Friday night cocktail: The Zombie


With the weather being so unusually warm this spring, I’ve been drinking a lot of rum cocktails lately. Among rum drinks, none are tastier or more complicated than the family known as faux-Polynesian, or “Tiki,” drinks. And among Tiki drinks, none packs a bigger punch than the Zombie.

Originally devised by Don the Beachcomber in the mid-1930s, the Zombie was the unrivalled king of Tiki drinks for a long time. (For the full story, check out Jeff “Beachbum” Berry‘s book Sippin’ Safari.) One of the defining ingredients in the Zombie is 151-proof Demerara rum. Unfortunately, this product isn’t available in Ontario, so I tweaked the recipe to use ingredients I could get.

Another defining ingredient is falernum, a lime-zest-and-clove liqueur that hails from the Caribbean. It, too, is unavailable for retail sale in Ontario, so I made mine from scratch. If you develop a taste for classic Tiki drinks, you’ll want to have some on hand at all times.

The Zombie comes by its name honestly, so don’t plan on going anywhere after you consume one. Better yet, serve with two straws and share it with a friend.

How to make a Zombie

  • 3/4 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 2 tsp. grapefruit juice
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon syrup
  • 1 tsp. grenadine
  • 1/2 oz. falernum
  • 1.5 oz. El Dorado 5-year-old rum
  • 1.5 oz. Havana Club Anejo Reserva
  • 1 oz. J. Wray and Nephew white overproof rum
  • 1/8 tsp. pastis, such as Ricard or Pernod
  • Dash Angostura bitters

Shake all ingredients thoroughly with ice, then strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. How to make a Royal Bermuda Yacht Club cocktail | Kayahara - June 18, 2010

    […] you followed my advice and made up a batch of falernum for the Zombie, by now you’re probably wondering what else you can mix with it. Here’s your […]

  2. Infused spirits in under 5 minutes | Kayahara - August 20, 2010

    […] Penguin describing how to make a quick ’n’ dirty falernum. (No more excuses not to make a Zombie or Royal Bermuda Yacht Club!) And Alex and Aki of Ideas in Food took the technique in a whole new […]