Fritch’s Favorite Five Rum Flight at Smuggler’s Cove

As Smuggler’s Cove officially welcomes guests again, we want to highlight one of the new offerings. Fritch’s Favorite Five is a rum flight based on the picks that our late friend Alex Fritch made during our Five Bottle Rum Challenge video earlier this year. It’s actually a really great selection of rums that span a range of different styles and different countries of origin.

The flight offers tribute to our friend, and 100% of the sales go to Alex’s family. So go ahead and give these amazing rums a try, but know it is going to a good cause. And send a little toast Alex’s way as well.

Be sure to ask the Smuggler’s Cove crew about their rum club, the Rhumbustion Society. This is a little more educationally oriented than some rum clubs are, and you can sample rums from The Cove’s vast selection (over 1000 bottles on site). A great way to learn more about rum.

Smuggler’s Cove is reopening today.

Welcome Back Smuggler’s Cove

Reopening today is San Francisco’s Smuggler’s Cove, available to serve guests like they always have since 2009. No more cans or to-go soup, just fine cocktails and a vast selection of rums to taste.

We had the pleasure of visiting the Cove last week for a soft-reopen and it was so nice to be able to relax inside an immersive tiki bar while sipping on the finest cocktails in the city.

Mrs Mai Tai’s new favorite cocktail is Dr. Barca’s Fluffy Banana. So flavorful and light, perfect even for those who say they don’t like banana in a cocktail.

Meanwhile, I had the Smuggler’s Cove Mai Tai, which I’m pleased to say still ranks in the top 3 of all time.

There’s a new cocktail called the Pratique Punch, which is a great way to celebrate the reopening. There’s also a special rum flight which we’ll cover in detail in the next post but will put a quick plug in here too.

The Smuggler’s Cove staff couldn’t have been nicer and even with being benched for over a year due to COVID most certainly have come back strong. Note that The Cove doesn’t offer reservations and that entry will be by first-come basis, so if you’re planning to visit it’ll help to get there early before opening.

Presidio Afternoon at Walt Disney Museum and Sessions

Julie and I took our sons our for the afternoon at the Presidio in San Francisco. We started with a visit to the Walt Disney Family Museum, which is featuring a wonderful special exhibit on Disney during World War II. Photos aren’t allowed inside but there are some truly fascinating exhibits that chronicle not just the studio’s animation output but also putting some fo the things into cultural and political context. Highly recommended. We also did a quick run through the main museum which we have visited several times before and is always a delight. I am especially fond of the last room chronicling Walt’s media diversification in the 1950s starting with television and then with Disneyland.

Dinner was at Sessions, which we enjoyed earlier in the month during the May 4th special event with Smuggler’s Cove. The food here is gourmet, though pricey. This time we tried the beignets and they are so great. Wait service was disappointingly slow (like it was last time), though.

There are only a few cocktails on the menu. The Rum and Pineapple-based Sarlacc Shrubb was okay, though more tart than I prefer. Much better was the Golden Gate Mile, featuring Bourbon, Grapefruit, Honey, and Ginger. Julie liked the Presidio cocktail with Gin, Lemon, Hibiscus, and Prosecco. If you’re a wine fan, there are dozens of Skywalker Vineyards selections, which seemed popular with the patrons.

We finished the day by visiting the Yoda statue nearby.

May the Fourth Special Event in SF with Smuggler’s Cove

What a fabulous time in San Francisco yesterday for the special event at Sessions restaurant on the Lucasfilm campus. The special “May the Fourth” event was a partnership with Smuggler’s Cove and featured some special Star Wars themed cocktails on the menu and the inclusion of Smuggler’s Cove merch, silent auction items, and rum tasting alongside the merchandise and wine tasting from Lucasfilm and Geeki Tikis.

We really enjoyed our meal at Sessions, so much that we’re planning to come back. The patio dining suited us just fine.

Mai Tai Fighter and Blue Harvest

As for the cocktails: we need Princess Leia to give gold medals to the bartenders from Smuggler’s Cove. I started first with the “Mai Tai Fighter” which is a standard 1944 Mai Tai with a “dark side” float of OFTD. Oh, such an amazing Mai Tai. By far the best so far in 2021.

