…from the Perspectives’ Happy Hour Bar
How you doin’? We’re more than halfway to Halloween, but sometimes it feels like it’s just around the corner just as it did recently when I was down on the Las Vegas strip after dark… I don’t think I’ve ever seen more Zombies in my life! I was going to get a margarita at Margaritaville but opted for a Zombie Cocktail instead.
What is a Zombie Cocktail you ask? The Zombie is a famous tropical rum cocktail. Donn Beach created it in the 1930s when he opened America's first Polynesian-themed tiki bar, Don the Beachcomber, in Hollywood, California. The Zombie is a tasty blend of rum and fruit juices and a fantastic summertime cocktail.
Donn Beach (born Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt) is a legend among bartenders. He devised the first tropical-themed establishment that laid the foundation for America's tiki bar scene including such venues as The Warehouse and The Customs House restaurants. Beach was not only a great businessman but also had a knack for combining an array of ingredients to create elaborate tropical cocktails, including the Zombie.
Beach encrypted his original cocktail recipes and bar stock with top-secret codes, so very few people knew how to make them. As the Zombie's Cocktail gained in popularity, other bars created their own versions, and this classic took on all sorts of added ingredients and flavors.
Zombie Cocktails are supposed to have a base of both light and dark rums; sometimes, with an added 151-proof rum float. Passion fruit is common, though an array of other fruits, including grapefruit, orange, papaya, and pineapple, have been used in Zombie Cocktails. Many recipes are excellent cocktails, and it's worth mixing up a few different versions to see which you enjoy most.
This recipe is from my first restaurant, The Warehouse in Marina del Rey, California. Some mixologists speculate that Donn Beach may have intentionally simplified a recipe for people to mix at home to promote use of one of his retail bar mixes. While it is an easy cocktail to make, it has brilliant and fascinating taste thrills. Beyond the Zombie punch (and unless more secrets are revealed), this may be as close to the original Zombie as most people will taste today.
Prep time: 3 minutes
Yield: 1 cocktail
1 ounce light rum
1 ounce gold rum
1 ounce unsweetened pineapple juice
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice, from about 1/2 lemon
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice, from 1 large lime
1 ounce passion fruit syrup
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1 dash aromatic bitters
1 ounce 151-proof dark rum, float
Fresh mint sprig, for garnish
ChefSecret: The Zombie Cocktail is always served in a tall glass—a 12-ounce version of highball or Collins glasses. If you're looking for a more tropical look, serve it in a hurricane, skull or tiki glass.
Quip of the Day: What's the difference between men and pigs? Pigs don't turn into men when they get drunk.
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To you and everyone dear to you, be strong, be positive, stay well, stay safe and be kind. Take a breath and count your blessings, and if you have a little extra to share with others, please consider donating to Feeding America and/or American Red Cross.
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