is oh-so-extra, with a subtle bas-relief carved spine. I’m honestly surprised that the cost of this book is not double.
Okay, it’s pretty, it’s big, but is it good? Oh, come on now, are you new here? It’s the best. Of course it’s the best. This is not a rehash of what has come before. Martin and Rebecca have dug in deep, with all kinds of nerdy details on everything: drinkmaking techniques, the history, the flavor profiles of tiki, rum, the environment, the fashion, and—most significantly—tons of practical tips for doing tiki well. It’s how-to, it’s why-to, it’s as immersive as the environments Martin creates for us.
There are over 100 recipes, including many Martin Cate originals. I’m particularly happy to get my hands on his recipe for Hondo Hattie’s Jungle Punch, a special drink he created for an event at the Walt Disney Family Museum that is the color of Jungle Cruise swamp water, and is almost as delicious.
At this writing, I’ve done a heavy skim of the book so I can give you my impressions, but it’s going to take some time to give this the thorough reading it demands. I’m intentionally giving you only the smallest of peeks here, so you can discover this visual wonder all for yourself.
But I am going to show you this ridiculous picture of baby Martin in a grass skirt.