Zombie Cocktail

In its many incarnations The Zombie has become an icon of the tropical drink era spawned by Trader Vic and Don the Beach Comber. As Jeff “Beach Bum” Berry and other cocktail historians re-discover these classic recipes and the “tiki” culture takes off again in this new century The Zombie and it’s brethren are poised to make a comeback.

3/4 oz lime juice

1/2 oz grapefruit juice

1 1/2 oz pineapple juice

1/4 oz falernum

1 1/4 oz gold rum

1 oz dark rum

1 oz 151 proof Demerara rum

3/4 oz Maraschino Liquer

1/4 tsp Grenadine

1/8 tsp Pernod

2 dashes Angostura Bitters


blend briefly without ice

add ice, blend to chill


Max Heusler 4 Mar 2008
6:35 pm


I see you’ve abandoned you’re antique strainer for at least the current episode anyway for one of those hand operated ones, I’ve seen those and thought about getting one but it looks a little laborious, is that my mind playing tricks on me?

Also, I live in NYC and have looked in quite a few places for Demerara rum (and have specifically been unable to find Lemonhart) does Demerara rum refer to any rum from Guyana or does it refer more to the style of rum making?



Dean Johnson 4 Mar 2008
6:39 pm

Did you notice the plug for http://kegworks.com at the end of the program? I suspect the antique shaker may have been shelved so some kegworks products could be demonstrated.

I’m very happy to see a sponsorship for the program; it’s great stuff and hopefully with a sponsor picking up the tab we’ll see a lot more of Mister Hess.

With some googling I found Lemon Hart Demerara 151 here: https://www.winedelight.com/liqueur_store/product_info.php?products_id=3705

I’m not sure about shipping liquor in NY though.

Cairo Cassady 4 Mar 2008
6:40 pm

Hey Robert.  Great shirt in this episode!  Firstly, just wanted to congratulate you on the outstanding program… a great mix of professional knowledge, enthusiasm for the craft, and a cross-section of drinks both forgotten and popular… and most importantly they’re DONE RIGHT!  Before finding out about your website and show, I thought that sour mix was standard procedure for a Tom Collins, now I know that sour mix is bastard creation, haha. Secondly, I’ve always wondered what happens to the cocktails you make after each episode… who gets to drink them?

Very cool.  I hope you keep making these.

bd 4 Mar 2008
6:40 pm

Great job on this HD episode… and the shirt!
About the lime squeezer you are using in here… I have had one of those for some time, and really hate it. The handle bends on squeezing hard- what’s your take on that? I went and got an oxo squeezer, but would really like to get an antique one like your old Ebaloy.

I seem to prefer the old way you ran the ingredients list- this one feels like I had one too many Zombies… :)

Robert Hess 5 Mar 2008
3:17 pm

Glad you’ve been enjoying the new “HD” episode format. I’ve got a small collection of libation inspired exotic shirts, which I try to use when appropriate. I figured this series of “Tiki” episodes was a good time to bring one of them onto the show. Although I can’t really picture myself mixing up a Martini while wearing one! :->

We are definately pleased to welcome Kegworks.com as a sponsor for several of the upcoming episodes. Overall I’ve been extremely pleased with their range of products as well as the people behind the company. They carry the full line of bitters currently available in the US, as well as a variety of other barware products, with more coming on every day.

...and as to where these drinks go after filming stops… we all of course have a quick sample of them (the filming crew is getting a crash course on cocktails!), but there is no way we can finish off all of the cocktails when the day is over, so most of them unfortunately get tossed. :-<

Brian 7 Mar 2008
8:21 am

hey Robert -
I love this series. You inspired me to start making Last Words a few months back and I’ve convinced all of my friends to make them as well (and have now tasted Jamie Boudreau’s and Murray Stenson’s versions too :)

I’m kind of surprised you took on the Zombie - who on earth has enough time in the day to make this drink?  But you did a great job and you stuck to Jeff’s unearthed recipe! :)

I would like to volunteer to drop by (I’m in Seattle) to help dispose of the leftovers when you are done filming.  I will bring a to-go cup.  <grin>


kevin perfumekev 7 Mar 2008
9:11 am

Great espisode Robert!  Thanx for the link for the Lemon Hart 151.  Its not so easy to find in New York and New Jersey. it really is a great rum.

Love zombies!

Scott 12 Jun 2008
3:11 pm

Nice to see this classic cocktail given its due. One issue I have is describing Maraschino Liqueur as being a cherry flavored liquor—it’s actually made from the ground up pits of cherries and has more of an almond flavor. Just an FYI.

DEAD.DOC 23 Oct 2008
10:10 am


Dave J 1 Aug 2009
9:04 pm

I’ve said before that this a great show, and I still think so, but I do have a slight nit to pick with this one. Why use the Oxo mini angled measure to attempt to measure something as small as 1/8 teaspoon? Why not break out actual measuring spoons for such a small amount? 1/4 teaspoon of water doesn’t even cover the bottom of the Oxo mini!

I find that curious, especially since you advocate careful measurement of ingredients.

