Spooktacular Halloween Zombie Cocktail

A dark scene featuring a plastic black rat and an icy bright orange cocktail in a tall glass.

This boozy Halloween Zombie Cocktail is a blend of 3 rums, liqueurs, and citrus juices kissed with tropical Passionfruit puree. It’s a mouthwatering twist on a Tiki Classic!

Cocktail hour at Dish ‘n’ the Kitchen is always an event. We love to make our own spice infused simple syrups and fresh squeezed citrus juices. Check out Friday Flame, another of our fun Tiki drink creations.

Of course, a cocktail wouldn’t be complete without garnish. These Cocktail Cherries are…well they ARE the cherry on top.

A dark scene featuring an icy bright orange cocktail in a tall glass held by a skeleton hand.

The Beginnings of Tiki Culture

If you are reading this, I have to assume you are at least curious about Tiki Culture. Tiki is more than just strong rum cocktails or dollar store leis. For peoples in the South Pacific it’s a rich culture and heritage. For enthusiasts, it’s a state of mind.

Original Tiki culture was (and still is) an important part of the history, mythology, and culture of the South Pacific. So many Polynesian islands (including the Hawaiian Islands, New Zealand, Easter Island, etc) developed rich cultural heritage around Tiki gods, including origin stories and awe inspiring legends.

In the 1930’s, Americans became infatuated with Polynesian art and culture and the first themed Tiki bar, opened in 1934 once prohibition was over.

Don the Beachcomber

Donn Beach (originally Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt) a prohibition bootlegger returned to Hollywood inspired from his travels in the South Pacific.

He opened Don the Beachcomber there in 1934 where he served rum laced cocktails accented with tropical flavours.

The ingredients used to make a Zombie Tiki Cocktail.

However, it wasn’t ALL about the cocktails. The décor was meant to transport customers to the tropics; from the bamboo bar and barstools to the fish netting on the walls and the ‘rain’ pattering on the tin roof it was a truly immersive experience.

Donn Beach was a creative and prolific bartender. He focused mainly on drinks made with rum mixed with tropical fruit juices such as guava, lime, passionfruit, and pineapple juice.

Though many of the recipes have been lost and reimagined over the years, he is credited with creating around 84 different cocktails including the original Zombie Cocktail.

A dark scene featuring a plastic black rat and an icy bright orange cocktail in a tall glass.

What is a Zombie Cocktail?

The Zombie Cocktail is the tropical drink that started the Tiki craze. Not for the faint of heart, the drink includes a blend of over proof, gold, and dark rums, lime and grapefruit juice, pernod, grenadine, bitters, and spices.

However, Donn Beach was very careful to keep the exact recipe a secret, even going so far as to provide his employees with coded recipes, numbering bottles in the bar, and creating secret mixes.

For an in depth (and entirely entertaining) account of one man’s quest to nail down the original Zombie Punch recipe, read How to Make a Zombie by Beachbum Berry. Here are the ingredients for Donn’s 1934 original:

Close up of an orange cocktail garnishes with two cherries and an orange wheel.
Donn Beach’s 1934 Zombie Punch
  • 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce falernum
  • 1 1/2 ounces gold Puerto Rican rum
  • 6 drops Pernod
  • 1 1/2 ounces gold or dark Jamaican rum
  • 1 ounce 151-proof Lemon Hart Demerara rum
  • a dash of Angostura bitters
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine
  • 1/2 ounce Don’s mix (2 parts grapefruit juice to 1 part cinnamon syrup

Glossary of Common Ingredients

Gold Rum – or ‘Amber’ rum is generally a darker coloured rum that has been aged in wooden barrels (usually bourbon barrels).

Over Proof Rum – a rum with more than 57.5% alcohol content.

Demerara Rum – a dark rum from Guyana made using molasses.

Falernum – an alcoholic or non alcoholic syrup made of ginger, lime, and almond mixed with spices such as cloves and/or allspice. Velvet Falernum is a heavier syrup with greater texture.

Pernod/Absinthe – anise flavoured spirits derived from multiple botanicals.

Bitters – neutral spirits infused with any number of botanicals including spices, tree bark, roots, seeds, fruits, etc. Used in small amounts.

Grenadine – a simple syrup made with pomegranate juice.

Cointreau/Curacao – orange flavoured liqueurs.

A dark scene featuring an icy bright orange cocktail in a tall glass held by a skeleton hand.

The Halloween Zombie Cocktail

It’s difficult to mess with Donn’s Zombie Cocktail perfection. If you change too much of the recipe and is it still a Zombie or an entirely new creation?

These two Zombie Cocktail variations were created for a local Halloween Zombie cocktail competition. The competition rules stipulated that each cocktail contain a maximum 3 ounces of alcohol as per local liquor laws.

This means that unlike the original Zombie Punch, these two cocktails are a bit more fruit forward. Just a bit. Don’t get too thirsty though, a few of these will still set you on your behind!

The orange cocktail (named Shaun of the Dead for the competition) is fruity, with a great passionfruit kick emphasized by the over proof rum and absinthe.

A dark scene featuring a plastic black rat and an icy bright orange cocktail in a tall glass.

A Jamaican Zombie Variation

The second cocktail, Jamaican Me Zombie is a Caribbean spin on the Classic Zombie Cocktail with a touch of Agua de Jamaica.

Agua de Jamaica, or Sorrel Drink is a steeped hibiscus flower beverage containing warming spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and allspice.

Zombie Cocktail Garnishes

Before you begin mixing the cocktail, choose a tall glass and create your garnish. A garnish can be as simple as a fresh mint sprig, a sliced orange wheel, or a cocktail pick with cherries. When all else fails, go with the quintessential Tiki Cocktail garnish; a paper umbrella.

