Celebrate the Season with “Professor Cocktail’s Holiday Drinks: Recipes for Mixed Drinks and More”

Professor Cocktails Holiday Drinks: Recipes for Mixed Drinks and More

Professor Cocktail’s Holiday Drinks: Recipes for Mixed Drinks and More
By David J. Montgomery

In cocktail bars and lounges around the world, people will be gathering during the holiday season to enjoy a drink or two with family and friends. Now you can enjoy the same great drinks at home with the recipes included in Professor Cocktail’s Holiday Drinks: Recipes for Mixed Drinks and More.

Stuffed full of 112 recipes for drinks of all kinds, Professor Cocktail’s Holiday Drinks is your secret weapon for dazzling the taste buds of everyone you know by making professional-quality cocktails from the comfort of your home bar.

From the classic to the contemporary, sweet to spicy, and hot to cold, this collection of festive drinks is sure to make your holidays very merry. If you’re in the party mood, there are several recipes for “large format” drinks that would be perfect for your holiday gatherings. It even includes a selection of non-alcoholic drinks for those who don’t imbibe.

Professor Cocktail’s Holiday Drinks includes recipes for traditional holiday favorites ranging from Eggnog to Wassail, Hot Buttered Rum to the Kir Royale. It also features drinks from top bartender like Jim Meehan (PDT), Dale DeGroff, H. Joseph Ehrmann (Elixir), Jack McGarry (The Dead Rabbit), Brian MacGregor (Wingtip), Jeffery Morgenthaler (Clyde Common), Bobby Heugel (Anvil), Dushan Zaric (Employees Only), Chantal Tseng (Mockingbird Hill), and Derek Brown (Columbia Room).

With a variety of recipes to suit all occasions, tastes, and skill levels, Professor Cocktail’s Holiday Drinks is the book every cocktail lover, bartender, and mixologist would love to see under their virtual tree.

About the Author
David J. Montgomery combines his knowledge of history and alcohol into one potent libation of love 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 Today, The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, and other fine publications. His ebook, Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde: Recipes for the World’s Most Lethal Drink, was the #1 best-selling bartending book on Amazon. A former Professor of History, Mr. Montgomery lives in the Washington, D.C. suburbs with his wife and two daughters.


Two Nice Mentions for “Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde”

Although it’s been out for a while now, Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde: Recipes for the World’s Most Lethal Drink continues to generate interest. Two blogs, one devoted to Tiki and one devoted to rum, recently wrote about the book.

On his website, The Atomic Grog, Jim “Hurricane” Hayward uses Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde as the centerpiece for a comprehensive post about the Zombie, including ground that I wasn’t able to cover in the book.

“An exhaustive look back at the past 80 years of the never-say-die cocktail, revealed in all its gory glory in a new e-book, Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde: Recipes for the World’s Most Lethal Drink. Lovingly splayed across 193 e-pages are 86 recipes from 1934 to 2013, including many that have never before appeared in print…Zombie Horde is like a doctoral student’s well-researched dissertation.

Hayward knows his Tiki, so I’m honored that he enjoyed the book.

Another blogger who really knows her stuff is Helena Tiare Olsen, who writes the award-winning rum-focused website A Mountain of Crushed Ice.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who’s interested in tiki drinks and of course the Zombie. With such a gold mine of Zombie recipes from the 1934 original Zombie Punch to Bar Agricole’s Cap Haitien Zombie you just can`t go wrong.

Tiare mixed up a couple of recipes in the book and her photos are fantastic. Here is her shot of Martin Cate’s Undead Gentleman:

Undead Gentleman

Mahalo to Jim and Tiare!

Books Cocktails Recipes Rum Tiki

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
, 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)


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.


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.

