Cocktail Recipe: Don the Beachcomber’s Zombie Punch (1934)

In my new book, Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde: Recipes for the World’s Most Lethal
Drink
, I make the case for the Zombie being the quintessential Tiki drink — and one of the most important cocktail creations of the 20th century.

But you might be wondering: What's in a Zombie, anyway? Good question! Most of us have heard of the drink, but a lot of people have never tried one. And even fewer have had a Zombie made in the classic style.

Here is the recipe for the original Don the Beachcomber Zombie, as printed in Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde. (This gives you an idea of what you'll see if you buy it.)


ZombieDon the Beachcomber's Zombie Punch (1934)

Source:

Jeff Berry
Beachbum Berry's Sippin' Safari
Club Tiki Press/SLG Publishing, 2007

The original version, the one that started it all, as served at Don the Beachcomber's famed Hollywood restaurant. This was the drink that made Don's reputation and secured his place in cocktail history.

Instructions:

3/4 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz. Don's Mix*
1/2 oz. Falernum
1 1/2 oz. Gold Puerto Rican Rum
1 1/2 oz. Aged Jamaican Rum
1 oz. 151-proof Lemon Hart Demerara Rum
Dash Angostura Bitters
6 drops (1/8 tsp.) Pernod or Herbsaint
1 tsp. Grenadine
6 oz (3/4 cup) Crushed Ice

Put everything in a blender. Blend at high speed for no more than 5 seconds. Pour into a chimney glass. Add ice cubes to fill. Garnish with a mint sprig.

*Don's Mix was one of the Beachcomber's secret ingredients. It's made by combining 2 parts grapefruit juice with 1 part cinnamon syrup. It is also available for purchase from B.G. Reynolds' syrups.

Professor's Note:

This recipe, still perhaps the best one in existence, contains several of Don the Beachcomber's signature touches, including the blend of multiple rums, the use of exotic spices, and the one-two punch of Angostura bitters and pastis. It's no wonder this is one of the most imitated drinks in the world.

Obviously Don's original version of the drink contains some obscure ingredients, like Don's Mix, falernum and Lemon Hart Rum. (The book explains what all of those things are, and more.)

But Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde also contains a lot of recipes that are easier for the home bartender, including a simplified Zombie recipe that includes only ingredients you can find no matter where you live.

Even if you're not looking to master mixology at home, the book contains plenty of interesting history and fun facts that I think you'll enjoy learning.

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