Updated July 3
It was an honor to create the signature Tiki Trail Zombie and appear on the long-running online meet-up last Tuesday to mix it up for an enthusiastic audience. We hope the drink lives up to the high standards of past mixologists on Tiki Trail Live and knocks everyone dead.
* Go straight to the recipe
If you truly want to get into the spirit of the drink – as well as support the Tiki Trail – you can also pick up a great collection of merchandise featuring artwork by The Boozy Doodler in honor of the cocktail:
TIKI TRAIL ZOMBIE COCKTAIL IPHONE CASE ($19.95) – Protect your most important device from scratches, dust, oil, and dirt. It has a solid back and flexible sides that make it easy to take on and off, with precisely aligned port openings. Available in sizes that fit 13 different iPhone models, this case features a solid back and flexible sides so it’s easy to take on and off. Featuring precisely aligned port openings, the case is made of BPA-free hybrid thermoplastic polyurethane and polycarbonate material.
TIKI TRAIL ZOMBIE COCKTAIL T-SHIRT ($28.95) – Be the envy or your horde with this 100% cotton men’s heavyweight shirt featuring The Boozy Doodler artwork on the front and the Tiki Trail Zombie cocktail recipe on the back for easy reference. Shirts are available in six colors (maroon, black, navy, sand, natural, and white) and eight different sizes (from small to 5XL).
STAINLESS STEEL WATER BOTTLE ($28.95) – Stay hydrated or take your Zombie on the go with this versatile bottle that’s perfect for both the apocalypse or everyday bar crawls. This 17-ounce, high-grade stainless steel vacuum flask features double-wall construction plus odorless and leak-proof cap. It’s insulated for both hot and cold liquids and uses a patented coating for vibrant colors.
Click on the links above to see details and order each item. Or go here to see all the merch in the Tiki Trail store. You can find past Tiki Trail goodies including the Lost Canteen of the Kanaloa Kid and “Peace, love and Tiki” T-shirts.
Scroll below for the backstory and recipe for Tiki Trail Zombie.
In the cinematic Zombie apocalypse, there are certain trails you should avoid if you hope to stay alive. In the real world, there are more appealing paths that lead to deadly (but delicious) tropical cocktails. For the latter, there’s no better route than the Tiki Trail.
* Jump straight to the recipe below:
Tiki Trail Zombie
Tiki Trail Live, which happens every Tuesday at 6 p.m. Pacific time (9 p.m. Eastern), is the longest-running weekly online gathering of Tiki culture enthusiasts. After surviving the entire coronavirus pandemic (so far), what’s a little Zombie infestation?
The Tiki Trail Zombie, created by The Atomic Grog in honor of the horde of Tikiphiles who religiously meet up every Tuesday, will make its debut on the show this week (June 29). Check out the recipe below and be ready to join us in mixing up our latest 10th anniversary Zombie before enjoying interviews with artists and musicians from across the Tiki universe. The Zoom meeting ID is 724 724 4576.
Host Jeff Ballard, creator of the TikiTrail.com website and Tikicomber app, has guided the show though 64 weeks of Zoom meet-ups since March 2020 with just one week off (election night in November). His indispensable assistant, Sam, never fails to come up with an intriguing lineup of guests. Familiar names are complemented by new faces nearly every week, displaying the diversity and worldwide reach of the Tiki scene.
While most of the gatherings over the past year have been hosted in Ballard’s home bar in Southern California, he has begun venturing out as COVID restrictions are eased. Last week, he took Tiki Trail Live to the cocktail bar Marie’s Tek Tec in Long Beach, where bartender Julio Gutierrez (from Tiki pop-up Chuntikis) mixed up two enticing tropical libations. Featured artist Danielle Mann of Black Lagoon Designs joined live from Australia.
