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.