Professor Cocktail`s Zombie Horde

Zombie book cover

A book entirely devoted to one of my favorite tiki drinks – the Zombie!!

For the first time ever (as far as i know) has an entire book been written about ONE tiki drink, the famous Zombie. That`s how much this drink fascinates…

Now the book does of course not contain only one Zombie recipe – it contains no less than 86 different recipes…..starting with my favorite the 1934 Zombie Punch – the original version. This was the one that started it all, as served at Don the Beachcomber’s famed Hollywood restaurant. This was the drink that made Don’s reputation and secured his place in cocktail history.

86 different Zombies? that could keep you busy and boozed out for a long time, especially seen to that the old saying “two at the most” was stated for a reason.

The author professor Cocktail about Jeff “Beachbum” Berry:

This book could not have been written without Jeff’s extraordinary efforts at resurrecting Don the Beachcomber’s Zombie. He truly is the Indiana Jones of Tiki Drink Archaeology.

PROFESSOR COCKTAIL’S ZOMBIE HORDE

Recipes for the World’s Most Lethal Drink – by David J. Montgomery aka Professor Cocktail

zombie book - napkin

The book starts with a presentation of the Zombie which was the drink that launched a Tiki empire. Created in 1934 by a former bootlegger named Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt – better known to the world as Don the Beachcomber – the Zombie was a revelation.

“I originated and have served this ‘thing’ since 1934…Anyone that says otherwise is a liar!” —  Don the Beachcomber

A potent mix of different rums, fruit juices, and exotic spices, the Zombie was to become Don’s signature drink and, eventually, a key part of his success and that of his namesake restaurant.

Don’s genius was found in rum and the varying ways in which it could be combined with other ingredients. Not only was he the first bartender to invent Tiki drinks, he was among the first to use rum itself in a serious way.

Out of all of Don’s creations, the Zombie reigned supreme. It was the drink that everyone wanted to try. The book goes on telling us how reportedly the Zombie was invented – whether true or not – and goes on to telling us about how many years later our beloved Beachbum (Jeff Berry) managed to crack the code for Don the Beachcomber’s original Zombie.

And that`s why – thank you Jeff! – i have been able with many others, to enjoy this drink from it´s original recipe albeit with different rums than was used at the time.

After the introduction there´s a note about ingredients explaining what they are and where you can try to find them. The composition of the Zombie varied over the years depending on who was making it – but there are certain ingredients, however, that popped up most frequently and they are listed in the notes.

And then – on to the recipes, all 86 Zombies! and it`s not just the recipes, there´s stories, anecdotes and pictures – all written in an entertaining style.

zombie book don beach ca 1950 in Hawaii

Don Beach in Hawaii cirka 1950

Conclusion:

In Zombie Horde, David J. Montgomery (aka Professor Cocktail) leads you on a journey through the history of the Zombie, starting with its humble beginnings in Hollywood, and following it as it evolved and spread over the decades.

Zombie Horde includes recipes from notable bartenders like Trader Vic, David Embury, Salvatore Calabrese, and Dale DeGroff, as well as the formulas for the Zombies served at famous Tiki joints like the Tonga Room in San Francisco, Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas, and the Luau Room in San Diego.

It also includes recent cocktails that were inspired by the Zombie, with offerings from Martin Cate (Smuggler’s Cove), Brian Miller (Death & Company), Allan Katz (Caña Rum Bar), Brian Dressel (Midnight Cowboy), and Audrey Saunders (Pegu Club).

I`d recommend this book to anyone who`s interested in tiki drinks and of course – the Zombie. With such a gold mine of Zombie recipes from the 1934 original Zombie Punch to Bar Agricole’s Cap Haitien Zombie you just can`t go wrong.

zombie book shrunken head mugs

Otto’s Shrunken Head mugs

About the Author

David J. Montgomery mixes his love of history and alcohol into one potent concoction through his work at ProfessorCocktail.com He is also a nationally renowned book critic and commentator on writing and the publishing industry. Mr. Montgomery is an emeritus columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and The Daily Beast, and has written for USA Today, The Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer, and other fine publications.

His short fiction has appeared both online and in print. A former Professor of History, he lives in the Washington, D.C. suburbs with his wife and two daughters.

The ebook will be available exclusively through Amazon (as well as various international versions of Amazon), and costs just $2.99 to download. There are no plans for a print edition at this time, although it’s possible that could change.

You don’t need a Kindle to read the book, though. You can also use the Kindle app that’s available for various platforms, including PC, Mac, various tablets (iPad, Android, etc.), and smartphones (iPhone, Android, etc.).

Obviously it has a lot of rum in it. So what’s not to like? Go get it!

And for your drinking pleasure, here´s two recipes:

The Undead Gentleman (2011 by Martin Cate)

Undead Gentleman

As served at the high-end Tiki and rum bar located in San Francisco, CA.
Martin Cate’s Note: Simplified slightly and served on the stem, for the sophisticated savage.