* See past Tiki Trail Live guests, promos: Instagram | Facebook
* Live video: Select past shows on YouTube
It’s not unusual to see artists and musical guests dialing in from far-flung continents on Tiki Trail Live, one of the show’s most endearing features. It shows how truly worldwide the Tiki scene has become. The regular attendees are also an eclectic bunch, often hanging out for “after-show” discussion and fun. It was during one of these after-parties two weeks ago that I reached out to the regulars for their input on a namesake Zombie for the show. The Tiki Trail Zombie is truly a crowd-sourced recipe. This will be The Atomic Grog’s second “Pour-Along” on the show, a follow-up to the Jet Pilot episode in September.
After we mix up the Zombie, sit back and relax as Ballard welcomes a wide assortment of guests. I’m looking forward to enjoying the musical stylings of Lono Calls …
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It will also be cool to meet German tiki carver Helmut Vandernelke …
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As an added bonus, this week’s Tiki Trail Live will feature a giveaway of a new Tiki Farm mug by Z Tiki Krew. Info on how to win below …
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The Tiki Trail launched in 2016 with a mission of bringing together “the people, venues, events, music, art and style of all that is Tiki.” Ballard’s travels took him around the country to Tiki bars and events, where he interviewed movers and shakers and came up with the idea of the Tikicomber app.
Available since August 2019, Tikicomber is a community app that allows users to “discover, collect and share” the things that make up their own Tiki world. This includes people, bars, drinks, art, music and more. While COVID put a damper on the app’s ability to track your Tiki adventures, the live Zoom events have arguably created a more diversified community. Ballard and Tiki Trail made an adroit pivot, and the app remains an integral part of the experience.
One of the essential elements in the Tiki cocktail experience is undoubtedly the Zombie, a legendary drink created by Don the Beachcomber in the 1930s. It became a sensation at the tiny Hollywood bar where Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt (aka Donn Beach) created the template for every tropical cocktail bar that was to follow.
As part of the 10th anniversary of The Atomic Grog, we’ve pledged to post 10 new Zombie recipes over 10 months. The third is a tribute to all those venturing down the Tiki Trail …
TIKI TRAIL ZOMBIE
(By Hurricane Hayward, The Atomic Grog)
Combine in a shaker:
* 1 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
* 3/4 ounce all-natural grapefruit juice
* 3/4 ounce passion fruit syrup
* 1/2 ounce guava syrup ***
* 2 dashes Angostura bitters
* 2 dashes orange bitters
* 4-6 drops absinthe (or Pernod/Herbsaint)
* 1 teaspoon allspice dram (aka pimento liqueur)
* 3/4 ounce lightly-aged, blended rum (such as Plantation 3 Stars)
* 1 ounce aged Barbados rum (such as The Real McCoy)
* 1/2 ounce unaged overproof Jamaican rum (such as Wray & Nephew)
* 3/4 ounce 151 proof Demerara rum (such as Hamilton)
Shake as hard as hell with a cup or more of crushed ice for up to 20 seconds. Pour unstrained into a Zombie glass, Enchanted Tiki Trail Mug, or other appropriate vessel. Top with more ice and freshly grated nutmeg.
*** = Guava Reàl or homemade syrup preferred. Alternative: 1/2 ounce guava nectar, 1/2 ounce rich simple (or Demerara) syrup. Reduce passion fruit syrup to 1/2 ounce.
This recipe features roughly 1 3/4 ounces of juices, 1 1/4 ounces of syrups, 1/4 ounce spices/bitters, and 3 ounces of rum for a total of 7 1/4 ounces before blending with ice. It’s spicy and sweet but also deceptively strong, so beware of this alluring Zombie sneaking up on you.
An explosion of exotic yet familiar flavors, similar to classic Zombies yet distinctive and decadent. It’s reminiscent of The Mai-Kai’s Zombie, our favorite drink at the historic Polynesian restaurant in Fort Lauderdale.
Rich sweetness and bold spices play off the potent rums in a balancing act of deep flavors.
As noted above, I reached out to the Tiki Trail regulars for guidance in putting this recipe together. There were many interesting suggestions, including several favorite Zombie flavors and rums (noted above). I’m always looking to expand the reach of the Zombie yet keep it within the traditional parameters defined by Don the Beachcomber.
