Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar in the Bahamas- the birthplace of the Goombay Smash
MISS EMILY’S GOOMBAY SMASH
I ran into the Goombay Smash years ago, when I was on the out island of Abaco, Bahamas, assisting the New York Zoological Society in saving the endangered Bahamian Parrot. In our free time, we rented a Boston Whaler and explored the Sea of Abaco and visited the tiny cays lining Abaco’s eastern shore.
One tiny cay named Green Turtle Cay has a village named New Plymouth, where you can find a small bar called Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar. We walked in, escaping the searing sun outside, and ordered an unfamiliar drink of Miss Emily’s, called the Goombay Smash. I immediately knew this concoction of hers would become my favorite Caribbean beverage. It had a fruity-tasting Bahamian taste that hid the high potency. I drank 3 of them, due to the sweltering heat- the famous “Painkiller” cocktail of BVI just took second place to this pick-me-up! I felt like I gulped down a few stomach relaxers.
So, how did the Goombay Smash come to being? Well, it is a rum-based beverage that took over the Bahamas, and the world… created by Emily Cooper, aka Miss Emily, at the little Blue Bee Bar on the tiny cay of New Plymouth. I asked Miss Emily what the ingredients were, but she shook her head and said the recipe was her secret. Many believe it contains coconut rum, dirty rum, apricot brandy, and pineapple juice.
I wanted to know if the Blue Bee Bar was, indeed, home to the inventor and discoverer of the Goombay Smash. She said it was, and that all the other places in the U.S. and world serve mere imitations. I told her that I’ve sipped them in hotels and bars in the U.S. and the ones she made were far superior in taste. I pleaded again for the ingredients, but she said it was a family secret. Not only was her original Goombay Smash superior in taste, it was in potency, too… I did the duck walk out of the place.
Journey through the Bahamas and Caribbean, Key West and Florida Keys with CIA Spymaster Corey Pearson. Here’s the latest edition: MISSION OF VENGEANCE
Upon returning to NW Pennsylvania, I decided to sustain a little bit of Miss Emily’s Bahamas in my life. I bought coconut rum, pineapple juice, and apricot brandy at the liquor store and tried different amounts of each. My final version of Miss Emily’s Goombay Smash wasn’t on par with hers, but after much experimentation, it was close enough! Here’ a Goombay Smash recipe that’s delicious, but don’t let the fruity taste fool you… it’s potent!
1oz spiced rum (I use Captain Morgan)
1 oz coconut rum (I use Malibu coconut rum, but you can experiment with other coconut-flavored rums).
¼ oz apricot brandy
¼ oz gold rum
2 oz pineapple juice
2 oz orange juice
Lots of ice cubes
One Goombay Smash drink is roughly 184 calories. I’ve always wondered if any of the bartenders working in the glitzy resorts or in the humble beach bars throughout the Bahamas are aware of Miss Emily’s secret? I don’t think they are, for their versions of the Goombay Smash are tasty and good, but not as flavorsome as those served in the Blue Bee Bar.
Yes, the secretive rum-based drink was created on Green Turtle Cay, by Emily Cooper, alias “Miss Emily”. The top-secret recipe has stayed in the family since its creation in the 1960’s. It is speculated that the many Bahamians living in the Florida Keys and Miami may have introduced it into the U.S.
If you’re ever in the Abaco, Bahamas, you must stop in at the changeless, everlasting Blue Bee Bar. It has remained a popular bar in Green Turtle Cay for over 70 years. Dennis Cooper, Miss Emily’s husband, first managed it and he named the bar after his beautiful wife Miss Emily and the blue bee fish. When Dennis passed away, Miss Emily took over and managed it until her passing in 1997.
The “Goombay Smash” has become the “national Bahamian drink”, made famous at a tiny bar in a village named New Plymouth. In 1997, Miss Emily’s daughter, Violet Smith, carried on with the secret famous recipe. Today, Mrs. Violet and her husband manage the Blue Bee Bar. I wonder if they would give me the secret menu… I don’t think so.
Lastly, this video Miss Emily’s Goombay Smash features Violet Smith, Miss Emily’s daughter and the inside of the Blue Bee Bar. Enjoy!
Robert Morton is a member of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO), enjoys writing about the U.S. Intelligence Community, and relishes traveling to the Florida Keys and Key West, the Bahamas and Caribbean. He combines both passions in his Corey Pearson- CIA Spymaster series. Check out his latest spy thriller: MISSION OF VENGEANCE.