The Story Behind The Zombie

A quintessential tiki drink — combining three kinds of rum, two juices, apricot brandy, and tropical liqueurs and syrups — the Zombie is just the drink to bring you back to life.

According to tiki enthusiast Arnold Bitner, the Zombie was created in 1934 at Donn Beach’s Don the Beachcomber restaurant in Hollywood, known for being the first tiki bar. Rumor has it that the Zombie was concocted to aid a hung over customer who was on his way to a business meeting. Several days later, the customer returned, claiming the drink had turned him into “a zombie” for his entire trip. Subsequently, Beach’s restaurants would limit customers to only two Zombies per meal.

While Beach also claimed to have invented the classic Mai Tai, as tiki historian and mixologist Jeff Berry says, his invention of the Zombie is a great introduction to the complex and bombastic world of tiki cocktails.

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce light rum
  • 1 ounce dark rum
  • 1 ounce apricot brandy
  • 1/2 ounce falernum liqueur
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ounce pineapple juice
  • 1/4 ounce Grenadine
  • 1/2 ounce overproof rum
  • Garnish: pineapple wedge, cocktail cherry

Directions

  1. Add all the ingredients except the overproof rum to a shaker with ice and shake.
  2. Strain into a Collins or highball glass with fresh ice.
  3. Float the overproof rum on top, then garnish with the pineapple and cherry.

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Updated: 2022-03-20

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The Zombie Recipe