Recipe: A new Zombie becomes final challenge for The Hukilau villagers

Updated Sept. 22

Upon completion of The Hukilau this weekend at the Beachcomber Resort and The Mai-Kai, event attendees had one additional challenge: Sunday’s “Hereafter Party” dubbed The Final Destination at Death or Glory in Delray Beach. To bring the theme full circle, The Atomic Grog presented a Zombie to end all Zombies.

See recipe below: The Final (Destination) Zombie
RECAP: See photos from the event NEW
Previous coverage: Death or Glory scares up spooktacular Sunday after-party

The Hukilau: Final Destination at Death or Gory

This was not your typical Tiki party. Death or Glory was transformed into “Death or Gory” for the Halloween season, complete with full-on decor and a themed food and cocktail menu. Sunday’s festivities took place in the graveyard (the outdoor Tiki bar and patio) and feature the instrumental stylings of Skinny Jimmy Stingray, himself no stranger to sinister surf songs.
The Hukilau 2021 recap: Daily social media photos

Similarly, the cocktail below is not your typical Zombie. Sure, The Final (Destination) Zombie may look like a Zombie and act like a Zombie, but I don’t recall ever seeing a version of this deadly classic featuring mezcal. The pungent agave spirit is right at home in this new concoction, and Mexico’s Day of the Dead tradition makes it a natural fit.

Some of the many spirits conjured up by Death or Glory in Delray Beach. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)
Some of the many spirits conjured up by Death or Glory in Delray Beach. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

This hybrid Zombie was crafted with the help of the Luau Lads from Jacksonville. This bartending duo made some of the best cocktails at The Hukilau in addition to presenting a fascinating symposium on the history of Tiki in the Sunshine State.

The Death or Gory menu is not to be missed. Themed drinks – such as Till Death Do Us Part and I Put a Spell on You – feature a wide range of spirits: Rum, bourbon, gin, tequila, mezcal, vodka, and more. There’s also a tasty and creative food menu. The seasonal pop-up continues through Halloween. Check out our full preview for more info:

The Hukilau update: Death or Glory scares up spooktacular Sunday after-party
Death or Glory scares up spooktacular Sunday after-party
The Hukilau: Final Destination features devilishly good surf music from Skinny Jimmy Stingray, spirited Halloween cocktails, rum sponsors, guest bartenders, and more!

Before we get to The Final (Destination) Zombie recipe, here are a few more shots we took at Death or Gory in advance of Sunday’s Zombie invasion.

Halloween decor and decorations at the Death or Gory pop-up at Death or Glory in Delray Beach. (Photos by Hurricane Hayward, September 2021)

Halloween decor and decorations at the Death or Gory pop-up at Death or Glory in Delray Beach. (Photos by Hurricane Hayward, September 2021)

Death or Glory
Official website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Yelp

The Hukilau 2021Sept. 16-19 at the Beachcomber Resort & Club in Pompano Beach and The Mai-Kai restaurant in Fort Lauderdale. Featuring live music (The Intoxicators, Aqualads, The Hilo Hi-Flyers), symposiums, rum sponsors and pop-up cocktail bars, luau on the beach, Tiki marketplace, plus more.
Social media: Facebook page and group | Instagram

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A Zombie worthy of Día de los Muertos?

One of the many things I love about the Zombie is the fact that you can swap in several new or unique ingredients and not lose the character of the original, a classic cocktail created by Don the Beachcomber in the 1930s. This cannot be said about every popular Tiki drink.

Take Trader Vic’s Mai Tai, which came after the Zombie and has assumed the role of Tiki cocktail de rigueur in the 21st century. It’s also become a lightning rod for controversy, as hardcore enthusiasts debate the drink’s ingredients ad nauseam. That can get tiring to say the least. Not so with the dynamic Zombie, which is fine by me.

Donn Beach (aka Don the Beachcomber)
Donn Beach (aka Don the Beachcomber)

Donn Beach himself tinkered with his deadly cocktail (which he often limited to “2 per customer” on his menus) many times over the years. In our opinion, it’s superior to the Mai Tai in many ways, not the least of which is its malleability. The White Zombie (by Zac Overman of Fort Defiance in Brooklyn) is a prime example. It features pisco, white rum and gin instead of the typical three or four different rums. I’ve even experimented with bourbon and coffee, with great results (try the Altered State Zombie).

As part of the 10th anniversary of The Atomic Grog, we’re introducing 10 new Zombie recipes, and No. 4 is another that pushes the envelope. While the Mai Tai wars wage online, we’ll happily mix up a Zombie with mezcal. This distinctive spirit from Mexico adds a unique flavor as well as the perfect connection to Día de los Muertos, the country’s annual Day of the Dead celebration.