For a fun Halloween garnish, carefully slice a round cheek from an orange. Scrape off the fruit and part of the pith with a sharp knife then carve in a jack o lantern face.

A tall brown Tiki mug topped with a flaming jack o lantern garnish.

Use the orange jack o lantern as is or combine it with a hollowed out lime half. Place a dried bread cube doused with some over proof rum in the lime, set it behind the carved orange, and light it on fire to serve.

How to Make a Zombie Cocktail

Donn Beach’s original Zombie Punch is a blended Tiki cocktail. All of the ingredients are mixed in a shaker, then blended with ice for a short amount of time.

For these two Zombie Cocktails, place all the ingredients (minus the bitters) in a cocktail shaker and give them a dry shake (don’t add ice to the shaker).

Place crushed ice in the cocktail glass, pour the mixture over the ice and dash the bitters over top. Garnish and serve with a straw.

Join Me for Saturday Brunch!

Join the Saturday morning newsletter and get cozy with a cup of coffee. Inside you’ll find free recipes, giveaways, and more. It’s such a delicious way to start the weekend!

See you on Saturday!

By clicking subscribe, you agree to share your email address with the site owner and receive emails from the site owner.

Pinterest image of a dark scene featuring a plastic black rat and an icy bright orange cocktail in a tall glass.
Yield: 1 cocktail

Spooktacular Halloween Zombie Cocktail

A dark scene featuring a plastic black rat and an icy bright orange cocktail in a tall glass.

This boozy Halloween Zombie Cocktail is crafted using a blend of 3 rums, liqueurs, and citrus juices then kissed with tropical Passionfruit puree. It's a mouthwatering twist on a Tiki Classic!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Appleton Estates Signature Single Estate Rum
  • 1 oz El Dorado Demerara Rum
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1 tsp Okanagan Spirits Absinthe Gold
  • 1 tsp Wray & Nephew Over Proof Rum
  • 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 oz fresh orange juice
  • 1 1/2 oz Passionfruit Pulp
  • 1/2 tsp Grenadine
  • 1 tbsp Velvet Falernum
  • dash orange bitters

Instructions

    1. Add all ingredients except the orange bitters to a Boston shaker, add ice and shake.
    2. Strain into glass filled with crushed ice. Add a few dashes of bitters then embellish.

Notes

Jamaican Zombie Variation:

  • 1 oz El Dorado Demerara Rum
  • 1 oz Appleton Estates Signature Single Estate Rum
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • 1/2 tsp Okanagan Sprits Absinthe Gold 
  • 1 tsp Wray & Nephew Over Proof Rum
  • 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 oz fresh orange juice
  • 1 1/2 oz Agua de Jamaica
  • 1 tsp grenadine
  • 1 tbsp Velvet Falernum 
  • dash Hibiscus Bitters

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

1

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving:Calories: 491Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 27mgSodium: 36mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 0gSugar: 11gProtein: 7g

Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.

Did you make this recipe?

Share your dish pic on Instagram or Facebook and tag @dishnthekitchen (or #dishnthekitchen) in your post or story! Rate this recipe and leave a review to share your experience with others!

20 comments

  1. Colleen

    What a spooktacular cocktail! And a fun story to go with it. Also, I love your adorable pumpkin garnish. Happy Halloween!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Thank you Colleen! Judging was yesterday and there’s a big announcement coming soon…

      Reply

  2. Eva

    What a great story, I always enjoy recipe posts that can give some background information about the recipe itself or its ingredients. Now I’m dying to taste this Zombie cocktail!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I LOVE researching stuff like this, such a nerd!

      Reply

  3. Candice

    This is such a great cocktail! I had to make it because you made it look so pretty… and the passionfruit with orange liquor was a match made in heaven. Great recipe, and perfect for Halloween!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Cheers! Glad you enjoyed it Candice.

      Reply

  4. Valerie Skinner

    It’s great to see a cocktail with passionfruit in it. It sounds very refreshing and I can’t wait to make it tomorrow for the adults on Halloween.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I love those tropical flavours! Happy Halloween!

      Reply

  5. Heidy Linn

    This recipe for Spooktacular Halloween Zombie Cocktails was O-U-T-S-T-A-N-D-I-N-G we made them the other night and had a blast playing cards and talking about how we should pretend it’s Halloween more often just so we can enjoy these Spooktacular Halloween Zombie Cocktails several times during the year!!!! Loved them!!!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      haha now that sounds like a fun night! Just FYI I’m of the opinion that the Jamaican Zombie would be an excellent Christmas cocktail as well!

      Reply

  6. Jenny

    I actually made the Jamaican Zombie Variation yesterday for Halloween night -it was just my husband and they did not disappoint! We loved the cocktail, we actually had two each! It was so much fun to make and taste delicious. I think we will be making them again for other occasions, they are terrific!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      TWO?!! Haha…did you become Zombies? That is the running joke as the original Zombie creator would only serve two per customer in one visit.

      Reply

  7. Andrea Howe

    This sounds so yummy and boozy ! I can’t wait to make it for next Halloween, when things are a bit more normal 😉

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Oh, it definitely is boozy! Since we created this for a competition, rules were for only 3 oz alcohol. Truthfully when we make them at home, they have a bit more!

      Reply

  8. Jo

    That is one super cool spooky presentation of the cocktail. So fun and so apt for Halloween. Love it.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      It was so much fun to create and style!

      Reply

  9. Veronika Sykorova

    I made this on Halloween and it was perfect! So good!

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      Glad to hear you enjoyed Veronika!

      Reply

  10. Sam

    What a spooky and refreshing cocktail! Love the tropical flavours and the background story on it. Love learning new things.

    Reply

    1. Bernice Hill

      I love learning new things too…it’s something I’m really trying to focus on with this blog now.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.