At its essence, the Zombie is a supercharged Planters Punch, a touchstone Caribbean cocktail that influenced nearly everything that Donn Beach did behind the bar. So it was not a stretch to include guava, which can be found in some Planters Punch recipes.
There were requests for a POG (passion fruit / orange / guava) flavor profile. Adding passion fruit syrup was a no-brainer since it dates back to the 1950 version of the Zombie that author and Tiki cocktail historian Jeff “Beachbum” Berry revealed in his groundbreaking books and app. Orange juice was frowned-upon, so I opted for orange bitters to add more nuance to the spicy element.
Most of the other ingredients are reverential to the classic Zombie recipes and also similar to one of our latest tributes, the Hamilton Zombie.
While this drink contains a dozen ingredients, we sought to make it accessible and not as difficult to make as many recipes you’ll come across with much fewer elements. We tried to avoid the hard-to-find and esoteric, making this perhaps the easiest 12-ingredient drink you’ll ever make.
* Fresh-squeezed lime juice and all-natural grapefruit juice are essential. White grapefruit is more traditional and recommended, but fresh red grapefruit is OK in a pinch. If you have to buy a bottled version, that’s perfectly fine.
* While homemade syrups are preferred, bottled versions are totally acceptable. Both the passion fruit and guava puree from Reàl Syrups are not only cost effective and easy to use, but just as tasty as any similar product on the market. They’re also easy to find on Amazon. The fact that they’re endorsed by such industry luminaries as Beachbum Berry and Ian Burrell makes it an easy choice.
* While the Hamilton and St. Elizabeth brands of allspice dram have slightly different flavor profiles, we’re happy with both in this drink so use whichever you have on hand. The same goes for the orange bitters and anise liqueur. If you don’t have absinthe, just reach for Pernod or Herbsaint. But be careful to go easy and use an eyedropper to dose the drink carefully so these flavors remain subtle.
* The suggested rum brands are all favorites of the Tiki Trail, but you can swap out a few as long as these specific styles are followed. We feel that this combination forms a unique rum profile, strong but not overpowering even at 3 ounces. Among other favorite lightly-aged, blended (white) rums are Hamilton White Stache, Probitas and Denizen. Even more vast are the excellent aged Barbados rums, including most of the Doorly’s and Mount Gay portfolios. Wray & Nephew is the most ubiquitous unaged (white) overproof rum from Jamaica, but several others (Rum-Bar, Rum Fire) are nearly interchangeable. All are 126 proof. The 151 proof Demerara options are fewer, but Lemon Hart has long been the alternative for folks unable to acquire the Hamilton rum from Guyana.
* Whatever you do, don’t forget the freshly grated nutmeg. It’s worth the small investment. The spice adds a nice aromatic and actually accentuates all the flavors as you enjoy the drink. Much like a classic Planters Punch, the inspiration for the original Zombie.
PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY!
2021: THE YEAR OF THE ZOMBIE
The Tiki Trail Zombie is the third of 10 new Zombie recipes planned for The Atomic Grog to commemorate our 10th anniversary. The first two are listed below. Look for more in the coming months.
* Revenge of the Atomic Zombie Cocktail
* Hamilton Zombie
>>> Previous recipes, Zombie news and history
ATOMIC GROG PAST COVERAGE
The Atomic Grog 10th anniversary: Beware! Deadly Zombies ahead
After 10 years and more than 1 million page views, we take a look back at the blog’s best posts and most popular cocktails. A special anniversary Zombie kicks off 10 months of deliciously dangerous drinks.
Zombie hunters: Beachbum Berry, Ed Hamilton join forces on rum blend
Two of the spirits and Tiki cocktail world’s most respected figures are putting their names on the label of an exciting new release: Beachbum Berry’s Zombie Blend from Hamilton Rum.
Pouring along with The Atomic Grog on The Tiki Trail Live
Hurricane Hayward mixes up The Atomic Grog’s tribute to The Mai-Kai’s Jet Pilot on Tiki Trail Live in September 2020.
Mai-Kai cocktail review: Jet Pilot soars over its ancestors with flying colors