White Witch, Vampire, Corpse Reviver, Viking, Grateful Dead, Purple People Eater. All are cocktails or shots that conjure up images of wickedly fun drinks for the Halloween season, but none of them have had the staying power or widespread recognition that the Zombie has year round. The notoriety of the cocktail may have something to do with the potency of the drink and how it received such an appropriate name.
Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gannt who later changed his name to Don invented the Zombie at his tiki themed restaurant, Don the Beachcomber, in the late 1930’s in Hollywood. The drink is a creation of several fruit juices, liqueurs and rums with the equivalent of seven and a half ounces of alcohol in a single drink. Don made this drink for a friend who had three of these smooth tasting, fruit filled drinks before heading out of town for a few days. Upon returning, he grumbled that the drinks had turned him into a zombie for the entire trip. Thus, the Zombie name was born. It wasn’t until the World’s Fair of 1939 that the Zombie gained widespread recognition. Interesting to note, the first television broadcast of a speech by an American president was also at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Coincidence??
With the prevelance of free pouring, the availability of concentrated juices and the need for quickness in serving the bar patron the original Zombie mutated into the thrown together, often harsh cocktail it has become at corner bars across the country. But, the original is such a well thought out drink. Its multi layers of flavors blend together so nicely that the heavily liquored Zombie masquerades as a smooth fruit cocktail that can pack a full punch and may sneak up on any unsuspecting drinker quite quickly.
No one is sure whether Don ever published his original recipe, but this one is as close as we may get to it. It doesn't have the full seven and a half ounces of liquor, but it will still pack a wallop.
1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
1-1/2 oz Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
1-1/2 oz Fresh Passion Fruit Puree
1/4 oz Grenedine
1 oz Orange Curacao or Apricot Brandy
1 oz Dark Rum
1 oz Light Rum
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
1/2 oz Overproof Rum such as 151 - Optional
Sprig of Fresh Mint for Garnish
Seasonal Fruit for Garnish (or pineapple/orange/marischino cherry)
Combine all ingredients except garnishes into a shaker. Shake to mix. Fill a Zombie glass 1/2 to 2/3 full of ice. Fill with Zombie drink. A float of 1/2 oz overproof rum may also be added if desired. Garnish with fruit skewer. A Zombie has its own glass designation. It is a 10-12 ounce glass similar in shape to a Collins glass only taller.