Books Tiki

Coming Soon: Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde

Publishing on October 8, 2013 via is my new ebook, Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde: Recipes for the World’s Most Lethal

Zombie cover final sm
Here is what Tiki legend Sven Kirsten had to say about it:

“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

And here is the complete description:

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 cocktail creations of the past century. Invented by Don the
Beachcomber in 1934, it took the world by storm, and soon became the
quintessential Tiki drink. Often imitated but never duplicated, the Zombie
appeared on the menu of thousands of bars and restaurants around the world.

In this debut book by David J. Montgomery, 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, Mahiki in London, 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), Frank Cisneros (Bourgeois
Pig Brooklyn), Joseph Swifka (La Descarga), and
Audrey Saunders (Pegu Club).

To top it all off, Zombie Horde showcases three brand-new
drinks — from Jim Meehan (PDT), Tom Brown (Hogo), and Jeff Kinder (Distil) — that are appearing in print for the very first time.

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
and The Daily Beast,
and has written for USA Today, The Washington Post, Philadelphia 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.

Cocktails History Recipes Tequila

Celebrate Mexican Independence Day with Cocktails

September 16 is Mexican Independence Day. I know what you're thinking: Isn't that Cinco de Mayo? Good question! But no.

September 16, 1810 was the day that the war of independence broke out between Mexico and Spain. (Mexico, of course, was part of the Spanish Empire back then, and under the rule of a Spanish Viceroy.) Various factions of Mexican life formed an uneasy alliance to rebel against Spanish rule.

The war continued for the next 11 years, after which Mexico finally defeated the Spanish. Peace was declared with the Treaty of Córdoba and Mexico was free…to appoint themselves an emperor. But don't worry, he was gone within the year.

So where does Cinco de Mayo (the Fifth of May) come into play? That was 40 years later. Mexico once again came under the thumb of a foreign power, this time the French. In 1861, French forces invaded Mexico, trying to capitalize on the political instability and general chaos that were the order of the day. But on May 5, 1862, the Mexican Army won a decisive battle near the town of Puebla.

Sadly, the Mexicans were to go on and eventually lose the war. This lead to the installation of Emperor Maximilian I as El Jefe. He's the guy who was buddies with Napoleon III, in case you remember him from your history classes. But Maximilian I only ruled for three years before Benito Juárez and his rebels got ahold of him and introduced him to a firing squad.

Cinco de Mayo as a holiday is largely an invention of Mexican-Americans, popularized in particular by the Chicano student movements of the 1960s. It has little meaning in Mexico itself, and here in the United States it has become little more than a marketing-driven holiday, used to promote partying and beer sales. (Not so different from the Fourth of July, really, which we use to sell mattresses.)

So if you want to celebrate the real deal Mexican independence, today is the day. History lesson aside, we can always use a good reason to celebrate, and September 16 is an important day in Mexico. Let's join with our neighbors to the south and do a little celebrating of our own.

Tequila on bar
For suggestions of some different brands of agave spirit to try, check out Professor Cocktail's Tequila Taste Test. Or see this review of Z Tequila (Blanco, Reposado and Añejo).


2 oz. Tequila
1/2 oz. Lime Juice
2-3 oz. Grapefruit Soda
Pinch of Salt (if desired) 

In a highball or collins glass, add tequila, lime juice and salt. Add ice and stir. Top with grapefruit soda and garnish with a lime wedge.

Professor's Note: For grapefruit soda, I like Jarritos (if you can find it) and San Pelegrino Pompelmo. For the record, I prefer mine without salt.

El diabloEl Diablo

Adapted from a recipe by Trader Vic.

2 oz. Reposado Tequila
1/2 oz. Crème de Cassis
1/2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
2 oz. Ginger Beer

Shake the first 3 ingredients with ice, then strain over fresh ice in a highball glass. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Tequila CriollaTequila Criolla

1 1/2 oz. Tequila Don Julio Blanco
1 1/2 oz. Guava Nectar
1/2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1/3 oz. Agave Nectar
1 Slice Jalapeño

Shake ingredients vigorously with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. (If desired, you can salt the rim of the glass.)