Equally impressive was the “Blue Harvest,” a riff on SC’s Captain’s Grog. Blue Harvest was the codename for the original Star Wars movie and the inclusion of Rum-Bar Silver replacing the dark Jamaican rum was a huge plus for this cocktail. I will feel no shame ordering this at the Cove, it’s just that good. The “Rebel Pilot” was a stand in for a Jet Pilot and was quite excellent, as was the Kessel Run with rum, bourbon, and coffee liqueur.

Rebecca Cate and Martin Cate from Smuggler’s Cove

Additionally, it was so nice to see familiar faces at the event. We had a great time socializing (wearing masks) after dinner. We are now really looking forward to Smuggler’s Cove’s reopening (in June?).

Formidable Dragon with Wray & Nephew Swag

Smuggler’s Cove is running a special on their Formidable Dragon to-go cocktail. There is Wray & Nephew Swag available with purchase, a promotion to celebrate the use of Wray Overproof and sister brand Appleton 8 Reserve in the cocktail. It’s a delicious cocktail and the merch makes it extra fun.

I chose these fine W&N beach slippers, which will come in handy next week on vacation.

The promotion is available for a limited times, is get thee to The Cove before it is too late.

Smuggler’s Cove To-Go Cocktails

Mrs. Mai Tai and I took a drive to SF and got some fab cocktails from Smuggler’s Cove.

I’ve been impressed with the quality of the take-out cocktails from Smuggler’s Cove, which have been consistently excellent throughout their to-go period. These cocktails aren’t the cheapest, but man they’ve been fantastic and importantly better than I could make at home. Remember that post a few weeks ago where Mrs. Mai Tai and I tried three different Painkillers made with fresh ingredients? Not as good as the Painkiller we had from the Cove, and not even close.

The Tradewinds was my order, pictured with some take-out sushi from another restaurant. I’ve never had this amazing cocktail made with coconut creme and apricot liqueur before and now I have serious FOMO. So good.

Now, if only Smuggler’s Cove would offer a to-go Mai Tai!

Amazing Cocktails from Smuggler’s Cove

The Dead Reckoning and Rosalita from Smuggler’s Cove really did the trick for us tonight. So flavorful and plenty boozy, both featuring ingredients I don’t have at home.

  • Dead Reckoning: Let this drink guide you to a new destination. Rum, pineapple, fresh lemon, vanilla liqueur, maple, tawny port, Angostura bitters
  • Rosalita: As beautiful as it is delicious, this cocktail contains rum, lime, house-made orgeat, house-made hibiscus liqueur, pear liqueur, seltzer, bitters.

Smuggler’s Cove Cocktails To Go

Finally made it up to the city to get some to-go cocktails from Smuggler’s Cove. The menu outside the building highlights which cocktails are available, an aid to those walking up. We had done our order via online and ahead a couple days and the reminder text alerts for the order worked great.


This weekend, the Cove was doing a promotion with Pusser’s Rum and the regularly available Painkiller cocktail was made with the higher ABV Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof. This was for Mrs. Mai Tai who said it was delicious and potent. And we got to take home some Pussers swag as well.

I picked up the Fog Cutter, a Trader Vic’s cocktail I’ve gotten into this year. The Cove uses Oloroso Sherry, which is different than the Cream Sherry I have at home. Pretty good cocktail, though now that I’ve tasted both I do prefer to the Cream Sherry.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Mai Tai gave the Smuggler’s Cove “meal option” a rave review. When you order cocktails to go you have to order one of two soups. Julie said that the vegan soup was outstanding, just as good as any she’d expect to get at a good restaurant.

Luau Lounge: Outdoor Tiki at Pier 39

Traveled Sunday to SF and along the way we went over to Pier 39 to check out the new patio experience at the Luau Lounge. I’ve had some mixed experiences over the years at the Luau Lounge, but it is always good to see when businesses are trying to hang on and maybe even thrive in COVID times. Hence the Luau Lounge taking over the former stage space at the end of the pier.

The set up looks good, with tables spaced out well. The cocktail menu still includes a few tiki favorites, along with mainstream cocktails, beer, and wine that are necessary for a tourist restaurant. Food has been good here when we’ve visited before.

We didn’t stay for a drink or meal, though. We’re still a little hesitant about the outdoor dining with strangers, but mostly for us on Sunday at noon was lack of shade. I think there will be many times during the day where the sun won’t be too bad, but our timing wasn’t great.

If you’re in SF and hankering for some tiki, the Luau Lounge seems like a reasonable choice right now.