The House That Martin Built

Martin Cate, Smuggler King

Martin Cate, Smuggler King

Last week, the media reception for the opening of Smuggler’s Cove coincided with my birthday. Mere coincidence? I prefer to look at it as an example of cosmic harmony. More about the your new cocktail mecca inside….

The space is fantastic. The upper level is sort of a mini tiki bar unto itself, with thatched roof, kapa, tikis rescued from a Trader Vic’s, and glass floats, including one with a blowfish inside (I usually feel sadness for these animals, but this one has achieved a higher form of being in becoming decor).

The lower level is a bit like the lair of a James Bond villain. Dimly lit, with a two story water feature traversed by a sort of industrial metal stairs. The water collects in an illuminated pool at the base, the perfect place to keep sharks with laser beams attached to their heads.

The entrance level, which is in between, is dominated by  nautical decor, including a truly massive anchor and pieces of a ship’s rigging.

There are bars at both the entrance and the lower level. At the bar, you can drink Eurydice, the Cove’s  own rum distilled locally at St. George’s from California sugar cane, or a proprietary blend from El Dorado. There is also an endemic beer, crafted at the 21st Amendment. The beer is dark, but not very heavy. I believe it’s some form of Red Ale. It was quaffable, but who would go to a rum bar to drink beer?

There is also a house wine (“Smuggler’s Jug”). Only five cocktails were available for the reception, including the Chadburn, which was featured in the recent NYT article.

The Chadburn

  • 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) tawny Port
  • 1/2 ounce pear liqueur
  • 2 ounces ( 1/4 cup) dark rum
  • 1 to 2 dashes Bittermens Xocolatl Mole bitters.

Combine all ingredients in a shaker half-filled with ice, and stir until well chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass. Recipe from Smuggler’s Cove via the New York Times.

This delicious fellow is the Hotel Nacional Special:

Hotel Nacional Special

The Hotel Nacional Special

Hotel Nacional Special

  • 2 ounces golden rum
  • 1-1/2 ounces unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1/2 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon dry apricot brandy

Shake with cracked ice until cold and frothy, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with anything. Source: Chuck Taggart at Gumbopages.com

I still couldn’t bring myself to try J. Wray and Ting, but I suppose I’ll have to as I try to make my way through the menu to earn “Voyager” status. Yes, there are merit badges for various feats of drunken debauchery: “Disciple” for completing a beginner’s list of 2o sipping rums, working your way up to “Guardian” when you’ve tried them all, with special unnamed benefits commensurate with your status.

The menu itself is about 10 pages, organized by history and cocktail type. There are a surprising number of non-rum cocktails on the menu. I’ll do a better job of analyzing this document when I return this evening for the public “sneak preview” event. I’ll leave you for now with this lousy video I took of Martin officially introducing the bar during the media event.

And yes, if you can’t tell from the length of this post, I am just slightly excited that this day is finally upon us, considering the trials and tribulations I endured to come in second place during the “Find Smuggler’s Cove” game/contest this summer!

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