Professor's Note: Kern's makes a good guava nectar. There are also Mexican brands like Jumex and Goya that you can find in the Latino aisle at the grocery store. To make this cocktail really "top shelf," try using Tequila Don Julio 70, a clear añenjo tequila.


2 oz. Tequila ArteNOM Seleccion 1580
1 oz. Apricot Brandy
1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice

Shake with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


La perlaLa Perla

Recipe by Jacques Bezuidenhout

1 1/2 oz. Partida Reposado Tequila
1 1/2 oz. Manzanilla Sherry
3/4 oz. Mathilde Pear Liqueur

Stir ingredients with ice, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Want to know how Professor Cocktail makes a Margarita? You'll find out here: Margarita recipe. (Scroll to the bottom.)


Books Tiki

Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde: New Recipe Book Coming Soon

Coming soon to Amazon is my first ebook: Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde: Recipes for the World’s Most Lethal Drink.

It will contain over 50 recipes for the famed Tiki cocktail, drawn from across the decades and around the world. Professor Cocktail’s Zombie Horde will guide you from the Zombie’s creation by Don the Beachcomber in 1934, all the way to the present day.

You’ll be able to see how it was made back then, how it was made over the years, and how it’s being made today. And then you’ll get to try the recipes yourself!

It will also feature recipes for Zombie-inspired cocktails and variants, allowing you to broaden your mixological repertoire — and enjoy some very tasty cocktails.

Here’s a sneak peek at the cover. Let me know what you think!

p.s. If you’re a professional bartender and would like to contribute a recipe to this collection, please
let me know


Zombie cover final sm

Rum Tiki Videos

Video: The Mahiki Zombie (aka How To Set Your Bar on Fire)

I'm currently putting together an ebook of Zombie recipes, and one of the people kind enough to share his recipe with me was Georgi Radev of Mahiki, a popular Tiki bar in London.

Georgi also shared this video demonstration of how they prepare and serve their version of the Zombie. Don't try this at home! (Seriously: don't try this.)

Cocktails Mixology Rum Tiki Videos

Video: How to Make the Perfect Mai Tai

A demonstration from Val, a bartender at the recently closed PKNY Tiki bar in New York City. He has a somewhat unusual method regarding the shaking and the ice, although what he's doing makes sense. I tend to prefer a little less lime juice in mine — 3/4 ounce — but I'm not as big a fan of tartness as some people.*

*Is "tartness" a word?

Spirits Whiskey

Make Good Whiskey in No Time at All

Making good whiskey takes time. Try though they might, no distiller or producer has yet found a way to shortcut Father Time. There simply is no substitute for the years whiskey spends slowly aging in wood.

But that doesn't mean people don't try. Small craft distillers — and big liquor conglomerates — around the country and the world are experimenting with ways of producing good whiskey faster. So far none of them seem to work. (See: Chuck Cowdery, New York Times, John Hansell, Washington Post, Inc. Magazine.)

This desire is nothing new. While perusing a monograph from 1884 (The Complete Bartender: The Art of Mixing Plain and Fancy Drinks by Albert Barnes of the Metropolitan Hotel in New York City), I discovered the following recipe.


To 15 gallons of whiskey, add 3 gallons of Bourbon whiskey, 3/4 pint of simple syrup, 1 ounce of sweet spirits of nitre. Mix them well together, and color with sugar coloring.

So if you happen to have some sweet spirits of nitre on hand — the folksy name for ethyl nitrite, an ingredient used in patent remedies that's been banned in the United States since 1980 — you're good to go!

Cocktails Drink Recipes Whiskey

Happy National Whiskey Sour Day!

Shake ingredients with ice, then strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.

Here's another of those National XYZ Days that I love so much. This time it's the Whiskey Sour's turn, a classic cocktail and one of the easiest drinks to make. I made mine with Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon and it was quite tasty. (I did alter the ratio from the above recipe, though, instead using equal parts lemon juice and simple syrup. I don't like my sours quite that sour.)