Tomorrow is Halloween, and what could be more fitting than a Zombie? The classic Tiki drink is something of a gimmick, totally over-the-top, and not particularly good. But this version? You’ll actually enjoy drinking it. And bonus: you can even light it on fire for a fun Halloween party effect! – Andrew
A Sherry Zombie
Combine the sherry, rums, and shrub in a highball glass filled with crushed ice and give it a stir. Top with the grenadine, which will bleed down into the drink. Top the drink with half a spent lime shell, then pour the overproof rum into the lime shell and light it on fire. Round out the garnish with fresh citrus or tropical fruit. Stick a straw into the glass and enjoy!
The original Zombie, which dates back to the 1930s and the golden age of Tiki, was always a little ridiculous. It contains three ounces of rum and that’s before you float the overproof rum on top. Don the Beachcomber, who created the drink, limited these to two per guest per night, both a prudent move to keep his guests breathing and also a marketing trick to play up the danger and drama of such a wallop of alcohol. This was important because it’s not a very good drink: it’s overly boozy and poorly balanced, with not enough going on outside all that rum to really work.
So we tweaked it a bit: lowered the amount of rum, and replaced some of the rum with a dry, nutty sherry that gives this Zombie a wonderfully savory edge. We also assigned the overproof to garnish duty. Then, we bumped up some of the other flavors in the drink. The classic Zombie includes lime and then two optional ingredients, “secret” ingredients that could be pretty much any tropical fruit juice or syrup, measured in teaspoons. We increased the amounts and threw in some fruity pineapple and grenadine, but also some pineapple shrub (a sweetened, flavored vinegar) that kicks in a mouthwateringly tart bite.
So the result is still pretty boozy, but a bit better balanced, with lots of sweet and tart fruity flavors tempering all that funky rum. It’s probably not a bad idea, though, to still stick to no more than two of these in a row. And pro-tip: blow out that fire before you start drinking.
(Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, where we’ve been posting our experiments before they make their way onto this column!)
Glassware by Liquorary
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper