Cocktail & Other Recipes By Spirit Rum Cocktails

Three Dots & A Dash

A footed pilsner glass holds a dark rum drink and crushed ice, garnished with a pineapple frond and three cherries skewered on a sword-shaped pick. The drink is placed on top of a newspaper announcing the Allies’ victory over the Axis in World War II, as well as some Tiki ads featuring “Don the Beachcomber”

Smuggler’s Cove

It might not be as iconic as the Mai Tai, nor as potent and indulgent as the Zombie, but the Three Dots & A Dash is as essential drink from the classic "Tiki" bartending canon. Donn Beach himself, one of the two grandfathers of the style, created this drink during World War II. Its name refers to the morse code for the letter V, or Victor; more meaningfully, though, it stood for “victory” for the Allies in their fight against the Axis.

Like many other drinks of the era, the original recipe has been altered and adapted over the years. This version comes from Martin Cate, owner of San Francisco’s famed Smuggler’s Cove. This recipe uses a mix of different rums—a hallmark of Tiki-style drink making—starting with rhum agricole. At Smuggler’s Cove, Cate uses AOC Martinique rhum agricole vieux, which is darker than many other rhum agricoles, along with a blended, aged rum.

For the syrups, it’s a blend of St. Elizabeth allspice dram for complexity and baking spice notes, John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum for rich nuttiness and honey syrup for added sweetness. Fresh lime and orange juice are added for balance, with Angostura bitters rounding out the ingredients.

To prepare a Three Dots & a Dash cocktail, Cate prefers a process referred to as “flash blending.” This method entails using a stand-up blender, similar to a milkshake blender, filling the mixing vessel with crushed ice and a few larger ice cubes called “agitator cubes,” and then quickly blending. The entire contents of the blender are poured straight into the glass, save for some of the larger chunks, which are strained out.

Of course, as with any tropical drink, the garnish plays a significant role. The Three Dots & A Dash cocktail is garnished with three cherries on a pick, representing the three dots, and either a pineapple chunk or a pineapple frond, representing the dash. When selecting the maraschino cherries that top the drink, be sure to grab ones of decent quality like Luxardo’s cherries.


  • 1 1/2 ounces AOC Martinique rhum agricole vieux

  • 1/2 ounce blended aged rum

  • 1/4 ounce Velvet Falernum

  • 1/4 ounce allspice dram

  • 1/2 ounce honey syrup

  • 1/2 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1/2 ounce orange juice, freshly squeezed

  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

  • Garnish: 3 maraschino cherries

  • Garnish: 1 pineapple frond


  1. Add the rhum agricole, blended rum, falernum, allspice dram, honey syrup, lime juice, orange juice and bitters to a drink mixer tin.

  2. Fill with 12 ounces of crushed ice and 4 to 6 small “agitator” cubes.

  3. Flash-blend, then pour into a footed pilsner glass, straining out any large chunks of ice, and add the garnish.

  4. Garnish with three cherries on a cocktail pick and a pineapple frond.

What Is the Meaning of “Three Dots & A Dash”?

Created during World War II by Donn Beach, the name of the cocktail refers to the morse code for the letter V or Victor—more meaningfully, though, it stood for “victory” for the Allies in their fight against the Axis.

What Type of Blender Do I Need?

Those making this at home without the luxury of the particular kind of blender used at Smuggler’s Cove can hand-shake the drink’s contents with ice until chilled, then strain it into a footed pilsner over fresh crushed ice. Another option is to use a regular blender, briefly pulsing the drink with ice cubes until the desired consistency is achieved.