The History of the Zombie Cocktail

With Halloween fast approaching, this classic cocktail seems like an obvious choice for any spooky shenanigans you may be planning! A somewhat complicated blend of various different ingredients, including white rum, dark rum, gold rum, apricot brandy, lime juice, pineapple juice, papaya juice and grenadine, the hangover after one-too-many of these is almost certain to make you feel like a zombie!

Who Invented the Zombie?

The effects of this potent drink are exactly the reasoning behind its name, which is considered so strong that the bartenders in the whole chain of restaurants of Don the Beachcomber are only allowed to serve two per customer.

The drink has been around since the 1930’s and was invented in the very first location of Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood, by the founder, Donn Beach. He had originally created the drink for one of his customers who had visited the bar complaining of a bad hangover. He had a business meeting to attend and needed a drink that would help to hide the effects of overindulgence. No doubt working on the hair-of-the-dog principle, Donn created his classic combination, masking the incredibly high alcohol content with a tasty combination of fruit juices. It did not have the desired effect, however, instead making the customer feel like a zombie. As it turns out, the business meeting did not go very well, due to his drunken state!

Protecting the Zombie Secret

Donn was known to be incredibly protective over his cocktail recipes, as so many were quickly ‘borrowed’ by competitor establishments. With the Zombie, the original recipe has been so well hidden that today’s cocktail is actually a variation of it. Even the bartenders who sold the original drink were given coded instructions to help preserve the secret.

To be completely sure he had thrown his competitors off the scent, Beach changed the tiki recipe every few months, so that there are now numerous variations of the drink. Some include falernum, absinthe and almond liqueur, while others have different varieties of rum, playing with the different flavours and strength of the drink. We prefer the super fruity variety we have here on, but we’d love to hear your different takes on the famous drink. However you make it, be sure to garnish with lots of seasonal fruits and drink slowly and responsibly – you won’t enjoy the hangover after too many of these!

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Add all the ingredients to a blender with ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a highball glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint and serve. ...
Add all the ingredients to a blender with ice and blend until smooth. Pour into ...
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Suzanna H
Hi, I am Suzanna. I would describe myself as a bit of a foodie with a side-interest in fancy cocktails. Anything sweet and alcoholic and I'm in! I am also an avid writer, proofreader and editor and work freelance through the website People per Hour.


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