The Zombie cocktail really is one scary drink. A spooky sip when savored in a single sitting for sure.
Ever see that Monty Python movie The Meaning of Life where the morbidly obese restaurant patron Mr. Creosote says “better get a bucket” to the maître d’, played by John Cleese? Well, in this case, its a Tiki mug.
Holy heaping helping of hooch. Just exactly when does ‘a’ drink become an entire punch bowl anyway?
History has Hollywood restaurateur Don the Beachcomber hatching this drink recipe in the 1930s to help his own patron who had a hurting head haunted by a hangover. When the man returned to the bar, he complained that he had been transformed into a member of the living er Walking Dead a.k.a .. a zombie for the whole time he was gone.
So the cocktail was named after the Haitian Creole word zonbi ( North Mbundu: nzumbe ) which is an animated corpse resurrected back to life by mystical means, such as witchcraft. This sets the stage for the Zombie to be a great Halloween themed drink and is actually a nice tropical summer cocktail to cool off other occasions as well.
However, this huge horror of a drink needs to be scaled down for home bars. In fact, due to the extremely high alcohol content in the Zombie, Don the Beachcomber restaurants apparently would limit patrons to two drinks each.
Its no wonder. The mysterious mix in the original rumored recipes had as much liquor as roughly three modern cocktails and nearly twice that of a lethal libation like the Long Island Iced Tea.
Zombie Cocktail Recipe ( punch bowl portion ):
- 1 oz dark rum
- 2 oz golden rum
- 1 oz white rum
- 1/2 oz 151 proof rum*
- 1 oz lime juice
- 1 oz lemon juice
- 1 oz pineapple juice
- 1 oz passion fruit juice
- 1 tsp brown sugar
Dissolve the brown sugar with the fruit juices. Add remaining ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and pour into a chilled glass. Some references to the original recipe contained even more alcohol and this entire drink was then served as a towering Tiki tipple for one. Recommend treating this version as a Halloween party punch and serving smaller portions or mixing your poison less potent in version below.
Zombie Drink Ingredients ( home bar helping ):
- 1/2 oz dark rum
- 1/2 oz golden rum
- 1/2 oz white rum
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 2 tsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp pineapple juice
- 2 tsp grenadine syrup
There’s really no right recipe since rumor had Don the Beachcomber guarding the original formula with cryptic coded references, etc. The happy Halloween hostess single serving version cuts the total punch in a third, removes the 151 proof rum*, substitutes grenadine which is usually easier to find than passion fruit and eliminates the sugar so its not to sweet. Feel free to experiment with other citrus and formula variations. Orange and papaya juices are frequently listed in Zombie recipes.
* - Warning: 151 proof rum is flammable and many drink recipes including some zombie cocktail instructions will call for floating the high strength alcohol as a top layer and lighting it. DO NOT EVER use fire of any kind at your home bar for obvious safety reasons. These procedures should be left strictly to professional bartenders working at bars and nighclubs that are properly equipped to handle any hazardous situation that may arise and not inside your house.