Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar, Home of the Real Goombay Smash
Some Caribbean cocktails are as legendary for their flavor as they are for the disputes over their points of origin. Think Piña Coladas and their multiple birthplaces in Puerto Rico. There are no such doubts, however, about the Goombay Smash. Its undisputed birthplace: Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar on Green Turtle Cay, Abaco, The Bahamas.
True Family Secret
Now, you may think that you’ve enjoyed a real Goombay Smash or two elsewhere in The Bahamas. Certainly, the drink has become synonymous with good times all across the Bahamian islands over the years. As such, you can get it many other places outside Green Turtle.
If the mix you tried didn’t come directly from Miss Emily’s, though, you probably got a Goombay of a different color. Reason…
The full recipe developed here by Emily Cooper way back in the 1960’s has NEVER been shared with anyone outside the Cooper family.
So says Miss Emily’s daughter, Misty. The wife and I met her behind the bar at Lizard’s, another bar just outside of New Plymouth, on a Sunday in late-May 2012.
Fortuitous Lunch Encounter
We had stopped in at Lizard’s after a morning’s lime on Coco Beach. It being Sunday, not too much was open on Green Turtle. So, when we saw people pulling into Lizard’s, we figured we’d better stop lest we miss out on lunch entirely.
That we got to know Misty over a few drinks was a very good thing. We were set to leave early the next morning and had yet to visit Miss Emily’s. At Lizard’s on that Sunday, we had every reason to believe we’d completely missed our chance.
Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar, you see, isn’t open on Sundays. Luckily, though, Misty pulled some strings and they opened up special just for us!
Outside, Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar is small, tidy, humble and very blue. Just another colorfully clapboard building among the many that give New Plymouth its distinctive New England charm.
Inside, however, it’s all graffitied walls, discarded t-shirts, hats and other random accouterments typical of our favorite Caribbean bars.
Inside Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar
Hundreds, perhaps thousands of business cards are scattered about every wall and bit of ceiling. Interspersed among them: foreign currency, flags, personal photos, and bumper stickers.
Oh, and the odd thong or two.
The only uncovered sections of wall space during our visit denoted how high the water rose inside the bar during Hurricane Irene the previous summer. Now repaired and repainted, these sections stood bare awaiting your personal touch.
It’s no wonder so many folks feel compelled to pen missives of love, loss and, remembrance, while also leaving articles of clothing here. As another patron who wandered in during our visit noted:
I remember what it [Goombay Smash] did to me last time…and it wasn’t pretty!
She said this with a boisterous laugh while enthusiastically purchasing a bottle of Goombay Smash to take on her way, more blissful “ugliness” soon to follow.
To be sure, the Goombay Smash is very strong, ergo the “Smash” in its name. The question remains, though…
What’s in Miss Emily’s Goombay Smash?
Well, I’m no member of the Cooper clan, but I can tell you that there’s coconut rum, dark rum, and white rum in every real Goombay Smash. There’s also something a bit stronger mixed in there as well. Oh, and you can’t forget the key ingredient: Dole Pineapple Juice.
No other pineapple juice will do, according to the folks at the Blue Bee. No grenadine or orange juice is used either, though you may find ’em mixed into imitation Goombays served elsewhere.
Indeed, for the real Goombay Smash, Miss Emily’s is absolutely the one and only place to “bee.”