1934 Zombie

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.

Books and glasses and more are available at beachbumberry.com.

Simplified Zombie Attempt

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.

Zombie (Simplified)
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.

They can’t all be winners.

Glassware: Beachbum Berry Zombie Glasses

Beachbum Berry’s Zombie Blend

Made a Zombie according to the recipe on the bottle. It’s not exactly a 1934 Zombie recipe, but is most certainly influenced by it. It nicely only uses two ounces of this delicious new rum from Hamilton.

And it is soooo good. Really excellent Zombie! This rum is legit! If you’ve been on the fence about getting this, I can only say that it is wonderful and if you don’t want it then there is more for me. Jeff “Beachbum” Berry crushes it again with an amazing recipe and some amazing rum from Ed Hamilton and Hamilton Rums.

Zombie Blend is available in many states with more to come.

“The Ultimate Zombie”

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.

1934 Zombie

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.

Buy Sippin’ Safari by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry for the full story about the rediscovery of the 1934 Zombie recipe.

1950 and 1956 Zombie

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.

Tomorrow’s post… the 1934 Zombie.

1947 Zombie

I’m sure some of you reading this might be thinking, “1947 Zombie? Your year is incorrect.” Well, friends, it is correct and it is delicious.

Behold the Zombie recipe from Victor Bergeron’s 1947 Bartender’s Guide. Trader Vic didn’t have Don the Beachcomber’s secret recipe but his Zombie is no slouch. It is boozy but very easy to drink.

Zombie (Trader Vic’s)
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Orange Juice
½ oz Grenadine
1 oz Orange Curacao (Cointreau)
1 oz Jamaican Rum (Plantation Xaymaca)
2 oz Puerto Rican Rum (Bacardi 4)
½ oz 151 Proof Demerara Rum (Hamilton 151)
1 dash Pernod
Stir in mixing glass with large ice cube, then pour over shaved ice in a tall glass.

A few months ago I posed a question in a Facebook group to ask what were the seminal ingredients for a Zombie (in the same way that Orgeat is the seminal ingredient for a Mai Tai). I honestly did not get any sort of consensus answer, except for a mix of rums and maybe Cinnamon syrup. We also know that Grenadine is a key differentiator between the 1934 Zombie and a Jet Pilot.

All of which means that Trader Vic’s Zombie is probably not quite as spice-forward as those who love the 1934 Zombie are expecting. But it isn’t a terrible “guess” by Vic at what made the Don the Beachcomber Zombie world famous. The grenadine is there, along with Pernod/Herbsiant that often used in Don the Beachcomber cocktails. And, the rums are pretty much exactly as what Donn used in his various Zombie recipes.

Is it as good as a 1934 Zombie? Certainly not. But I’ll tell you that it is miles better than most Zombies I’ve had at good craft-oriented tiki bars.

Give it a try and let me know what you think. Happy Hulaween.

The glass is from last year’s kickstarter from Will Penny.