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A Master Class in Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki

Put on your favorite Aloha shirt and settle in for a jaunty read.

After reading the gorgeously produced Smuggler's Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of Tiki, we feel like we’ve earned a Master’s degree in tiki-ology.

From Arrack Punch to Zombies, it’s all here: how to mix a tropical cocktail, what to consider when starting a rum collection, and a fascinating walkthrough of the 20th century evolution of Polynesian Pop style, from early “pre-tiki” to the tiki revival movement.

Martin Cate, who penned the book with his wife Rebecca, is owner of Smuggler's Cove in San Francisco which has been included on multiple “Best Bar” lists including Esquire and Playboy and whose design inspiration derived in part from the Molokai Bar at the Mai Kai in Fort Lauderdale (which he calls “The Mothership”).

Throughout the tome Cate pays fond homage, not just to legends of the movement such as Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic, but to the dudes who kept the style alive at the dawn of the tiki revival. He’s such a genial guy that in an erudite passage about whether tiki décor should include surfboards (spoiler alert: he says no) he does his best to present historic evidence supporting each side of the debate.

There are party planning tips (“You should always buy more citrus than you think you’ll need”) and of course dozens of recipes for classic and inspired cocktails like the Tradewinds and the Suffering Bastard. And yes, the Mai Tai: a five-page section about Mai Tais will give you the confidence to disdain most pale imitations of a real Mai Tai you may have the misfortune to encounter.

“The simple life does have its excitements,” Cate writes. "And they remind us why we fell in love with tiki bars in the first place.”

Pick up a copy for yourself and another for a friend. Then let your friend treat the next round of Navy Grogs.