Books Tiki

The Zombie Is Alive! “Zombie Horde” available now.

One of the world’s most sublime drinking pleasures, the Zombie is the cocktail that launched a thousand Tiki bars. A sweet and sour mélange of citrus, spice, and lots of rum, the Zombie stands as one of the most significant cocktails of the past century. Created by Don the Beachcomber in 1934, the Zombie took the world by storm, and soon became the quintessential Tiki drink. Eventually, it would appear on the menus of thousands of bars and restaurants around the world.

In Zombie Horde, David J. Montgomery (aka Professor Cocktail) leads you on a journey through the history of the Zombie, starting with its humble beginnings in Hollywood, and following it as it evolved and spread over the decades. Zombie Horde includes recipes from notable bartenders like Trader Vic, David Embury, Salvatore Calabrese, and Dale DeGroff, as well as the formulas for the Zombies served at famous Tiki joints like the Tonga Room in San Francisco, Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas, and the Luau Room in San Diego.

It also includes recent cocktails that were inspired by the Zombie, with offerings from Martin Cate (Smuggler’s Cove), Brian Miller (Death & Company), Allan Katz (Caña Rum Bar), Brian Dressel (Midnight Cowboy), and Audrey Saunders (Pegu Club).

As a special bonus, Zombie Horde showcases seven new drinks – from Jim Meehan (PDT), Tom Brown (Hogo), Jeff Kinder (Distil), Joseph Swifka (La Descarga), Craig Lane (Bar Agricole), Jack Fetterman (PKNY), and Frank Cisneros (Bourgeois Pig Brooklyn) — that are appearing in print for the first time. Also making their print debut are the recipes for the Zombies served at Mahiki in London, Otto’s Shrunken Head in New York City, and Founding Farmers in Washington, D.C.


Zombie Horde is a marvelous compendium of fabulous and fascinating recipes. Tiki bars are near and dear to my heart, and I’m grateful for David J. Montgomery’s work.”
–Michael Ruhlman, best-selling author of The Soul of a ChefThe French Laundry Cookbook, and Ruhlman’s Twenty

“Good (Tiki) god! I had no idea there are so many new versions of this potion out there — and most by reputable bartenders. A good thing that someone collected them all, or else there would have to be a mid-21st century Jeff Berry (a “Son of the Beachbum”?) to dig all THOSE up! Zombie Horde will give the drink a whole new level of recognition. The Zombie is ALIVE!”
–Sven Kirsten, author of The Book of Tiki and father of the modern Tiki revival

“The Zombie’s family tree is immense, gnarly, and (in parts) wholly fabricated from unnatural elements. Also, it has many dead limbs. Professor Cocktail has done us all a favor by taking on the pruning, grafting, and fertilizing, and by eschewing all topiary embellishment. A great addition to your cocktail library.”
–Wayne Curtis, author of And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in 10 Cocktails

“As I’ve said before, Tiki drinks occupy a space somewhere in the Venn diagram of the American psyche where escapism, irony, and kitsch overlap. No Tiki cocktail is more famous — or infamous — than the Zombie. It is proof that mixology treads a thin line between insanity and genius. Attempting to chart the history and evolution of the Zombie feels like a new level of madness. But David J. Montgomery has survived to admirably tell the tale in this entertaining, insightful ode to a drink that will knock you on your ass.”
–Jason Wilson, author of Boozehound: On The Trail of the Rare, the Obscure, and the Overrated in Spirits and the wine series Planet of the Grapes

“A thoroughly researched, dare I say exhaustive, compendium of this immortal (pun intended) and classic cocktail. It’s a drink like the Zombie that makes it impossible for me to reconcile my vocation (trademark attorney) with my avocation (cocktail geek). Indeed, in no other field do you find such rampant disregard for the sanctity of a name. But there is great chaos under the cocktail heavens and, as Zombie Horde so ably shows, the situation is excellent. Highly entertaining! Hats off to Professor Cocktail, Corpse Compiler No. 1!”
–Philip Greene, author of To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion and co-founder of The Museum of the American Cocktail

About the Author

David J. Montgomery mixes his love of history and alcohol into one potent concoction through his work at He is also a nationally renowned book critic and commentator on writing and the publishing industry. Mr. Montgomery is an emeritus columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and The Daily Beast, and has written for USA TodayThe Washington PostPhiladelphia Inquirer, and other fine publications. His short fiction has appeared both online and in print. A former Professor of History, he lives in the Washington, D.C. suburbs with his wife and two daughters.