Cocktail of The Month: Zombie

Freya Moss, October 27, 2017 3:27 pm

Zombie Cocktail

It’s the end of the month! Well, almost… but it is the last Friday of October, which means it’s time for another cocktail of the month!


Making a Zombie


It’s almost Halloween! It’s hard enough thinking of the best costume for the occasion, let alone what food and drinks to serve… so we thought we’d give you a little helping hand with our cocktail of the month! This time it’s the aptly named Zombie, so-called because of the sheer volume of alcohol in this deceptively sweet drink has been known to turn people into the walking dead… you have been warned 😉


The Zombie allegedly dates back to 1934, and was originally intended as a hangover cure! Don Beach, of Hollywood’s Don the Beachcomber restaurant, made it for a hungover customer who needed to get through his business meeting. Whether or not that meeting went well, the customer could never confirm – the next time he saw Don he complained he couldn’t remember anything about his business trip after drinking Don’s creation! The Zombie is so strong the restaurant – and other establishments worldwide – now limits customers to two Zombies apiece. The restriction was apparently put in place as the Zombie’s original consumer drank three in quick succession.


Don’s Zombie recipe was a closely-guarded secret, meaning there are several variations of the drink today. This secrecy meant for a while the term “Zombie” in bars became synonymous with any tall drink made with a lot of rum and some fruit juice. The original recipe was uncovered just over 10 years ago, when the daughter of one of the Beachcomber employees found the recipe scribbled in an old notebook. With that in mind, we have two variations – the original and one of the most common, modern versions – with some tips on how to make it your own!


The classic recipe

– 15ml fresh lime juice
– 15ml falernum syrup (a clove-ginger-liume zest syrup)
– 2 shots of gold rum
– 2 shots of dark rum
– 1 shot of Demerara rum
– 1 teaspoon of grenadine
– 6 drops of absinthe
– 15ml of Don’s mix (a grapefruit-cinnamon syrup)
– ¾ cup of crushed ice
– A sprig of mint, to garnish


Combine all ingredients (except the mint) in a blender and blend on a high speed for roughly five seconds. Pour into a highball glass, adding ice to fill to the rim. Garnish with the mint, and serve.

Some of these ingredients might be a bit more difficult to source, especially here in the UK, so here’s a more widely-used recipe we found, which is more akin to what you might get here:



– 1 shot of white rum
– 1 shot of golden rum
– 1 shot of dark rum
– 1 shot of apricot brandy/apricot liqueur
– 2 shots of pineapple juice (or orange juice)
– ½ shot of 151-proof rum
– a dash of grenadine
– ½ shot of orgeat syrup or sugar syrup
– Juice of ½ a lime


Shake all the ingredients (except for the 151-proof rum) in a cocktail shaker, and pour over ice in a highball or hurricane/sling glass to serve. Add the 151-proof rum on top, and – if you feel like it! – light the top of the drink for an additional flare to serving. Extinguish, then garnish with any fruit of your choice.


Our Rota Mixologists say:

If adding lime, squeeze the juice of half a lime into the drink, invert the lime, and use that as a little “dish” to hold the over-proof rum. Then light it up!

If you want to add more colour to it, layer the bottom of the glass with blue curacao before pouring in the contents of the shaker.


We definitely like the added flair of blue curacao and setting an alcoholic lime on fire (done very carefully of course…), but we’d love to see your takes on this classic, too! Share any you’ve made yourself, or seen while out and about on our Facebook page.


What Is Rota?


Rota are looking for an outgoing and reliable member to join our bar staff team to work at London’s best hotels, restaurants and events!

There are a variety of shifts available and we can offer a flexible contract that suits you, either part-time or full-time, and the opportunity to earn up to £11 per hour.

Rota helps you find flexible hospitality work around London – a great opportunity to get extra earnings over the Christmas period!

Click the apply link to book your assessment session!

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