I keep trying Zombie variants but aways come back to this one. Don the Beachcomber really got it right the first time, as future variants, while interesting, do have the complex and transformative characteristics of this Planters Punch on steroids.
The glassware features a stylized Jeff “Beachbum” Berry, who through sleuthing and relationship building was finally able to piece together Donn’s original recipe. The Zombie chapter in Berry’s book Sippin’ Safari might be my favorite chapter in any book I’ve ever read. So many historical details, written in Detective-style first person as only the Bum can. If you don’t have the book, you need to get it now. The 10th Anniversary edition is printed in beautiful hardback with additional material compared to the original 2007 paperback version.
The glass is available from Cocktail Kingdom and is the perfect compliment. And if you need the recipe it’s right on glass for easy reference. Enjoy a Zombie today.
It is October, so that means that it is Zombie season at Ultimate Mai Tai HQ.
Tonight we took a run at tweaking the Zombie (Simplified) recipe by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry in his book Beachbum Berry Remixed.
¾ oz Lime Juice
1 oz White Grapefruit Juice
½ oz Cinnamon Syrup
½ oz 151 Proof Puerto Rican Rum
1 oz Dark Jamaican Rum
My tasting notes from the last time I made this indicated the cinnamon was too forward. I’ve also felt that Grenadine is an essential component to the Zombie, so I made an adjustment to the syrups. I used a fresh Ruby Grapefruit.
You know I prefer heavier rums, so I used my Ultimate Mai Tai rum blend instead (which is actually around the same ABV as the two rums above). For those new readers, the Ultimate Mai Tai rum blend is equal parts Appleton 12, Smith & Cross, Plantation Xaymaca, and Plantation OFTD.
Zombie (Simplified) – Adjusted
¾ oz Lime Juice
1 oz Rudy Grapefruit Juice
¼ oz Cinnamon Syrup
¼ oz Grenadine
1½ oz Ultimate Mai Tai rum blend
This wasn’t terrible but honestly tasted a little flat. Definitely missed the additional spice elements in the 1934 Zombie recipe.
Latitude 29 Orgeat has been my favorite commercial Orgeat for several years. It’s a high-quality product made with Water, Pure Cane sugar, Almonds, Orange Blossom Water, Almond essence, and Rose Water. It is fairly clear, easy to maintain and pour, and tastes wonderful. The floral elements pair well with the almond flavor.
Orgeat Works has a couple additional products and I’m always interested in trying some new Orgeat, so bought some bottles and did a comparison test.
Each Orgeat is made using the same high-quality ingredients, such as pure Cane Sugar and Orange Blossom Water. The Macadamia Nut Syrup uses Macadamia Nuts rather than Almonds, of course. Each comes in a 375 ml plastic bottle that will last for quite a while for home cocktail use.
I made several cocktails with each of these Orgeat varieties and did comparison taste tests. For this comparison I made a couple different 1944 Mai Tai recipes, a Saturn, and a Blood Orange Eastern Sour. One Mai Tai was made with Denizen Merchant’s Reserve as the rum base, along with Ferrand Dry Curacao. The other Mai Tai was a lighter style using Probitas and Clement Premiere Canne rums, with Cointreau as the orange liqueur.
In each case I found the Latitude 29 Orgeat to be the best overall, tasting brighter in each cocktail and adding a rich mouthfeel. It worked very well across each of the cocktails, from the heavy juice-forward Eastern Sour to the lighter Gin-based Saturn.
But the T’Orgeat Toasted Orgeat was really great too. It has a pronounced toasted almond flavor that is unique and delightful. It is a rich taste that’s very different from many of the craft Orgeat brands that have a marzipan flavor, and I find T’Orgeat more suitable for most uses. T’Orgeat worked well across all cocktails but was best used in a Mai Tai where the Orgeat is a more central focus.
Orgeat Works Macadamia Nut Syrup has a more subtle flavor which doesn’t present itself as forward as the other two syrups.
3rd place: Orgeat Works Macadamia Nut Syrup 2nd place: Orgeat Works T’Orgeat Toasted Almond Syrup 1st place: Beachbum Berry’s Latitude 29 Formula Orgeat
Not just for Zombies. It makes an excellent Mai Tai too!
This new rum blend is a 118 proof delight, so aromatic and flavorful. With this kind of ABV it isn’t a sipper for most people, but inside a Mai Tai it really punches through and coats your tongue. Of course, our house Mai Tai rum blend is over 100 proof, so we’re used to boozy Mai Tais. But we think anyone will find this rum to be amazing in a Mai Tai.
The Mai Tai is best prepared with Latitude 29 Orgeat from Orgeat Works, a house favorite of the Bum himself who helped develop it. It is our favorite orgeat.
Not a bad choice Mai Tai Monday.
The Zombie blend is rolling out now and is available in many states with more to come. Bottles are going fast but Ed Hamilton says this product is here to stay and that more is in the pipeline.
Some new recipes were added to the Total Tiki app for iOS, an indispensable resource for cocktail recipes based on the books of Jeff “Beachbum” Berry. Hundreds of vintage recipes from the likes of Don the Beachcomber and Trader Vic’s, but also newer recipes from The Bum himself and others.
The best part of the app is the integration with an inventory system. You tell the app what spirits, syrups, juices, and other ingredients that you have, and then the app will show you which recipes that you can make. It’s a great way to get started with cocktails at home, since you can make a lot of drinks just with a few ingredients and then slowly add new things over time.
I first tried this amazing cocktail at Longitude, the Oakland adventure-themed bar that sadly closed but lives on today as The Kon-Tiki.
Every time I try this I think I should have it more often, featuring Jamaican rum, Passion Fruit Syrup, and Honey mix. So delicious. Thanks to Jeff Berry for publishing the recipe in Beachbum Berry Remixed and in the Total Tiki app.
It’s Friday so I made myself a double version of this. Thankfully I have these cool tiki style coupe glasses that are extra large.
Don’s Special Daiquiri ½ oz Lime Juice ½ oz Honey Mix ½ oz Passion Fruit Syrup ½ oz Light Rum 1 oz Gold Jamaican Rum
This is a recipe from Steve Crane’s Kon-Tiki restaurant from the Sheraton Waikiki resort circa 1960s, according to the entry in Beachbum Berry’s Taboo Table, and the Total Tiki app. I liked my first sip but it quickly turned into something else, a weird combination of flavors that did not play well on my tongue. I actually dumped it.
Molokai Mule 2 oz Orange juice 1 oz Lime Juice 1 oz Orgeat 1 oz Cognac 1 oz Light Rum 1 oz Demerara Rum Shake with ice cubes.