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Smuggler's Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki Hardcover – June 7, 2016
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"Neverworld Wake" by Marisha Pessl
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WINNER: 2017 JAMES BEARD FOUNDATION BOOK AWARD, BEVERAGE
WINNER: 2017 SPIRITED AWARDS (TALES OF THE COCKTAIL): BEST NEW COCKTAIL & BARTENDING BOOK
"Martin and Rebecca Cate are alchemists—Reyn Spooner–wearing, volcano-bowl-igniting, Polynesian-popping, double-straining, Aku-Aku swilling alchemists. Which is to say, they are the finest kind of alchemists known to walk the earth. Buy this book. It will bring you a little bit closer to paradise.”
—Wayne Curtis, author, And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails
“With Smuggler’s Cove, Martin Cate did the impossible, folding up a whole rum-soaked sailing ship so that it would fit into a not-very-large San Francisco storefront. Now he’s done it again, and taken that tiki bar--one of the very finest bars I know—and folded it up so it fits between the pages of a book. Just add rum, and watch Smuggler’s Cove—and the whole vibrant, geeky, just a little bit unhinged world of tiki it so perfectly exemplifies— unfold in your lap.”
—David Wondrich, author of Imbibe! and Punch
“Tiki is simultaneously whimsical and sincere, simple and shockingly complex, which means understanding it can be challenging. This indispensable book explains it all—and is the definitive volume on one of the cocktail world’s most fascinating and complex genres. But in the end, tiki’s essence is based on captivating stories and exotic drinks, and Martin Cate’s Smuggler’s Cove is a tour de force in both.”
—Jordan Mackay, wine and spirits writer, and coauthor of Secrets of the Sommeliers
“Martin Cate understands tiki like few others do. He not only knows how to ask the right questions; in this book, he also answers many questions that I didn’t know I had. The old guard of Donn, Vic, and Steve can rest easy now that they have this champion of their tradition bringing tiki into the new millennium.”
—Sven Kirsten, author of The Book of Tiki, Tiki Modern, and Tiki Pop
“Here at last are the secrets behind one of the world’s best bars. The Cates have written an engaging, knowing, and personal book that is sure to please tiki lovers, cocktail lovers, and especially tiki-cocktail lovers. Abandon angst, all ye who enter here: like Smuggler’s Cove itself, these pages take leisure time very seriously.”
—Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, author of Potions of the Caribbean
“Martin Cate is an authority on rum, and this book will take your level of understanding of this noble yet complex spirit to a new level. Martin offers his own illuminating rum classification system, and also tackles controversial topics head-on, such as sweetening and the use of nebulous age statements. An absolute must-have for rum enthusiasts.”
—Richard Seale, master distiller, Foursquare Rum Distillery, Barbados
“The twenty-first-century revival of tiki cocktails was spearheaded by a handful of passionate tiki-geeks, Martin Cate among them. With Smuggler’s Cove, Martin and Rebecca teach you everything you need to know to become a tiki-geek in your own right—and to see the world with their Polynesian passion.”
–Gaz Regan, author of The Joy of Mixology and The Negroni
“Tiki culture is enmeshed with rum, and the authors offer a master class on it, covering its history and many varieties, as well as digressions on coring pineapples for cocktails and where to score cocktail umbrellas. It’s a terrifically fun and informative read, and the definitive resource on the topic.”
– Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
“The book walks readers through the history of tiki, as well as 100 recipes for cocktails. Not sure where to start with rum? There's a beginners' guide. There are also party tips, garnishing guides, and much more. In other words, all you need are some paper umbrellas and your summer is made.”
“Happily, the modern tiki era now has its own Magna Carta …. It’s a lavishly illustrated, seriously researched, 350-page tome with more than 100 recipes, along with a well-written history and sketches of some of the lesser known tiki lights . . .”
– The Daily Beast
"Martin and Rebecca Cate have managed to create an irresistible shrine to the magic of Polynesian pop culture. Beautifully designed and dripping in kitsch by way of photos by Dylan + Jeni, this is set to be the cocktail book of the summer."
"Your new tiki bible."
"With more than 100 recipes, both classic and modern (including homemade grenadine and coconut cream, of course), Smuggler's Cove is for anyone who appreciates the beauty of tropical drinks and wants to dig in deeper. A primer on essential tiki techniques as well as a thorough, authoritative guide to rum take you further than the typical booze book."
"Martin Cate is a scholar of tiki, and this long-anticipated cookbook is a respectful (and even academic) glimpse into that culture. . . . Smuggler’s Cove isn't just a book of recipes—it's a guide on how to transplant a beloved bar into your home."
"A lively exploration of our country's drinking history (and the current tiki scene), it's essential reading for rum lovers, offering the best categorization of the headspinning-ly diverse spirit that I've encountered."
– Serious Eats
"It's a must-have for any Mai Tai lover, Trader Vic's devotee or Hawaiian traveler . . . The book works equally well as a cocktail how-to, a rum guide, tiki party inspiration or must-do itinerary."
– San Jose Mercury News
About the Author
MARTIN CATE is a rum and exotic cocktail expert and the owner of Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco. Smuggler’s Cove opened in 2009 and has been named one of the World’s 50 Best Bars (Drinks International, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015), 50 Best Bars on Earth (The Sunday Times, London), Top Ten Food and Beverage Concepts of the Last 25 Years (Cheers Magazine), 13 Most Influential Bars of the 21st Century (Liquor.com), and America’s Best Bars (Playboy, 2012 and Esquire, 2013). Smuggler's Cove was also awarded Best American Cocktail Bar at the 2016 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards. A member of the United States Bartenders Guild (USBG), Martin conducts educational seminars and adjudicates rum and cocktail competitions across the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. In 2015, along with partners Alex Smith and John Park, Martin opened Whitechapel in San Francisco to bring the same passion for history and craft to the world of gin. He is also the co-owner of Hale Pele in Portland and a partner in Lost Lake in Chicago and False Idol in San Diego.
