White Zombie

Zac Overman, Fort Defiance | Brooklyn, NY

The White Zombie matches all of its precursor’s requirements—deceivingly strong, complicated recipe, a layered base—but it’s composed entirely of white spirits. Zac Overman of Fort Defiance, a neighborhood café in Red Hook, Brooklyn, retooled Don the Beachcomber’s 1930s classic with pisco, white rum and gin instead of three or four different rums. His formula hews tightly to the traditional Zombie blueprint with Don’s Mix (grapefruit and cinnamon syrup), falernum, absinthe and lime, but with the aromatic addition of maraschino liqueur and passionfruit. A potent staple at Fort Defiance’s weekly Thursday tiki night, the White Zombie is probably best handled with Don’s original rule: one per person, per visit.


Serving: 1

  • 1 1/2 ounces pisco (preferably Macchu Pisco)
  • 1 1/2 ounces white rum (preferably Banks 5 Island)
  • 1 ounce gin (preferably Hayman's Royal Dock)
  • 3/4 ounce Velvet Falernum
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce Don's Mix (see Editor's Note)
  • 1/4 ounce passionfruit purée
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup (1:1, sugar:water)
  • 1 barspoon maraschino liqueur
  • 1 barspoon absinthe

Garnish: orange wheel, mint sprig and an umbrella

  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add ice and shake until chilled.
  3. Pour shaker contents into a tiki mug.
  4. Garnish with an orange wheel, a mint sprig and an umbrella.
Editor's Note

To make Don's Mix, combine two parts grapefruit juice with 1 part cinnamon simple syrup. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use. (To make cinnamon syrup, combine 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water in a saucepan over low heat with a 2-inch piece of cinnamon bark for 5 minutes. Let stand overnight and then strain. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.)