Instructions:

In a cocktail shaker:
1/2 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1/2 oz. Fresh Grapefruit Juice (white or pink)
1/2 oz. Falernum
1/2 oz. Cinnamon Syrup
1 oz. Lemon Hart 151 Rum
1 1/2 oz. Aged Jamaican Rum
1 dash Angostura bitters

Shake and fine strain into a chilled cocktail glass that has been rinsed with absinthe blanc. Garnish with a lime and grapefruit twist that have been twisted together.

And then i brought back my old Guyana Zombie which i made in 2009 for the TDN Zombie. It doesn`t contain more than two rums but one is overproof to give the drink that kick it needs. It`s not an authentic Zombie, more a drink that is Zombie inspired.

Guyana Zombie

guyana-zombie1

2 oz demerara rum

1 oz pineapple juice

1 oz honey-mix ( equal parts honey and water, dilute the honey in warm water)

1 tsp cream of coconut ( Lopez or Coco Real)

0.5 oz fresh lime

A decent float of 151 demerara.

Serve in goblet with crushed ice. Sprinkle demerara sugar on top.

Blend with crushed ice at high speed for 5 sek. Pour into goblet with more crushed ice. Garnish with sprinkled demerara sugar, lime wedge and brandied cherry.

White Lion Coconut Arrak

White Lion Coconut Arrak

Here´s a very interesting spirit – a Coconut Arrak made from fermented coconut flowers!

This Arrak should not be confused with Batavia Arrak which is distilled from fermented sugar cane and rice. The original word “araq” is Arabian and was associated with the distillation process when the knowledge of how to distill spirits spread in the Middle East and Asia during the 14th century.

In the US it cannot be called Arrak due to US laws. It’s White Lion VSOA – (Very Special Old Arrack)

There are three completely different categories of Arrak:

Arak – from the Middle East, distilled from fermented grapes, licorice-flavored with anise seed.

Batavia Arrak – from Indonesia, distilled from fermented sugar cane and rice.

Coconut Arrak – from Sri Lanka, distilled from naturally fermented nectar of coconut flowers.

In South East Asia Arrak is distilled from three different types of palm trees (Coconut, Palmyra and Kithul) and Sri Lanka favors the Coconut Arrak. Coconut trees lives 60 years or more and provides a continuous supply of Coconut flower nectar for a very long time and each tree provides 300 litres of nectar every year.

During the 18th century Arrak was used as a substitute for rum ratios for sailers in South East Asia by the British Royal Navy and Marco Polo mentioned Arrak in his 13th century diary Il Milione. Also Arrak was an ingredient in several recipes in Jerry Thomas original 1882 book The Bartender´s Guide. So it´s a very old spirit…

Arrak Toddy tappers

How Coconut Arrak is made:

It starts with the so called Toddy Tappers – young men scaling Coconut trees early in the morning before dawn balancing on tight ropes strung between 80 foot tall Coconut tree tops to harvest the yet unopened flowers of the trees.

They slice open the buds with machetes to release the fresh nectar into clay pots. Each tree yields 2 liters of nectar a day. The nectar is rich in natural sugar and wild yeasts and starts to ferment naturally into a mildly alcoholic syrup called toddy.This natural fermentation is unique to Coconut Arrak.

Arrak climbing

Within four hours of harvest the toddy is quality tested and transported to Distilleries Company of Sri Lanka where the toddy is distilled, a craft with 700 years of master blenders expertise and refinement. Initially the toddy is separated – a portion to be distilled in copper pot stills and the other portion in continuous column stills.

Then the two distillates are married together in casks of Halmilla wood to rest and mature for 24 months. And the result is VSOA – Very Special Old Arrak

And that´s what i have here now, to be tasted and used in a few cocktails. A quite exciting spirit to work with!

Arrak barrels

The color of the Arrak is a golden hue of amber and the nose is tropical floral with hints of vanilla and some nuttiness.

On the palate it´s mild and sweet, with the same tropical floral notes, hints of vanilla and with a nutty finish.

Conclusion:

I think it would be a great cocktail ingredient but can also be sipped neat with an ice cube since it´s mild and quite smooth. It`s not very complex but it has a mild balance of pleasant aromas and it`s somewhat like a blend of sweet rum and whiskey. It`s definitely a unique spirit!

Tropical Arrak Sling

Tropical Arrak Sling

1.5 oz White Lion Coconut Arrack
.5 oz cherry Liqueur (Cherry Heering)
.25 oz orange liqueur (Combier Grande Liqueur)
.25 oz Benedictine
.25 oz hibiscus grenadine
1 oz pineapple juice
.75 oz fresh lime juice
Soda to top
A couple dashes bitters on top of the ice

I used a combination of Angostura and Brazilian Zulu bitters.

Combine all ingredients except bitters and soda in a mixing glass with ice, strain into a tall glass wrapped in a banana leaf or napkin and top up with crushed ice, top with soda and fill up with more crushed ice.

Tropical Arrak Sling leaf

Top with bitters.

Garnish with cherry and piece of banana leaf.

Tropical and cherry forward, this sling which is as you can see from the recipe is inspired by the classic Singapore sling – makes me think of tropical porches in front of the sea…

Coconut Arrak Painkiller

Coconut Arrak Painkiller

A painkiller with Coconut Arrak…

4 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 oz orange juice
1 oz Coco Real or Lopez coconut ream
1 oz White Lion Coconut Arrak
1 oz Pusser`s Rum or dark Jamaican Rum

Shake with plenty of crushed ice and pour unstrained into a tall glass or tiki mug.

