Variations and Substitutions
As varied as the zombie monster throughout lore, tv shows, and movies, the recipe has many different ways to construct a zombie cocktail.
- If three rums are a bit much for you or you don't have all of them available on hand, you can use one or a pair to comprise that three and a half ounces of rum the recipe calls for.
- Add a half to a three-quarters ounce of freshly squeezed orange juice or skip the pineapple juice entirely in favor of orange juice.
- Some recipes call for the dark rum to be layered. To do this, don't add it to your cocktail shaker at the start. Instead, once the drink is in the serving glass, slowly pour the dark or overproof rum down the back of a spoon to create a rum float.
- Don't worry if you don't have falernum or Donn's mix on hand. You can always use an almond syrup, allspice dram, or cinnamon liqueur in a pinch.
- Anise can be a flavor that many find unfavorable; you can skip the Pernod entirely if you or your guests aren't interested.
You can shirk expectations and craft your own unique garnish or follow the zombies or bartenders that have come before by following in their footsteps.
- Add a pineapple leaf to the traditional garnish.
- Use a citrus peel, including a lemon, orange, lime, or grapefruit. You can use one on its own or layered with over garnishes. Likewise, any citrus wheel, wedge, or slice would look great.
- Capitalize on the spooky factor by using a dehydrated citrus wheel or slice.
Zombie: Ingredients to Make You Drool
Starting in California and stumbling through bars since the mid-1930s, the zombie cocktail is aptly named. If you make the grave mistake of indulging in too many, you'll find yourself stumbling and dragging your feet. This quintessential tropical cocktail has three heavy rums that'll pack a punch, as do most of Donn Beach's creations. Although the rum and juices are common ingredients, the zombie also features Donn's mix, falernum, and Pernod -- things you don't usually see in most cocktails.
Donn's mix is a staple in tropical cocktails and often a secret ingredient in standard cocktails. You can easily buy some or make your own by adding three crushed cinnamon sticks, a cup of sugar, and a cup of water to a saucepan. Bring those ingredients to a boil while frequently stirring until the sugar dissolves. After turning down the heat and simmering for approximately two minutes, allow the mixture to cool before straining out any cinnamon pieces. From there, add at least 24 ounces or up to 32 ounces of grapefruit juice, stirring well to mix. Store your Donn's mix in a jar or bottle in your refrigerator for up to a week. If you know you won't use as much, you can go ahead and cut the ingredients in half or more.
The remaining ingredients, falernum and Pernod, aren't ones you would necessarily make at home but are important staples. It can help to understand their flavors to know why. Originating in the Caribbean as early as the 1700s, Falernum is a syrupy liqueur with a nutty, spiced flavor. Among its ingredients are ginger, almond, cloves, and lime. Pernod is an anise liqueur that uses star anise and fennel to achieve those licorice-style flavors. Like falernum, Pernod has long been around since the late 1700s; however, it owes its roots to Switzerland.
A Monster Zombie Cocktail to Delight
Take a walk on the sunny side with a zombie cocktail. This unique tropical drink, after all not many rum drinks call for anise liqueur, is a crowd favorite and so easy to drink. But be sure to keep yourself in check, or else you might find yourself the zombie.