The Zombie is an exceptionally strong cocktail made of fruit juices and rum, so named for its perceived effects on the drinker. It first appeared in the mid-1930s, invented by Donn Beach (formerly Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gannt) of Hollywood's Don the Beachcomber restaurant. He concocted it one afternoon in the mid-1930s for a friend who had dropped by his restaurant before flying to San Francisco. The friend left after having consumed three of them. He returned several days later to say that he had been turned into a zombie for his entire trip. Its smooth, fruity taste works to conceal its extremely high alcohol content. For many years the Don the Beachcomber restaurants limited their customers to 2 zombies apiece.
There are countless variations on the Zombie; every bar, chain restaurant, and individual seems to have their own take on it. The following are some of many possible zombies but is not as potent as the original recipe:
- 1 oz light rum
- 1 oz golden rum
- 1 oz dark rum
- 1 oz apricot brandy
- 1 oz pineapple juice
- 1 oz papaya juice
- Dash of Grenadine or other syrup
- 1/2 oz 151-proof rum
Note: 1 oz equals 30 ml
- Shake all ingredients except the 151-proof rum in a shaker with ice.
- Strain into a collins or hurricane glass filled with ice cubes.
- Float the 151-proof rum on top.
- Garnish with pineapple and cherry.
Here is another recipe that is probably close to what the original version was. Don the Beachcomber originally used 5 or 6 kinds of Caribbean rum that are no longer easily available in the United States, so generic rums have been specified.
The following ingredients are supposedly for 1 drink but, with sufficient ice in 2 or 3 glasses, can actually make 2 or 3 very potent drinks.
- 4 oz. (½ cup) water
- 3/4 oz. (1½ tbs.) fresh lime juice
- 1 oz. (2 tbs.) fresh grapefruit juice
- 1/2 oz. (1 tbs.) sugar syrup
- 1 oz. (2 tbs.) dark rum
- 1 oz. (2 tbs.) golden rum
- 1 oz. (2 tbs) white rum
- 1 oz. (2 tbs) 151-proof rum
- 1-1/4 oz. (2½ tbs) spiced golden rum
- 3/4 oz. (1½ tbs.) Cherry Heering
- 1/2 oz. (1 tbs.) Falernum syrup
- 2 dashes (½ tsp.) Pernod or other anisette-flavored pastis
- 3 dashes (¾ tsp) Grenadine
Shake with 4 ice cubes, then pour into 1, 2, or 3 highball glasses that have been filled with crushed ice.
- 1 oz. dark Jamaica rum
- 2 oz. gold label rum
- 1 oz. light rum
- 1/2 oz. apricot brandy
- 2 oz. papaya nectar
- 1 1/2 oz. pineapple juice
- 1/2 oz. lime juice
- 1/2 oz. simple syrup
- 1 or 2 tsp. 151-proof rum
- green cherry (for garnish)
- pineapple stick (for garnish)
- red cherry (for garnish)
- mint sprig (for garnish)
- powdered sugar (for garnish)
Pour all ingredients, except the garnishes and 151-proof rum, into a cocktail shaker two-thirds filled with ice. Shake well; pour into a zombie glass (or hurricane glass), along with the ice from the shaker. Float a few teaspoons of 151-proof rum on the top of the drink. (You may wish to pour it over the back of a spoon, so it floats.) Put the green cherry, pineapple stick, and red cherry (in that order) on a toothpick, and set on the edge of the glass. Add the mint sprig. Sprinkle powdered sugar over everything. Add a straw and, if desired, a cocktail umbrella.
Be sure not to sip the Zombie through the straw at first. Otherwise, you will miss the pleasure of drinking the extra high-proof rum floating on the top!
Zombie Punch (Don the Beachcomber's original 1934 recipe)
As described in "Sippin' Safari" by Jeff "Beachbum" Berry.
- 3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
- 1/2 oz Don's Mix (see below)
- 1/2 oz falernum
- 1 1/2 oz Lowndes Jamaican rum (sub Appleton V/X)
- 1 1/2 oz gold Puerto Rican rum
- 1 oz 151-proof Demerara rum
- Dash Angostura bitters
- Dash Grenadine
- Dash Absinthe (sub Herbsaint or Pernod)
- 6 oz crushed ice
Put everything into a blender, saving ice for last. Blend at high speed for no more than 5 seconds. Pour into a chimney glass. Add ice to fill. Garnish with a mint sprig.
Don's Mix: 2 parts grapefruit juice, 1 part cinnamon-infused sugar syrup