The Zombie is the mother of all freak drinks.

My motto: “keep making them until I turn into one!”

Supply a straw and, after two, a hammock – after three: a stretcher.

The roots

The Zombie (also known as the skull-puncher) is a delicious, exceptionally strong cocktail made of fruit juices and rum. But that deliciousness hides quite a lot of liquor, hence the name. It first appeared in the mid-1930s, a signature cocktail by Donn Beach of Hollywood’s Don the Beachcomber restaurant. Don made it for a friend who had dropped by his restaurant before flying to San Francisco. The friend left after having consumed three of them. He returned several days later to say that he had been turned into a zombie for his entire trip. Its smooth, fruity taste works to conceal its extremely high alcohol content. For many years the Don the Beachcomber restaurants limited their customers to 2 zombies apiece.

The cocktail changes from bartender to bartender. The only thing we know of it for sure is that it’s made with rum and a particular kind of fruit juice. Without the standard recipe, it’ll never be uniform from place to place. The reason for this is that Don the Beachcomber was quite secretive about his drink recipes. He would tell bits and pieces of the recipe to different bartenders. That’s why it’s often poorly reinterpreted, most often as a bad drink resembling a tropical Long Island Iced Tea.

Despite that, the zombie madness caught on and the drink lives to this day!

The makin’s

2 parts light rum
1 part dark Jamaican rum
1 part lime juice
1/2 part Bacardi 151 rum
1 part pineapple juice
1 part orange juice
1/2 part apricot brandy
1 tsp sugar

 The fruit juice in the recipe is what mixologists call the “mystery ingredient”; it can be pineapple juice, passion fruit nectar, coconut milk, apricot, or cherry brandy — just about anything…

The drill

Stir together all these except the 151 and pour into a glass ¾ full of cracked ice
Float the 151 as a lid (by pouring it into a spoon and gently dipping it under the surface of the drink)
Then, if the spirit moves you, take a match to this mixture – it will burn
Garnish with mint (either straight or dipped in lime juice and then superfine sugar) and/or fruit.
A particularly fetching touch: On a toothpick, impale a lemon slice or pineapple cube between two maraschino cherries and lay this fruit kabob atop of the drink)


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