There’s no evidence that Donn Beach ever mixed with mezcal, but we have a feeling he wouldn’t mind this creative yet reverential take on his classic.

The Final (Destination) Zombie by The Atomic Grog. Death or Glory mug by Tiki Diablo. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, September 2021)
The Final (Destination) Zombie by The Atomic Grog. Death or Glory mug by Tiki Diablo. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward, September 2021)

THE FINAL (DESTINATION) ZOMBIE
(By Hurricane Hayward, The Atomic Grog)

* 1 ounce Plantation O.F.T.D.
* 1 ounce Don Q Gold or Anejo
* 1/2 ounce mezcal
* 1/2 ounce lime juice
* 1/2 ounce lemon juice
* 1/2 ounce falernum
* 1/4 ounce cinnamon syrup
* 1/4 ounce white grapefruit juice
* 1/4 ounce honey mix (2:1 honey to water)
* 2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
* 2-3 drops Pernod

Pulse blend with 1 1/2 cups of crushed ice. Pour into a Zombie glass, adding more ice to fill. Garnish with mint and a ghoulish swizzle stick.

Tasting notes

Fans of mezcal and fans of Zombies should be equally satisfied with this potent monster of a drink. It goes right for the throat like any respectable Zombie should. The mezcal and cinnamon form a potent flavor bomb to augment the rum and spices. Despite the many flavors, it’s still highly drinkable, surprisingly dry and refreshing.

Mixing tips

We made sure to feature two of The Hukilau’s sponsors, Plantation and Don Q rums. The 138-proof O.F.T.D. (a blend of rums from Jamaica, Guyana and Barbados) provides the punch while either of the mild but flavorful Don Q rums from Puerto Rico perfectly complements the blend. We don’t have a lot of experience with mezcal so it’s hard to make a recommendation. Just use your favorite or experiment with a few different varieties. A half-ounce is a small dose, but it brings a distinctive grassy flavor note to the table.

The Final (Destination) Zombie was served appropriately during The Hukilau's Sept. 19 "Hereafter Party" at Death or Glory. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)
The Final (Destination) Zombie was served appropriately during The Hukilau’s Sept. 19 “Hereafter Party” at Death or Glory. (Photo by Hurricane Hayward)

Fresh squeezed juices are essential, of course. If you can’t find grapefruit, we recommend the bottled Ocean Spray juice labeled “pure unsweetened white grapefruit.”

The syrups and spices are all staples of one Zombie recipe or another. Honey mix is easy to make, and homemade syrups in general are always preferable. We also make our own cinnamon syrup (using the recipe from Beachbum Berry’s books). A falernum syrup is preferable to the liqueur, but the latter would work in a pinch. Recommended syrups include BG Reynolds, Fee Brothers and Orgeat Works.

NEW: Death or Gory post mortem

The version of the cocktail we enjoyed during the Final Destination party at Death or Glory was simply outstanding and truly knocked us dead. [See photos from the event below] Our friends the Luau Lads (aka Kurt Rogers and Michael Bloom) did a killer job in the prep kitchen, utilizing their own signature falernum.

And the Death or Glory staff raised the bar with their presentation, serving the drink in blood donor bags. We also commend their mezcal selection. If you’re looking for an appropriate bottle, you can’t go wrong with the the new Del Maguey Vida de Muertos, a special 90-proof edition of the Vida brand. It was inspired by the batches of mezcal shared for the celebration of Día de los Muertos.

Okole maluna and Salud!

PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY!

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RECAP: The Hukilau 2021 Final Destination at Death or Gory
Photos by The Atomic Grog

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2021: THE YEAR OF THE ZOMBIE

The Final (Destination) Zombie is the fourth of 10 new Zombie recipes celebrating The Atomic Grog’s 10th anniversary. The first three are listed below. Look for more in the coming months.
* Tiki Trail Zombie
* Revenge of the Atomic Zombie Cocktail
* Hamilton Zombie
>>> Previous recipes, Zombie news and history

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ATOMIC GROG PAST COVERAGE

Take a trip down the Tiki Trail for a lethal new Zombie recipe
Take a trip down the Tiki Trail for a lethal new Zombie recipe
It was a honor mixing up an original cocktail on the longest-running weekly online gathering of Tiki culture enthusiasts. Be sure to pick up the special merchandise featuring the Tiki Trail Zombie artwork.

Zombie killers: Beachbum Berry and Ed Hamilton join forces on new rum blend
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 killers: Beachbum Berry and Ed Hamilton join forces on new rum blend
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.

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