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How to Make the Zombie

The Zombie cocktail might seem a bit intimidating not because of its name but because of the list of ingredients needed to prepare this cocktail. But, let me tell you, it is totally worth the hard work. This cocktail is fruity, intense, and perfectly tropical!

Zombie Cocktal 1

The Zombie is beloved of the most beloved of all Tropical or Tiki drinks. Created by the legendary bartender Donn Beach (whose real name was Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt, if you can believe it!) to be served at Hollywood’s Don the Beachcomber restaurant.

The story goes that Donn threw it together for a hung-over customer in order to get him in shape for a business meeting. This blend of many rums and many fruit juices didn’t quite have that affect and the disgruntled customer returned to say to had turned him into a Zombie. Thus, the name and the cocktail were born.

The original Donn Beach’s Zombie cocktail recipe become one of the most popular cocktails and took off after it was served at the World’s Fair in the late 1930s. There have been many Zombie variations, but to get the fill story, check out, Sippin’ Safari: In Search of the Great “Lost Tropical Drink Recipes and the People Behind Them” by Jeff Berry, the self-proclaimed Tropical or Tiki Historian.

Zombie Cocktail 2

What goes into a Zombie

Here is a list of everything you will need to make the Zombie recipe. As you will see, all kinds of rum makes up a majority of the base spirits.

  • Jamaican rum: Jamaican Rum adds intense flavor and aroma.
  • Gold Puerto Rican Rum: The dark rum adds vanilla, tropical fruits, spices and walnuts.
  • 151-proof Demerara rum: Demerara rum is known for its complex flavor. It has a very smoky flavor with an almost burnt flavor.
  • Herbsaint: This anise-flavored liqueur has a prominent flavor that resembles licorice. You can use Pernod in its place as well.
  • Fresh Lime juice: Use freshly squeezed lime juice for its slightly sweet citrusy, and slightly tang flavor. It cuts through the complexity of all the different rums.
  • Donn’s mix: Donn’s mix is a syrup you can easily prepare at home. Simply make a simple syrup with cinnamon sticks in it to make a cinnamon syrup.. Once the syrup cools down, add fresh grapefruit and store it. It has a warm, sweet and citrusy flavor.
  • Falernum: This liquor is known for its spicy and citrusy flavor. It offers hints of allspice, cloves, lime, and ginger.
  • Grenadine: This pomegranate syrup has a sweet flavor and adds a bright color. You can make your own grenadine syrup so easily!
  • Angostura bitters: These bitters add a bitter, spicy and herbaceous flavor.
  • Garnish: Use a fresh mint sprig!

What tools you need to make a Zombie

You’ll need a cocktail shaker for this one! Grab a jigger, a barspoon, a strainer, and a highball glass for this Zombie recipe.

Follow these steps to make a Zombie cocktail:

  • Step 1: Pour the Jamaica rum, Puerto Rican gold rum, demerara rum, Herbsaint, Donn’s mix, lime juice, grenadine, Falernum, and angostura bitters to a cocktail shaker
  • Step 2: Add ice cubes and then shake!
  • Step 3: Pour the drink into a tall glass and add more ice if necessary.
  • Step 4: Garnish with mint sprig and serve. Bottom’s up!
Zombie Cocktail 3
  • 🍸Top Tip(le): Tips for making Zombie
    • You can use other types of rum, I.e. dark aged rum or white rum, instead of golden rum.
    • Add orange juice or pineapple juice to Donn’s mixture instead of grapefruit juice.
    • You can use passion fruit syrup instead of grenadine as well.
    • You can do a float of the overproof rum, instead of adding it into the shaker.
    • Feel free to garnish with anything you want like a pineapple wedge or maraschino cherry

Where to find more rum cocktail recipes:

Here are a few of my favorites:

 Plus more Tropical or Tiki drinks here

Disclaimer: Some of these posts contain affiliate links and as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. That means that I may receive compensation if you click on these links and buy something, but, don’t worry, it won’t cost you a dime!

Where to find ingredients for Zombie cocktails

You can find all the ingredients at Spirits Kiosk (10% off the entire site by quoting this code: ALushLife10SK.) in the UK; or in the USA!

Here is the recipe!

Zombie Cocktail


The Zombie cocktail might seem a bit intimidating because of the list of ingredients needed Try making it anyway as it is delicious!
No ratings yet
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Course Cocktails
Cuisine American
Servings 1
Calories 148 kcal


  • 1 1/2 ounces Jamaican rum
  • 1 1/2 ounces Puerto Rican gold rum
  • 1 ounce 151-proof Demerara rum
  • 1/8 teaspoon Herbsaint or Pernod
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice freshly squeezed
  • 1/2 ounce Donn’s mix*
  • 1/2 ounce falernum
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters
  • Garnish: mint sprig


  • Add everything to a shaker.
  • Add ice
  • Shake, shake, shake
  • Pour the contents into a tall glass or Tiki mug and add ice to fill, if necessary.
  • Garnish with a mint sprig.


*Donn’s mix: Bring 3 crushed cinnamon sticks, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and let sit for at least 2 hours before straining into a clean glass bottle. To finish the mix, add 1 part of the syrup to 2 parts fresh grapefruit juice. Cover and keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.


Serving: 1gCalories: 148kcalCarbohydrates: 8gSodium: 67mgSugar: 5g
Keyword zombie
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