Month: October 2006

Drinking the dead 

Invented by Don the Beachcomber sometime in the first few years after the repeal of Prohibition, the cocktail known as the Zombie became known as the “drink of death,” especially after it’s debut at the Hurricane Bar during the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing, New York. It was so deadly that Don’s restaurant put a two cocktail limit per person. Why? Well, the original recipe contains 7.5 ounces of alcohol. That is the equivalent of almost four cocktails. Much like the Long Island Iced Tea, the Zombie tastes so good, you don’t realize how much you are drinking. And you also probably don’t realize that in the unique combination of liquors, Don invented an ingestible formaldehyde. Legend has it Don served these up to a traveler leaving on vacation and upon his return said the drink made him a zombie for the whole trip.

If you order a Zombie at a local bar, watch the bartender’s face pinch up and then hand him or her this recipe. It is very close to Don the Beachcomber’s original recipe however the original calls for falernum syrup which most bartenders will not have on hand.

Once a staple of most bars, falernum syrup is used to impart flavors of vanilla, allspice, ginger, almonds, cloves and lime to tropical drinks. I haven’t found a bar in Boise that uses it but you can substitute a little more Grenadine or, even better, orgeat syrup.

It is appropriate to drink this cocktail on Halloween because November first is the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, you will feel the part.


4 oz. water

3/4 oz. fresh lime juice

1 oz. each of grapefruit juice, sugar syrup, dark rum, golden rum, white rum,

1 oz. 151-rproof rum

1-1/4 oz. spiced golden rum

3/4 oz. Cherry Heering

1/2 oz. Falernum syrup

2 dashes Pernod or pastis

3 dashes Grenadine

Shake and strain into three highball glasses filled with crushed ice.

Bombs Away 

Beer: The unofficial beverage of fall; the elixir of tailgate parties; what we used to wean ourselves from Mama’s milk during our first semester in college; the golden amber in our cups we sip while watching our alma mater play a homecoming game. We chug it. We sip it. We pour it in funnels. We then belch its wonderful aroma.

Sake: The warm clear stuff in a tiny cup that keeps our hands warm while we eat cold sushi. We sip it. We shoot it.

Now take that tiny cup and drop it into your beer. That’s called a sake bomb.

What most likely started out as a chaser–also known in bartending parlance as a Boilermaker–is a beer/liquor combo: a shot of whiskey, vodka, or Tequila followed by a glass of beer. Then someone had the brilliant idea to just drop the shot of liquor into the beer. This new concoction was christened the Depth Charge, most likely in reference to something in a canister-like container that when dropped to the bottom of a body of water or other liquid has explosive qualities. One of the most famous Depth Charges is the Irish Car Bomb, which is a shot of Jameson Irish Whiskey in a pint of Guinness beer. Much like when you tap your beer bottle against your buddy’s to make it foam up, when a shot glass hits the bottom of a glass of beer the same thing usually happens. The beer foams up and the owner of the glass must chug the whole thing to avoid spillage. OK, so it is not a cocktail for the refined. But in the case of sake bombs, there is an alternative, classier, way to imbibe this concoction.

The rules are simple. An empty sake cup is floated on the surface of a tall glass of beer. People take turns filling the sake boat cup with a dash of warm sake. The sake cup gets lower and lower in the glass of beer with each person’s contribution. The person whose sake causes the cup to sink must drink the whole glass.