…from the California Happy Hour Bar
How you doin’? There is a darn good reason why this cocktail is called a Zombie. It starts with four different rums!
So, just what is a Zombie Cocktail? A Zombie is a frou-frou Tiki cocktail made of fruit juices, liqueurs and various rums. It first appeared in late 1934, invented by Donn Beach at his Hollywood Don the Beachcomber restaurant. It was popularized on the East coast soon afterwards at the 1939 New York World's Fair. Donn believed, If you can't get to Paradise, we'll bring Paradise to you! And so he did.
Texas-born restaurateur and adventurer Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt (1907-1989, aka "Donn Beach") founded the first Don's Beachcomber bar in Hollywood, California. This was one of the first, if not the first, restaurant to take on a Polynesian/ tropical motif for both decor and cuisine. The restaurant became fashionable, and other locations opened by World War II.
While he was in the armed forces providing servicemen with food and entertainment, his wife, Sunny Sund, managed his restaurants, expanding the number to 16. Over the years, at least 12 outlets existed in California and at least 25 across the country. Following his divorce from Sund, she retained control over the American restaurants and Gannt moved to Waikiki and began opening other businesses, including another tropical-themed restaurant called "Polynesian Village." He died in Honolulu in 1989.
The history of tiki culture dates back to ancient Polynesia. Such carvings were first discovered there and tiki carvings are said to represent a Polynesian God. They're an integral part of South Pacific mythology, culture and history.
Along with Trader Vic’s, The Warehouse Restaurants and Don the Beachcomber, it is well proven that Polynesian-style restaurants are long enduring. Before we opened the first Warehouse Restaurant in Marina del Rey, I spent a week with Donn in Hawaii and learned many of his mixology “secrets.”
Get ready to travel to paradise. You’ll need ten Zombie cocktail ingredients to make this gem, but it’s worth it! This fun rum cocktail is tropical, fruity…and POTENT!
1 ounce white rum
1 ounce spiced rum
1 ounce dark rum
1 ounce freshly-squeezed lime juice
1 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce pineapple juice
1 ounce passion fruit syrup (try to find Monin Passion Fruit Syrup)
3 dashes orange bitters
1/2 ounce Falernum liqueur
1/2 ounce grenadine
1/2 ounce 151 proof rum
Ice, for serving
Suggested garnishes: Fresh mint, pineapple wedge and/or a tiki umbrella
ChefSecret: Falernum Liqueur is a liqueur or a nonalcoholic syrup from the Caribbean. It is best known for its use in tropical drinks. It’s flavored with spicy ginger, lime, almond and frequently cloves or allspice. It may be thought of as a spicier version of orgeat syrup.
Quip of the Day: “I sat at the bar and ordered the bartender to ‘Make me a Zombie.’ The bartender said, ‘God beat me to it.’”
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