In 1999, REBECCA CATE inadvertently fueled Martin’s madness by famously uttering words (which she thought were a joke) about making a spare bedroom a home tiki bar. Since then, however, she too has been swept up in the tiki fantasia, first as an enthusiast, then helping Martin open and run Smuggler’s Cove, while juggling a full-time career as a research psychologist “on the side.” Rebecca earned her PhD in personality and social psychology from The University of California at Berkeley in 2006, and has spent over a decade leading large-scale studies of behavioral health interventions as well as topics related to retirement and longevity. The opportunity to coauthor this book has allowed what had been just a weekend and vacation escape to turn into a full-time journey.
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The text of book is fantastic as well. It gives a great account of the origins of tiki culture in the USA and how Smuggler's Cove came to be.
Last October, I tried to make one, thinking a "zombie" would be a perfect drink for a Halloween party, and thinking it would be nice to learn how to make one so I didn't have to rely on the lame ones I have received in the past. A couple of attempts using internet recipes turned out very badly. Sigh.
Just wait - I'm getting to the book ...
In November, we got an invitation to a tiki bar in San Diego called "False Idol" and I decided to ordered their zombie. The angels sang. The pearly gates opened and I walked into heaven. Awesome.
So, in December, I was travelling in San Francisco and went to the Tonga Room there. It was very disappointing. Drinks were quite poor, which was a big surprise for such a long-established icon. As I was reading Yelp reviews on the Tonga Room, I saw mention of a place called Smuggles Cove in San Francisco that had won awards, voted best bar in America, one of the best in the world, yada, yada, yada. And I was kicking myself for going to the Tonga Room instead of Smugglers Cove. Apparently the owner, Martin Cate, really knows his cocktails, and - ta-da - is a partner in the False Idol in San Diego and the guy behind the drinks there !
In January, I stumbled upon his book on Amazon - some web search or Amazon search brought it up, I'm sure. I don't remember. I saw the title, noted the author, saw that it had recipes in it and ordered it. I was a little concerned that it would be lots of stories and not much recpies, but it turns out it is alot of stories and also alot of recipes.
I am very surprised that a bar owner in a business where drink recpies have been traditionally kept secret is willing to spill the beans like this. He has presented so many secrets, along with the stories and history behind the secrets and also given credit to alot of the people responsible for digging up the secrets. It's mighty big of him, I think, and consider this a big "thank you" for writing this book.
Some good things about the book:
- Martin has developed a list of rum categories based on production method to assist in the selection of rums for the recipes. Most of the recipes in the book don't call for a particular brand and style of rum, but call for a certain category of rum, which could be one of many brands and styles. It is really smart and really helps the budget, too, because you don't have to buy the $80 bottle if you don't want to.
- Really a lot of recipes in here. I saw one Amazon reivew saying there weren't many recipes. That is just wrong. The recipes are scattered throughout the book and relate to the text in each chapter, but there are more than anyone could want.
- Also, reading between the lines, you can figure out how to take any of these cocktails and change the ingredients to make your own recipes, so the number of recipes is unlimited if you are willing to experiment.
- Martin lists a whole bunch of syrups and concoctions that are used in the recipes. This is very helpful,and again - very generous of him to show us these secrets from his bars. Real grenadine syrup, demerera sugar syrup, cinnamon syrup, passion fruit syrup, etc.
- I am surprised by a couple things. First - that the drinks are not necessarily super sweet and fruity. Second, there are an extraordinary number of interesting ingredients that I never knew existed or how they were used. These ingredients are herbal, spicey or savory and keep the drinks from getting too that sweet.
- Great details on ice choice and mixing techniques.
- I'm not that much into tiki decor so alot of that design stuff was not interesting to me, but I also feel the book would be incomplete without it.
Things I would add or change / the downside:
- I would like to see some descriptions of the non-rum ingredients on the recipe pages. As I was looking through the recipes, many listed ingredients that I didn't know what the heck they were. Maybe they were in the text, but I didn't want to hunt through and find it. It would be nice if some explanation were given for those, or maybe put a little reference section in the back and add a page number to the recipe so you can read up on it, like "Benedictine (see page 444)".
- Some of the syrups were a little sweet, making it difficult to adjust the recipe without changing the sweetness. For example, I made a drink with the cinnamon syrup and wanted more cinnamon flavor. So, I added some cinnamon syrup, but it was too sweet. The syrups make perfect sense in a bar where you want the bartenders to make the same thing every time, and save some work. But if you want to tinker, it may be better to just add the ingredients separately.
- This is an expensive hobby. Martin has done a good job making sure we don't waste our money by putting expensive ingredients into bad cocktails, but it aint cheap.
I have made about 6 of the recipes so far. Enjoying them all, especially the zombie and the Planters Punch !
I hope to meet Martin some day. He's done a great job with his bar in San Diego and the book. Thanks a bunch !
The writing is clear and well-thought-out. The recipes give you all of the information you need and a lot of fascinating history in addition.
Not only is this book a wonderful guide to making some of the most interesting libations the 20th century had to offer, but it's also a historical record of where Polynesian Pop originated and proliferated, until its untimely demise in the 70s and 80s. This book comes to us at a time when Tiki is undergoing a revival.
And it makes me want to be a part of that!
Fun, informative, useful, and might just lead to a full-blown addiction. Or at least a new hobby.
Cate's book deserves a spot on any exotic drink fan's shelf. It's beautiful enough to sit on the coffee table, but this book will sit right along my Jeff Berry books - and deservedly so.