The Zombie Cocktail

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The Zombie cocktail is one of the few cocktails with known origins, and it was invented by Donn Beach in the 1930s, at his Hollywood restaurant, Don the Beachcomber. This cocktail was named like this thanks to its effects on the drinker and it soon became popular across America. What is special about the drink is that it uses various types of rum, as well as some liqueurs and fruit juices.

Apparently, the drink is so strong that at any location of Don the Beachcomber restaurants, the bartenders are only allowed to serve two Zombies to each customer who asks for them. The legend goes that Donn Beach first prepared this drink for a customer with a hangover that needed to attend a business meeting. Instead, the customer returned a few days later to complain that the drink had been too strong and he had felt like a zombie the entire time. Since then, it has been known that the Zombie cocktail hides its high alcoholic potency in the sweetness of the fruit juices, so it must be consumed carefully and responsibly.

Another interesting story about the Zombie cocktail is that the original recipe was fully known only by the inventor himself, who gave instructions that contained coded references to his bartenders so nobody got to steal his cocktail recipes. Thus, we know that the original recipe was made with three different types of rum, Angostura bitters, falernum, grenadine, lime juice, Pernod and “Don’s mix” which was probably a mixture of grapefruit juice with cinnamon syrup. Donn, who had a knack for business and had been a bootlegger during the Prohibition, was the man who launched the trend for Tiki restaurants with exotic themes and drinks.

It was only natural then that Donn would protect his recipes viciously, so much so that he even altered them every few years. This is why today the exact original recipe of the Zombie cocktail is unknown and most restaurants and bars serve variations. If you want to prepare the cocktail, you need to use a tall glass and a shaker where you pour ice and over it, the following ingredients in equal parts: white rum, golden rum, dark rum, apricot brandy, pineapple juice and lime juice. After you shake them well, you pour the mixture into the glass and then half a part of 151-proof rum. The glass can be garnished with cherries, pineapple, umbrellas and straws.

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