Other than that, I have nothing to complain about. I recently made up some Mai Tais for my old college roommate (using everything I’d learned from The Cocktail Spirit), and he was so impressed that he asked if I’d be willing to mix drinks at his housewarming party! I told him I’d consider it so long as he supplies the booze! :D

Robert Hess 2 Aug 2009
4:37 am

Dave, good nit. The best way to have added the Pernod here, would have been to use a calibrated eye-dropper, but I didn’t have one handy. But doing 1/8 ounce using an OXO isn’t as hard as it might sound, it might not be exact, but definately close enough. For this drink, you need “at least” 1/8 ounce in order for the flavor of the Pernod to play a roll, and much more than 1/4 ounce and I think it is just a tad too much.

Lawrence Spies 31 Aug 2009
8:16 am

Would dropping the Pernod make a big difference in this drink? I do not like licorice flavor, and can’t see buying a whole bottle of Pernod to have it sit on the shelf unused for years. 1/8 oz does not seem like a lot to make a difference unless it is a really strong strong spirit. Of course after the first Zombie no one would know the difference anyway!...:)

Robert Hess 31 Aug 2009
8:22 am

Lawrence, If you don’t have, or don’t like, Pernod, then by all means give the recipe a try without it sicne there is no harm in trying. Then I’d try to keep my eye’s open for a mini-bottle of Pernod and try it again with it, just to see for yourself what you think of the difference.

Michael 18 Dec 2009
9:08 pm

Hey Robert. This series is incredible. I watched every episode and am going to buy your book.

Couple of questions:

I hate breaking out a blender for cocktails. At a party it’s always a loud attention grabber (unwanted attention I might add). I was wondering if it would matter much if I took a tip from your Mint Julip episode, and just crush the ice in one of those bags. Since you said yourself you aren’t trying to make a slushy here, I can’t help but think that a Boston Shaker with ice, and then strain into a glass that you fill with crushed ice… do you think you could tell a difference in a blind taste test?

You mentioned making your own Grenadine. I am an absolute purist when it comes to ingredients. I am so glad you gave the recipe for the home made “Bing / Maraschino Cherry” in the Manhattan episode. Could you share a recipe for home made Grenadine?

Thank you so much! I’m telling all my friends about this site.

Robert Hess 19 Dec 2009
6:42 am

Michael, glad you’ve been enjoying the shows!

As for the blender… yes, in many cases you can simply use crushed ice instead of a blender. You may want to head in the direction of what would have been called a “Frappe”, in which you strain the drink over a glass full of shaved ice. Where you may need a blender, is when you are mixing a drink where you are wanting a bit of emulsification brought to the table. This will be in drinks which include milk, cream, eggs, or similar. I think the Pina Colada has to be blended, and you can also use a blender for a Ramos Gin Fizz, as long as you do it carefully, and aren’t a purist :->

As for the Grenadine… the way I make mine is by simmering two pomogranates worth of seeds in two cups of simple syrup for about 30 to 40 minutes. This will cause them to release their color and flavor, while at the same time giving an interesting slightly nutty flavor (from the seeds themselves) which I think adds a nice bit of extra complexity.

Michael 19 Dec 2009
7:17 am

Fantastic! Thanks for the Grenadine recipe.

I assume you mean a 1:1 simple syrup, not a 2:1 “rich simple syrup”? Also, do you muddle the seeds, or just let them pop on their own? And I assume you strain away the crunchy bits after the 30-40 min. simmer, right?

Robert Hess 19 Dec 2009
4:20 pm

Michael, yes, that is the 1:1 simple not 2:1 rich, and yes, strain before use :->

Raven 21 Jan 2010
1:46 am

Robert, I’m having a Tiki God naming ceremony next week (an exuse to have a good party).  I couldn’t help noticing the Zombie recipe on your drinkboy.com website compared to the recipe you use here is quite different.  Which one is more authentic?

Robert Hess 21 Jan 2010
3:56 am

Raven, The recipe I currently list on DrinkBoy.com is the one that Jeff Berry had uncovered some years ago, and published in “Intoxica”. Since then, he’s uncovered a few variations, each of them apparently put in use by Don the Beachcomber, thus making them also authentic, albiet slightly different, recipes. The one I am using in this episode is the most “recent” of those recipes, and is documented by Jeff Berry in “Sippin Safari”.

jamie 29 Dec 2011
4:02 am

finally ordered myself a copy of remixed :D (highly recommended)
and see it includes a number of zombie recipes :P
everything from “the origonal” to a “simplified version. adapted by beachbum berry, 2007”
(plus a few aparently from other “tiki hotspots”)

and im suprized to see your recipe doesn’t match ANY of them.
every version seems to contain cinnamon syrup, kinda wondering why you left that out :s
if you haven’t seen this set of recipies, let me know. I’d be happy to pass them along ;)

D-Bo 14 Oct 2014
10:30 pm

Ugh, this recipe says 1/8 teaspoon of Pernod, but in one of the responses Robert gave he said 1/8 Oz… which one is it? Anyone know? And also which Pernod is it? I see 2 kinds at the liquor store… I’m thinking its not the “Original recipe” because I believe that was re-introduced after the recording of this video. (I could be totally wrong about that, I know very little about pernod.)

