Bar: Smuggler's Cove
Resume: Foggy Grotto (Rebecca and Martin Cate’s home tiki bar where they hosted tiki parties and bar crawls until it closed in 2004)
Favorite tiki drink: Boo Loo. The drink is a perfect example of an exotic cocktail, balancing lime, pineapple, honey and four kinds of rum. It’s traditionally served in a pineapple and intended for two people to share—a wonderful tiki tradition. When tikiphiles were initially connected to each other via the online group Tiki Central, we all took on tiki names. You can probably now guess what mine was.
Why she got into tiki: The escape from the every day that tiki bars offer. My favorite thing to do at Smuggler's Cove is to stand near the front door and watch people walk in for the first time. That sense of wonder that crosses their eyes as their mouths drop open—even the guy trying to play it completely cool gives himself away. I have been to the most magical tiki bar on earth, Mai-Kai in Fort Lauderdale, dozens of times now. It doesn't matter—when I walk in the front door, I still have to catch my breath. I have been brought to tears by the beauty of the space. Add a seat by the running water and a rum drink in my hand, and there is nowhere else I want to be.
Greatest lesson learned working in tiki: There are still so many people, professionals and enthusiasts alike who fundamentally misunderstand tiki. Some may understand the drinks, but not the art, music and ambiance that makes a tiki bar. Or they build a perfect space and serve drinks packed with artificial syrups and garbage rum. Or they stick plastic party decorations on a wall, serve a rum and Coke and say they've created a tiki bar. Martin and I are passionate about educating people about rum, exotic cocktails and tiki history, and this was a big driving force behind our book.