The Zombia Apocalypse Cocktail Recipe

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.

Recipe adapted from Martin Cate, Smuggler's Cove, San Francisco

The Zombie Apocalypse
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Make this Zombie Apocalypse cocktail from Martin Cate at Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco.
Prep Time
Cook Time
Total time: 10 hours, 30 minutes
  • 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
  • Cocktail
  • 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.
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