Smuggler's Cove // San Fancisco, CA
Rum. To be honest, I’m not sure how to feel about it. First there was the vodka craze, then single malt scotch, followed by blue agave tequilas. Part of me thinks we’ve run out of spirits to pay too much money for. But, another part of me thinks of rum and beaches and pirates and islands in the Caribbean, and that part of me wants to tell the first part of me to lighten up and enjoy life a little. And to hear Marcovaldo Dionysos talk about it, I’m inclined to do just that. So next time you’re in San Francisco and wondering why it’s 50 degrees and foggy in May, drop in to Smuggler’s cove and let Marcovaldo transport you to someplace more exotic, where the sun is warm and the drinks are cold.
I walk into Smuggler’s Cove for the first time, is there a signature drink I must order from you?
The Dead Reckoning is one of our signature drinks, and one of my favorites. Created by Martin Cate (the owner), it is made with our Smuggler’s Cove Private Reserve rum from El Dorado in Guyana, lemon & pineapple juices, maple syrup, tawny port, vanilla, bitters, and seltzer.
Smuggler’s Cove receives many accolades. What makes it so special?
The sheer number of rums available (300) makes the Cove unique, as well as the cocktail list which spans the entire history of rum. It’s also a fun spot to spend an evening.
Do most people order off the menu or put fate in your hands?
Most order from the menu, though with 80 drinks to choose from, many people need a little guidance.
Best 3 Tiki drinks you ever served?
The Jet Pilot, created by Don the Beachcomber; the classic Trader Vic 1944 Mai Tai; the Puka Punch from the Tiki Ti in LA. Ask me tomorrow and you might get a different answer…
Best 3 non-Tiki drinks you ever served?
I love classics like the Negroni and the Sazerac that are simply amazing when made well. And the Chartreuse Swizzle is the drink I’m most proud of.
What do you think is next in the world of Rum? Any predictions for the second half of 2011?
I think rum will be taken more and more seriously as a sipping spirit, as well as a cocktail base.
With more and more calorie conscious drinkers, are you serving lighter cocktails?
Our focus is on fresh juices and housemade syrups, which make our drinks healthier and tastier than people expect from tropical drinks, but I haven’t really seen a demand for “Skinny Piña Colada” nonsense.
Any recommendations and/or advice for our Rum bartenders at home?
Beachbum Berry’s books and cocktail apps are a great resource. Use fresh juice and measure everything.
After a long night tending bar, what is your drink of choice?
My favorite Tiki drink: TikiLa!
Somebody asks what you do for a living. Your answer – bartender or mixologist?
Bartender. Because there’s so much more to it than mixing drinks.