Dust with cinnamon and nutmeg.

Garnish with pineapple leaf and cherry.

This is a perfect drink for the coconut arrak!

High Proof rums from Guyana, Jamaica and Barbados by Swedish Fire Water

RumSwedes

This fall came with four new rums in the “Rum Swedes” series from the Swedish independent bottler Swedish Firewater (www.eldvatten.se) with full proof single cask rums from Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados. I wrote a review of their Caroni 1997 Single Barrel Rum earlier this year.

From Guyana i have two samples, one from 2002 and one 2003 and then Barbados 2000 and Jamaica 2000.

GUYANA 2003

From Diamond distillery and aged 9 years, (60.9%/121.5 proof) it´s a heavy rum with hints of smoke. The color is dark mahogany.

Nose – Oh lovely demerara….it´s smoky, heavy, woody, dried tropical fruit, leather, banana peel, burnt molasses. A kick of strong alcohol if you come too close with the nose but a bit away from the glass a whole orchestra of flavors hits you.

Mouth – I added some ice to the glass and it opened up the rum a bit and made it easier to drink. It`s typical dark demerara flavors, same as the nose and slightly smoky. The mouth feel is a bit viscous and slightly oily, just as it should be with this kind of heavy rum. Neat it´s all these flavors concentrated and the aftertaste stays with you for quite some time. It`s lovely!

GUYANA 2002

Distilled at the Port Morant Double Pot Still (61%/122 proof) the color is golden. It`s a more elegant and fruitier rum than the first one.

Nose – it has a lovely nose of both dried and ripe tropical fruits, banana, vanilla, mango, sugarcane.

Mouth – a bit of wood, same tropical fruits as in the nose, sugarcane but not very sweet though, just fine. Neat you feel the wood more and then the fruits step in. A great rum!

JAMAICA 2000

This rum is from Hampden Distillery which is famous for their high ester rums which are the result of very long fermentation of the molasses.They are doing their rums in an old fashioned way producing very distinctive but expensive rums.

The Hampden distillery dates back to 1743 and uses three copper pot stills. The distillery was closed in 2003 and re-opened with new owners sometimes around 2009. So this rum is from before the closure which makes it even more valuable. This rum is (58.4%/116.8 proof)

NOSE

Very “creamy”, fruity, ripe tropical fruit, banana, sugarcane, very pleasant nose!

MOUTH

So tasty! tropical fruit again, banana, banana peel, overripe mango, brown sugar..some wood, burnt molasses. A rich rum with an elegant aftertaste that lingers in the mouth for a while.

BARBADOS

And the last one, from the island of Barbados where they say rum was first made in the Caribbean. This rum is distilled by the West India Rum Distillers which are located at Brighton, Black Rock in the southern parish of St. Michael on the island of Barbados.

The distillery dates back to 1893 and was established by two German brothers (the Stades brothers) who wanted to produce rum to be shipped to Germany. It returned into the hands of Barbados again in 1903. They are using two old pot stills and four column continuous stills. The famous Cockspur rum is distilled there.

NOSE

The nose is a little fruity and sugary with something more, maybe toffee?

MOUTH

Fruity, a little wood, toffee, pralin, sugarcane, hint of chocolate. It`s not a heavy rum but rather elegant. Neat it has some more punch of course, after all it´s 116.8 proof.

Rum Swedes tasting bottles

CONCLUSION

They are all very good rums, i`d say the Guyana 2003 and Jamaica 2000 are my favorites of the four. They fetch the same high price as the privately bottled Caroni and Demerara rums in Italy and is about 120 euros a bottle and can as far as i know only be purchased in Sweden. There´s only 215 bottles of the Barbados 2000, 245 bottles of Guyana 2000, 185 bottles of Jamaica 2000 and 230 bottles of Guyana 2003.

The one cocktail i feel really eager to try with these excellent rums is a Mai Tai…it´s the idea of trying a combo of the 2003 Guyana and the 2000 Jamaica that intrigues me…

MAI TAI  (Guyana and Jamaica)

MAI TAI INST 2

1 oz Guyana 2003 and Jamaica 2000 combo (0.5 oz of each)

1 oz Appleton Extra

0.5 oz Ferrand Dry Curacao

0.25 oz orgeat

0.25 oz sugarcane syrup

1 oz fresh lime

half spent lime shell in the shaker

Shake with plenty of crushed ice and pour into a double old fashioned. Top up with more crushed ice if needed. Garnish with a mint sprig.

I think the mint is an important part of the Mai Tai, it adds that fragrance and you should spank it before adding it to the glass and then add a short straw placed near the mint.

The spent lime shell adds some of that lovely lime oil to the drink.

These two rums made an excellent Mai Tai, the drink was strong, flavorful and refreshing. They paired very well with Appleton Extra but if they had been of lower strength, say 55 % i would have used one oz of each.

Either way you can`t go wrong with these good rums.