I’ll put my home Mai Tai up against anyone, and I think my Ultimate Navy Grog is damn near perfect. But I bow to the master, Donn Beach, when it comes to the Zombie.
After trying several Zombies I made a 1934 Zombie with heavier Grenadine and 3 plus ounces of the Ultimate Mai Tai rum blend (Appleton 12, Smith & Cross, Xaymaca, OFTD). This should have been right up my alley but it wasn’t. I love this rum blend, but it doesn’t make the Zombie better. That Puerto Rican rum and the specific Demerara Overproof called for in the original recipe do make the difference.
Had a great time on Halloween. We had a little parade on our street and Mrs Mai Tai made goodie bags for the kids on the street and also dressed up in her T-Rex costume. Later I watched American Werewolf in London and then Zombieland: Double Tap. I like my horror to be mostly comedy, I guess.
The original is the best. That’s the conclusion at Ultimate Mai Tai Headquarters after trying out three other Zombies this month and then trying the 1934 recipe.
The subtle Cinnamon flavor and heavier rums make this a much more palatable cocktail. It’s like Jeff “Beachbum” Berry says, it’s really a magnified Planters Punch with a blend of rums and other kinds of sweeteners and spices.
1934 Zombie ¾ oz Lime juice ½ oz Don’s Mix ½ oz Falernum ¼ oz Grenadine 1½ oz Jamaican rum 1½ oz Puerto Rican rum 1 oz Demerara 151 proof rum 2 dashes absinthe 1 dash Angostura bitters 6 oz crushed ice Flash blend for 5 seconds Don’s Mix: 2 parts White Grapefruit juice and 1 part Cinnamon Syrup.
Glassware and coasters from last year’s Kickstarter by Will Penny.
Continuing our theme for the week, I made the 1950 and 1956 Zombie cocktails. We can thank @official_beachbumberry for unearthing these old recipes, and if you haven’t memorized the Zombie chapter from The Bum’s seminal book Sippin’ Safari then you need to order that book right away (get the 10th anniversary edition). These lovely Beachbum Berry Zombie glasses make pairing these two cocktails a delight.
1950 Zombie 1 oz Lime juice 1 oz Lemon juice 1 oz Pineapple juice 1 oz Passion Fruit Syrup 1 oz White Puerto Rican rum 1 oz Gold Puerto Rican rum 1 oz Demerara 151 proof rum 1 tsp brown sugar 1 Dash Angostura bitters Shake with ice
1956 Zombie ¾ oz Lime juice ½ oz Grapefruit juice 1½ oz Unsweetened Pineapple juice ¼ oz Falernum ¾ oz Maraschino Liqueur (only used ⅓ oz) ¼ tsp Grenadine 1¼ oz Gold Puerto Rican rum 1 oz Dark Jamaican rum 1 oz Lemon Hart 151 Demerara rum ⅛ tsp Pernod/Absinthe 2 dashes Angostura Bitters 6 oz (¾ cup) crushed ice Flash blend
You can see which rums and ingredients I used. Overall I thought that the 1956 Zombie tasted too much like the Maraschino Liqueur, even after I used only half the listed amount. I might drop it down to a teaspoon next time.
The 1950 Zombie was better received both by me and also by Mrs. Mai Tai, as we both felt it was easier to drink. But neither of us felt like either cocktail was something we’d go out of our way to order at a bar.
This essay has been gracing the back cover of the Trader Vic’s Cocktail Menu for decades. It serves to highlight the spirit that is most prominent in Trader Vic’s cocktails, and is both a history lesson and a list of “shout outs” to famed mixologists. This is a scan of a menu circa 1965.
This is one area where I think that Victor Bergeron deserves more credit, as quite often he would credit the original creator of a cocktail on the menu or in his books. In the essay he highlights a number of 20th Century barmen including Frank Meier of the Ritz Bar in Paris, Constantine at La Florida Bar in Havana, and Albert Martin of Con Ton Bar in New Orleans. He ends with several pointed salutes to Don the Beachcomber of Hollywood.
The design includes pictures of some of the famous venues and a caricature of Don the Beachcomber himself.