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The Zombie Cocktail Turned Old Fashioned!



ZOMBIES! Where Tiki lovers and gamers meet. So bring out your rums and your consoles, Friends of Cocktails, we’re making a Zombie, partly because I was contacted to help with the celebrations on the 1st anniversary of Dying Light 2: Stay Human - you can find more about that on the full episode on YouTube - but to frame it into the context of our channel: I think it’s the perfect opportunity to make the zombie cocktail. Don’t you agree?


Before we start, a not shocking, but honest disclosure: I don’t play video games much these days. With a full-time job, a toddler at home, and over 100.000 Friends of Cocktails worldwide who are expecting a cocktail video each Friday, I haven’t been able to play Dying Light 2. First let me just quickly say a MASSIVE Thank You to all the Friends of Cocktails for crossing this milestone with us! Also, although I haven’t been able to kill any zombies yet, I know how to make a Zombie cocktail, and I have a friend who’s a huge fan of Dying Light 2 - David - so I invited him over to try the classic Zombie cocktail.



If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he has been on the channel before when he brought me honey and mead for the Beegroni and Gold Rush episodes, as well as a couple of special episodes where he did more than just beekeeping and enjoying a cocktail (if Grinch and Lurch come to mind you’re a real Cocktail Time trivia buff!). If you want to see him try the cocktail make sure to check out the episode, but for now let’s begin, it’s Cocktail Time!


The Zombie was created by Don the Beachcomber, the founding father of Tiki, back in 1934. He used a combination of Jamaican, Puerto Rican and 151-proof rums, along with fresh lime juice, falernum, grenadine, angostura bitters, a few drops of anise-flavored liqueur and “Don’s Mix” - his secret ingredient. Later it was discovered that it was just a combination of fresh white grapefruit juice and cinnamon simple syrup in a 2:1 ratio, but yeah, quite a line-up for a cocktail. Thankfully you just need a blender and we are set!



Zombie Cocktail

● 45mL (1.5oz) Appleton Estate 12

● 45mL (1.5oz) DonQ gold Rum

● 30mL (1oz) Gosling 151 Rum

● 6 drops Pernod Anise Liqueur

● 22.5mL (0.75oz) lime juice

● 15mL (0.5oz) Velvet Falernum

● 15mL (0.5oz) Don’s Mix (2:1 white grapefruit juice & cinnamon syrup)

● 1 barspoon grenadine

● 1 dash angostura

● ¾ ice scoop of ice

● Mint bouquet

● Zombie Finger (optional)


Add all of your ingredients into a blender, blend for just about 5 seconds and pour into a tall chilled glass of choice - I used a Collins glass. Now fill the glass with more crushed ice and garnish with mint. Grab a bouquet, give it a spank and place it on top, right next to a straw. And that’s the classic Zombie cocktail, but as a finishing touch, a Dying Light special, I’ll add a zombie finger as a special garnish. Cheers and Stay Human!


On the nose this is a very aromatic cocktail. All the rums make it boozy, but it’s almost too easy to drink, so it could be dangerous. I definitely made a Zombie, but not the cocktail, David! He tried the finger and has now become a Zombie- who knew the finger was infected? The good news is I have a recipe that might just work to bring him back. It’s a twist on the Zombie, called Stay Human. He should be back to his Old Fashioned self in no time after drinking it - see what I did there? OK, OK, bad timing…



The bad news, or the other ones after David becoming a zombie, is that the ingredients take 2 days to make, so I’ll have to keep him locked for a while. Don’t worry, we brought him a bright light so he doesn't go all aggressive and hostile during the night. Now, the Zombie was never my favorite tiki cocktail so I wanted to do a Tiki-styled Old Fashioned riff on it, and this seems like the best situation for it. Let’s start with a Pineapple Shrub to add some tropical funkiness.


I know, I know, the original recipe doesn’t use pineapple, but there are a lot of Zombie recipes out there with pineapple juice added. That’s what happens when you try to keep your recipes a secret… So, here’s how to make the pineapple shrub.


Pineapple Shrub

● 200g pineapple peels

● 20g lime peels

● 250g cane sugar

● 200g pineapple flesh

● 200g apple cider vinegar


Start by peeling a pineapple and 2 limes, placing the peels and the sugar into an airtight container. The sugar will pull out oils and flavors components from the peels, which will, in turn, dissolve the sugar leaving us with an intensely flavorful syrup, called oleo saccharum. Now in a separate container place the pineapple flesh and the vinegar to infuse it. Now give both batches a stir several times over the next 48 hours.


Now it’s time to strain out both liquids through a cloth filter before we combine them - for the pineapple flesh onee I’ll give everything a gentle squeeze through a potato ricer to get as much vinegar as possible. Then we’ll combine both liquids in a 1:1 ratio by volume to make an amazing pineapple shrub. If you’re left with any of the oleo saccharum use it as the sweetener for a punch, an old fashioned or a sour cocktail, like a Pineapple Daiquri. If you have leftover infused vinegar, use it to make a tropical salad dressing.


With that done our Pineapple Shrub is ready to be bottled. Store in the fridge and it should be good for at least 6 months, if not indefinitely. We now have everything to make the “Stay Human” cocktail - an Old Fashioned version of the Zombie. Our friend is waiting so let’s not waste too much time, just don’t forget to chill the mixing glass anyway.


Stay Human

● 45mL (1.5oz) La Hechicera Reserva Familiar

● 15mL (0.5oz) Smith& Cross

● 7.5mL (0.25oz) Falernum

● 2 barspoons Pineapple shrub

● 1 barspoon Grenadine

● 1 dash Angostura

● 2 drops Saline Solution

● Absinthe

● Grapefruit peel


Add all but the absinthe and grapefruit peel into your mixing glass, add ice and stir to chill and dilute - click here for my recipe for Winter Spice Bitters. To make sure there’s no Harran Zombie Virus in the glass, spray it with absinthe, then add a clear ice cube and pour your cocktail on top. Instead of grapefruit juice, we’re just adding the oils from the peel for the grapefruit aroma. Now add a mint leaf on top and all that’s left to say is: Goodnight and Good Luck.


This cocktail has all the Zombie characteristics but still works great as an Old Fashioned. It’s nicely balanced with the shrub providing an interesting funky element. I’d call this an upgrade to the original, but that’s just me. It’s so good you’ll forget any troubles or worries you may have. With that said, thank you for reading and let me know what you think of… wait I think I’m missing something. David!


If you want to find out if “Stay Human” was a success, check out the video on YouTube, and let me know in the comments what your prediction is. Will David stay a Zombie or will he return to his Old-Fashioned self? Cheers and Stay Human, Friends of Cocktails!


By buying through the affiliate links you’re also helping out the Cocktail Time channel with a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Cheers!



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