Don the Beachcomber (1934) as translated by Jeff "Beachbum" Berry

Donn Beach, also known as Don the Beachcomber, was notorious for coding and obsessively fiddling with his recipes and housemade ingredients. Largely considered the founder of tiki cocktail culture, Beach opened Don the Beachcomber’s in Hollywood in 1934 and created a canon of drinks that built upon the base of fresh juices, exotic fruits, complex syrups and lots and lots of rum.

The Zombie is a prime example of his typical concoction: strong and rather mysterious (it contains two different proprietary mixes). Bar lore says the original was so potent that Beach mandated his customers order no more than two Zombies in one sitting. This recipe is Beach’s original from 1934 as translated by Jeff “Beachbum Berry” in his book Sippin’ Safari.


Serving: 1

  • 1 1/2 ounces rum, Jamaican
  • 1 1/2 ounces rum, Puerto Rican
  • 1 ounce 151-proof rum
  • 1/2 ounce Don's Mix (see Editor's Note)
  • 1/2 ounce Velvet Falernum
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • 1/4 ounce grenadine
  • 2 dashes absinthe
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Garnish: mint sprig

  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker.
  2. Shake with a few ice cubes.
  3. Strain into a tiki mug over crushed ice.
  4. Garnish with a mint sprig.
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.)