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"Smuggler's Cove" - the book

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10 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Well, hey, I bought the book.  A local rum distiller started putting a vanilla bean in their distillate and I haven't bought it since.  I might add that I think PF Dry Curacao is vile.*


*Disclaimer:  I drink bottle upon bottle of PF 1840.




Vile seems a bit strong! :D


But then I gather you have some strong opinions on drinks. Which is OK, I do to!


But I have had the SC Mai Tai and I can tell you that the vanilla had no impact at all on a very nice drink. My problem was more with the Denizen rum they choose to use but that rum was created in part by Martin Cates for his bar so I suppose it is unavoidable unless you ask for your own specific rums. it is good and I suppose affordable for a bar (although the drinks aren't cheap to start with) but there are certainly better choices in my mind.


I am still trying to figure out the part about glass barware. I guess I haven't gotten to that part of the book yet! But plenty of the drinks when I was there used glass as do some of the pictures as I recall. What gives?

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...


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  • 2 weeks later...

hi guys
I'd like to buy a tiki oriented cocktail book and this one, reading your comments, seems pretty good. Do you recommand buying it or should I rather get Beach Bum Berry remixed (or another book from Jeff)?

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8 hours ago, ananth said:

hi guys
I'd like to buy a tiki oriented cocktail book and this one, reading your comments, seems pretty good. Do you recommand buying it or should I rather get Beach Bum Berry remixed (or another book from Jeff)?


The thing I like about smugglers cove is they way they have "decoded" some of the classic recipes so they are a lot easier to make. 

Given the combining of ingredients to make "special syrups", like Don's mix or Don's spices, Smugglers formats recipes to avoid having to also batch these compound ingredients, instead calling for their constituent ingredients. 

Something like Don's Mix is cinnamon syrup mixed with grapefruit juice. Unless you're making a Zombies all night for a bar full of people, it's kind of silly to batch it to make one drink at a time. 


However, the Beach Bum perspective and authenticity is of course important, but if I had to pick one book on Tiki, I'd go with Smugglers' Cove for the ease of use. 

Sort of the way that I wouldn't suggest Jerry Thomas' original recipes to make a manhattan now.... But the original specs are useful to know and understand as a historical document. 

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I think the recipes in Remixed are also very easy to make. I've never had a problem. Actually I tailored my home bar to make a very large number of recipes from that book, and then when I got Smuggler's Cove I could barely make anything because it was calling for all these rums I didn't have! Perfect excuse to buy more, of course...


Here you can see how heavily I've used the book... every little blue tab is a recipe I have made, often multiple times!


Get both books, you won't regret it! :) 

The Total Tiki app based on Jeff Berry's book is pretty handy as well, but doesn't replace the book(s).


Beachbum Berry Remixed


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Yeah, buy both. 


One last parting shot. I vastly prefer the rum classification system as presented by Smugglers Cove, over the traditional "geographic" approach. 

Although rums of different nationalities have had distinctive characters attributed to them historically, frankly it can be hard to know whether a rum from any given region actually fits that historical character. Plus, these are often combined with a "color" descriptor. How "dark" is "dark", how old is "gold"? 


The categorical approach based first on distillation style (pot still, column still, blended, coffey still, etc.), and then onto (relatatlively) rough age brackets, with a final category for "black" rums, i.e. those "augmented" with "more color than 50 years in a barrel could provide." Now, the age ranges listed (and the "approved" rums listed) provide perhaps a bit too much latitude at times, but there's both a good critique of that, and an important counterpoint from Martin Cate in the comments here: http://cocktailwonk.com/2016/05/navigating-smugglers-cove-exotic-cocktails-rum-and-the-cult-of-tiki.html


Looking though the category list, I chose Cockspur Old Gold and Cockspur VSOR (12 year) for my rums, and the results were outstanding. (Really, try this one out!) However, per the book’s categorization, I could have used Dos Maderas 5+5 in place of the Cockspur VSOR. If you’ve tried both rums, you know they’re completely different in flavor: The VSOR is a dry, Bajan-style rum, while the Dos Maderas 5+5 is a super-sweet, sherry bomb of a rum. I enjoy both of them for different reasons, but the choice of one versus another absolutely impacts the resulting flavor profile of the drink. Likewise, a recipe calling for a Column Still Aged rum could turn out very different when using El Dorado Single Barrel ICBU (a dry, funky Guyanese rum) as opposed to Zacapa 23, a sweet, glycerol-laden rum from Guatemala.


With Martin's counterpoint: 


You rightly note that that there’s great variety within any one of our categorizations, and that rums even within the same category will make the cocktail noticeably different. This is precisely what we want to showcase- we hope that readers will explore and find favorites, and what they enjoy mixing with most. We also hope it shows that categorization does not equal a lack of diversity or a stifling of creativity among producers- you can adhere to guidelines (whether AOC, WIRSPA, governmental, etc.), and still have great variety. Your two examples are fairly extreme in that you’re comparing two dry rums against two sugar bombs, but your point would still be well made even if the nuances were more subtle.


Anyway, the articule worth reading through. It really is. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Golden Gun (created at Tiki Oasis) with Appleton 12 Jamaican rum, Plantation 3 Stars rum, lime & white grapefruit juice, Briottet wild peach liqueur (subbed for apricot), demerara syrup, Angostura bitters.


Another winner! :)


Golden Gun (created at Tiki Oasis) with Appleton 12 Jamaican rum, Plantation 3 Stars rum, lime & white grapefruit juice, Briottet wild peach liqueur (subbed for apricot), demerara syrup, Angostura bitters #cocktail #cocktails #craftcocktails #tiki #tikidr



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  • 4 weeks later...

Bit late to the party on this one but I thought I'd share a few delightful libations from this fantastic book. Also made a Zombie having been previously disappointed with it in the past, and sadly am still so, which I think definitively tells me the drink is not for me.


All the below were fantastic and I will be making them again!



Don's Own Grogg   



Three Dots and a Dash






Mai Tai - I cheated a bit here as the recipe calls for a vanilla infused demerara syrup they call 'mai tai rich simple syrup. I instead used regular demerara syrup

infusing it with a drop of vanilla essence. The resulting drink was still utterly divine; again I was wary of mai tai's from previous versions I've made but this just

goes to show how good it can be made right!





I really went overboard on the drinks mixer and picked a commercial grade monstrosity. On the plus side, it makes the whole process quick and fun, and it also makes a fantastic malt shake! 


One thing I'm really struggling with are some of the rum choices in certain categories. I'm hitting a real brick wall with the aged column still rums. I had previously got on well with a bottle of Bacardi 8 but find the rum in the newer bottle to be a bit lacklustre compared to the older bottling. I was thinking of trying Flor de Cana 7 year and notice it's completely missing (only the 12 features), wondering if there's any reason for this; is it a bad rum?


I also think there's a bit of a grey area in the categorisation that sites between categories 2 and 3. I'm going to stick with a dedicated white as my lightly aged and having been disappointed by the Diplomatico Blanco I'll be returning to Plantation 3 stars which is excellent. I believe, for the purpose of branching out into other recipes outside of Tiki and this book, there are a few rums that are veritable 'switch-hitters' that can work in both categories as there is a huge expanse in category 3 (aged blended) going up to 12 year old offerings. To that end I think Plantation 5yo Barbados, Mount Gay Black Barrel or Chairman's Reserve might be versatile mid-category rums which could also serve as 'golden rums' where recipes generically call for it. That is unless I should be looking for a gold rum in the Puerto Rican style like Bacardi Carta Oro or Flor de Cana 4/5 year, which is missing from the book entirely? 

Edited by abenc85 (log)
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