The Zombie Three Ways
  • photo-ph-meet
    Martin Cate
    Smuggler's Cove

    Martin Cate is a San Francisco-based rum and exotic cocktail expert, and the owner of Smuggler's Cove--a bar designed to celebrate the incredible diversity and versatility of the world's most exciting spirit: rum. Named by the San Francisco Chronicle as one of six Bay Area bartenders "essential in defining cocktail culture here and across the country," Martin is a tasting judge for rum competitions across the U.S., Europe and the Caribbean.

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Classic 1934 Zombie by Don the Beachcomber

As the title would suggest, this is the original Zombie recipe, developed by Don the Beachcomber in Southern California.


YIELD 1 cocktail


  • 6 ounces crushed ice, plus extra to fill glass
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice
  • ½ ounce fresh grapefruit juice
  • ¼ ounce cinnamon syrup
  • ½ ounce falernum
  • 1½ ounces Puerto Rican gold rum
  • 1½ ounces aged Jamaican rum
  • 1 ounce Lemon Hart 151 Demerara Rum
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine
  • Dash Angostura bitters
  • 6 drops Pernod or Herbsaint
  • Mint sprig


In a blender jar, add crushed ice, the lime juice, grapefruit juice, cinnamon syrup, falernum, Puerto Rican rum, Jamaican rum, Demerara, grenadine, bitters and Pernod. Blend until slushy, about 2 to 3 seconds. Pour the contents into a zombie glass or pint glass and add more crushed ice to fill. Finish with the mint sprig.

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The Undead Gentleman

This version of the Zombie is slightly more subdued: It uses only two types of rum and is shaken and served up, rather than over crushed ice.

SKILL LEVEL Intermediate

YIELD 1 cocktail


  • Absinthe blanc
  • Ice
  • ½ ounce fresh lime juice
  • ½ ounce fresh grapefruit juice
  • ½ ounce falernum
  • ½ ounce cinnamon syrup
  • 1 ounce Lemon Hart 151 Demerara Rum
  • 1 ½ ounces aged Jamaican rum
  • Dash Angostura bitters
  • Lime twist
  • Grapefruit twist


Rinse a cocktail glass with a few drops of absinthe blanc, then chill the glass. In a cocktail shaker, add the ice, lime juice, grapefruit juice, falernum, cinnamon syrup, Demerara, Jamaican rum and bitters. Cover, shake well, then fine-strain; use a cocktail strainer to cover the shaker, then pour the cocktail through a tea strainer and into the chilled, absinthe-rinsed cocktail glass. Twist the lime and grapefruit twists together and drop into the cocktail before serving.

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The Zombie Apocalypse

Here is a cocktail that is not for the faint of head: Martin Cate fat-washes his rum with calves’ brains, then uses the sautéed brain pieces in a ghoulish, grenadine-soaked garnish.


YIELD 1 cocktail


Brainwashed rum

  • 1½ pounds fresh calf brains, sliced into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ½ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 ounces Lemon Hart 151 Demerara Rum


  • 6 ounces crushed ice
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • ½ ounce cinnamon syrup
  • ½ ounce falernum
  • ½ ounce Curaçao
  • 1½ ounces Rhum Barbancourt Five Star
  • ½ ounce brainwashed rum
  • 1 scant barspoon crème de violette
  • Dash Elemakule Tiki Cocktail Bitters
  • 1 teaspoon grenadine


1. Make the brainwashed rum: In a small bowl, place the brains, thyme, cloves, cayenne, cinnamon and salt and toss to coat.

2. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Add one piece of the brains and brown on all sides until cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer the browned brain nugget to a paper-towel-lined plate. Once cool, cover with plastic and refrigerate until ready to use.

3. Transfer the drippings from the skillet to a glass jar. Add the Demerara, cover, and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours. Transfer the container to the freezer and chill for 2 hours longer.

4. Remove the jar from the freezer and skim off the frozen fat from the surface. Strain the liquid through a coffee-filter-lined fine-mesh strainer and refrigerate until ready to use.

5. Make the cocktail: In a blender jar, add the ice, lime juice, cinnamon syrup, falernum, Curaçao, Rhum Barbancourt, ½ ounce brainwashed rum, crème de violette and the bitters and pulse until slushy, 2 to 3 seconds. Pour the contents into a zombie glass or pint glass and add enough ice to fill the glass to ½ inch from the top.

6. Remove the browned brain from the refrigerator and pierce with a small wood skewer. Lay the skewer across the top of the drink. Drizzle the grenadine over the brain and into the drink. Serve with trepidation.