The Zombie cocktail packs a punch

Zombie mixed drink with cherry and lemon garnish Zombie mixed drink with cherry and lemon garnish on grey background with reflection Photo Credit: Fotolia

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A zombie sneaks up on you, in the imagination, on a movie or TV screen, and most powerfully in a glass.

The Zombie is a high-octane cocktail that refreshes as easily as it intoxicates. Three or four rums, fruit juices, maybe sugar, bitters, grenadine or falernum syrup and brandy -- and it's your private "Night of the Living Dead."

One Zombie, of course, is sufficient. The second or, mercilessly, the third, may make you feel like one.

Generally, the drink is traced to the 1930s and the rise of thatched-roof bars. Consider it the tiki concept concentrated in a single beverage. Some accounts say the Zombie was developed, ironically, as a hangover cure.

Its creator started life as Ernest Gantt. He would change his name, appropriately, to Donn Beach. The cocktail was served at his Don the Beachcomber establishment in Hollywood and apparently made its way to the 1939 World's Fair.

Recipes abound. The following, comparatively restrained and less-complicated version, is from "Mr. Boston Platinum Edition" (Wiley, 2006).

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 ounce lemon juice

1 ounce lime juice

1 ounce pineapple juice

1 ounce passion fruit syrup

1 dash Angostura bitters

1 ounce gold rum

1 ounce white rum

1 ounce 151-proof rum

Dissolve sugar in juices. Shake all ingredients and pour into a chilled collins glass. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Crushed ice won't hurt, either.

The artistic may add a wedge of pineapple, a round of lime or maraschino cherries; the risk-averse, float a much lesser amount of 151-proof rum on top; the reckless, add an ounce of dark rum, another of apricot brandy and a bit of Pernod.

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