Thanks to Amy and Kirk for throwing another amazing backyard Halloween Party last night in San Jose. Their large home tiki bar, the Tipsy Terrier, is the centerpiece and fantastic but we most spent time in the yard and patio enjoying the myriad Halloween decorations.
They served a wide assortment of boozy beverages including fantastic versions of the 1944 Mai Tai, Three Dots and a Dash, and great blood red Zombie. Super flavorful and definitely not watered down for a general audience. There were also Aperol Spritz’s and Champagne Cocktails. So nice when the host give you the fixing and you can prepare it to suit. Beer on tap and Sangria from a fountain were available for those with less ambitious prep desires, or just because they prefer it.
Mrs. Mai Tai came up with the idea for our costume – Jack and Wendy from The Shining. All works and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Some truly outstanding costumes at the party, and nice to see some familiar faces but also to meet some new people too.
My last cocktail comparison between White Grapefruit juice and Rudy Red juice is a Zombie. For the comparison I decided to use the recipe on the bottle of the Beachbum Berry Zombie Blend from Hamilton Rum since this uses a bit more grapefruit juice than the original 1934 recipe (and significantly less rum, useful since I wasn’t going to drink two full Zombies). The Zombie Blend is pretty great and this does make a very good Zombie.
Unfortunately, from a grapefruit juice comparison the two Zombies tasted nearly identical. I was getting slightly more cinnamon notes from the Ruby version, which might be due to the juice being sweeter and with a lighter body. Or I could simply have measured an ever so slightly different half ounce in the cocktail. I’m pretty sensitive to the cinnamon flavor, and in fact went a little light on the measurement. I compensated by adding an equivalently higher amount of Falernum.
To conclude the Grapefruit Juice Shootout Comparisons:
This recipe appeared in the 1947 Trader Vic’s Bartenders Guide, and shared more than a few ingredients with Don the Beachcomber’s original. It’s not as good but does go down a lot easier, while still being as boozy as you’d expect from a Zombie.
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.
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.
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.
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.