Bonus Question: If you could suggest only one beachbum berry book which one would it be?

Robert Hess 14 Oct 2014
11:01 pm

The “pernod” should be just two dashes, or about 1/8 teaspoon. Today, there are now two different Pernod’s available. One is a “Pastis”, the other is an “Absinthe”. In the Don The Beachcomer days they wouldn’t have had the Absinthe, but only the Pastis. They will probably look quite similar label wise, but the Pastis should be cheaper than the Absinthe.

For Jeff’s Books, I’d pick up “Sippin Safari” (first) and “Potions of the Caribbean” (second)

D-Bo 14 Oct 2014
11:25 pm

Thank You so much for responding! I am a bartender, and I just got a job managing a bar at an asian restaurant, unfortunately all of their house tiki recipes appear to be oddly… similar haha. I’ve already started changing them, and the customers seem to really appreciate it, although i still get a “regular” here and there asking “how come u don’t put orange juice and pineapple juice in it like they used too?”, but they usually come around once they’ve had a taste.
For my Mai Tai, (which has been very popular) I premix a days worth of everything but the rum and i just pour the mix and rum then shake and garnish to order… I would obviously have to do something similar with the zombie because the bar gets pretty busy. Any suggestions on which ingredients to pre-mix? do you foresee any problems with that as far as taste?

one lassst question (although i have a million for you) a poster above asked about the cinnamon syrup… I’ve also seen that in many of the zombie recipes. Is there something in this recipe that serves the function of the cinnamon syrup in the flavor profile? or was it just dropped at this point in the recipe?

Robert Hess 15 Oct 2014
10:31 am

D-Bo, pre-mixing cocktails can be a touchy subject. Many craft bartenders will see this as a short cut which undermines the final product, however in many situations it is the best, if not only, choice. With some recent testing showing that citrus juices actually improve in flavor if they sit for a while, pre-batching cocktails may in fact improve things. And then there is the whole rage of “barrel aged” cocktails.

In the end of course, it is all about taste, and what does, and does not, affect it in adverse ways. I highly recommend basing your decision on what YOU think works best. The first thing you want to do is arrive at the Zombie recipe which you think tastes the best. For some more information about the Zombie, check out Jeff’s page on it here: http://beachbumberry.com/how-to-make-a-zombie/

Play around a little with brands and slight tweaks to the proportions. Then once you feel you have mastered your drink. Make one up (without icing) and let it sit for 6+ hours, at the same time partially mix one up with everything besides the rums, and likewise let it sit for the same time. And perhaps try one or two more “mixes” where you choose different ingredients to leave out.

Then after the time has elapsed, add the appropriate/necessary ingredients to each AND mix up a fresh one. Then try tasting them to see if you can notice any differences, and which one you think you like the best.

As for the cinnamon syrup… I left it out of this version partially because I was trying to provide a recipe which wouldn’t require people to have to go through the process of making a home-made ingredient just to try this out. I should probably do another set of Tiki recipes where I provide recipes which might be more time-consuming to prep for or make.

D-Bo 16 Oct 2014
4:46 am

Robert, Thank you once again for your response. I will follow your suggestions… I have done some of them already. I really like to make drinks to order whenever possible, but unfortunately in my current setting sometimes i have to compromise slightly. That being said, for the Mai Tai, I make the mix at the beginning of a 6 hour shift, and I usually don’t have any left by the end of the night, so, while not totally fresh, it is FAR better than what was previously being served… I have tasted it next to a freshly made drink at the end of the night. I did notice a slight difference, but it was neither better or worse… just different. I think the “aged” lime juice had lost some of its initial brightness, but maybe gained a little “lime” flavor throughout the middle of the drink. Honestly, I think some of the customers who are unaccustomed to having drink made with fresh juice might find the more subdued attack of the aged lime a little less… shocking. I made, what I thought was a perfectly executed Fog Cutter to order yesterday, and it was returned for being “too sour” ugh! Then they ordered a pineapple passion instead haha. Anyway, Overall, I think the difference is negligible, and it allows me to serve a drink that people love, and come back for… I would not however use the mix the following day.

For the Zombie, IF my boss lets me get fresh grapefruit, I think I would leave the grapefruit juice out of the mix and squeeze it when the drink was ordered, along with the rums, and possibly the bitters. I feel like the grapefruit should be squeezed right before i use it, similar to an orange… do you think?

Sidenote: I feel like premixing for drinks that have such small amounts of some ingredients actual helps me to be more precise in some instances… for example the pernod in the zombie recipe is 1/8 of a tsp… If i mix for 8 of them, it is easier to pour a tsp than an eighth, and if i am off by a little bit, that difference gets split over 8 drinks instead of 1… maybe there is a flaw in that logic, but thats how i think of it sometimes.

P.S. love the videos. I think you make great choices for which drinks to make. I don’t know how far out your production is, but maybe an interesting “hot” drink for those of us that are approaching winter in the cold weather states!

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