Q.B. Cooler

Q.B. Cooler – Classic 1934 Don the Beachcomber Tiki Cocktail Recipe

Don the Beachcombers Forgotten Recipes

Immediately after prohibition had been repealed by the 21st amendment Donn Beach opened Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood California. Donn single handedly created the first Tiki bar and with it tiki culture. but like most innovators Donn was worried about others coping his Hollywood style Polynesian themed bar and profiting off his ideas. Donn would show up a few hours before the bar opened and mix large batches of his spice mixes and mixers, and give them non descriptive labels like Donn’s spice mix #1, #2, #3, or Donn’s Zombie Mix, Grog Mix, Gardenia mix. This was all done to hide the recipes. Donn never told the other bartenders, or published a recipe, and while he did open other bars his recipes never got out. Thus Donn’s original recipes died with him in 1989. So keep that in mind anytime you see a Don the Beachcomber cocktail that it is never an original recipe but another bartender best guess as to what it was. And some guesses are better than others. For a little over a decade Tiki was kinda a lawless free for all with no continuity between drinks of the same name. There is still a lot of that today. How many Mai Tai recipes have you seen even though we know the original canon recipe for it?

In the late 90s a Tiki cocktail enthusiast named Jeff Berry came along with the intent of preserving the old recipes and Tiki culture and helped revitalize the publics interest in it. Jeff interviewed old bartenders of Donn the Beachcombers and set out to recreate Donn secret recipes to the best of knowledge. Gathering whatever information he could and testing recipes against people who remembered what the old drinks tasted like, he is credited with having saved recipes that would otherwise be lost to time. Keep in mind though that these are not Donn’s original recipe but Jeff’s best attempts at recreating them and that Jeff Beachbum Berry is probably the closest one to getting it right.

What Does Q.B Mean

If you are former Air Force you probably already know the answer to this but the Q.B. in the Q.B. Cooler stands for Quite Birdmen. Donn Beach served in the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) from 1942 – 1945. The Quite Birdmen is an invite only club of former military aviators that formed at the end of WWI in France. Originally a drinking club named The American Flying Club they eventually earned the name Quite Birdmen as a joke since they were often very loud and drunk. As former Lieutenant Colonel of the Army Air Forces if seems fitting to name a drink after the Air Forces drinking club. (Originally arial warfare was apart of the Army as the Army Air Corps till 1941, then Army Air Forces in 1942, It wouldn’t become a separate branch till 1947 when the US Air Force was formed)

Inspiration for the Mai Tai

There is a common story that Victor Bergeron (Trader Vic) was inspired by Donn Beach’s Q.B. Cooler and in an attempt to imitate it made the Mai Tai. But I don’t really buy that. 1). The Mai Tai and Q.B. Cooler are almost completely different drinks. It doesn’t help that there are countless recipes of the two but the more or less agreed upon canon recipes are very different. If Victor Bergeron was trying to copy the Q.B. Cooler than he completely missed the mark. 2). Victor Bergeron did not hide when he was inspired by Donn Beach. He was very open that he started tiki because he loved what Donn had invented. Also he sited the cocktails he did try and mimic from Donn as cocktails inspired by and originally from Don the Beachcomber. Why would he suddenly act differently with this one drink? 3). From what I gather this story was started by a bartender of Donn’s and not Donn himself. Donn did not hide his frustration with others trying to copy his work and it was not the Mai Tai trying to copy his Q.B Cooler that he took issue with but Victor Bergeron’s Mai Tai trying to copy his own Mai Tai recipe that pissed him off. Which leads to my final point. 4). Victor Bergeron and Donn Beach actually went to court to argue who’s Mai Tai was the original. Victor sold a pre-made “Original” Mai Tai mixer and in the 1970s when Donn Beach began selling a pre-made “Original” Mai Tai mixer too the two went to court to argues who was actually the original. Victor Bergeron won and Donn removed “Original” from the label. I personally believe if Victor Bergeron tried to copy the Q.B. Cooler he would have just made drink called the Q.B Cooler and credit Donn Beach with having invented it.

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Q.B. Cooler – Classic 1934 Don the Beachcomber Tiki Cocktail Recipe

0 from 0 votes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

256

kcal
ABV

27%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make an Q.B. Cooler

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Lime Juice

  • 1/2 oz Orange Juice

  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • 2 dashes Absinthe

  • 1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup

  • 2 oz Black Rum

  • 1 oz White Rum

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients into a shaker, and add a scoop of shaved ice. If you do not have shaved ice then crushed ice will do.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Pour the whole shaker into the serving glass. Ice and all

Notes

Fogcutter

Fog Cutter – Classic Victor Bergeron Tiki Cocktail Recipe

Fog Cutter Taste & History

This is defiantly more on the tart side of tiki drinks and is closer in taste to a sour than most juice filled tiki cocktails. Think of this as kind of a nutty tiki version of a rum sour. Its an wonderful cocktail that is more to the taste of someone who like sours than someone who likes Dark & Stormies or mules.

Nothing too interesting on the history of this cocktail. It was invented by Victor Bergeron for Trader Vic’s and was one of his most popular cocktails second to the Mai Tai. Trader Vic’s Bartending Guide says that after 2 of these you won’t even see straight anymore, but I have had 2 or 3 of them and I was alright. There are countless variations on this guy (that’s true for almost all tiki drinks), but this here is the tried and true recipe from Trader Vic’s book itself.

Floating Sherry On Top

The last ingredient in this cocktail is to do a sherry float on top. Here is the thing though, sherry is very dense and thus can not float. Floating alcohols on top of each other is based on weight. Sugar is heavier than water, water is heavier than alcohol, and the heaviest ingredient will always sit at the bottom. The sherry is way more sugary than the drink therefore it will want to drop to the bottom. This works out to have a cool effect and makes it look as if the sherry is cutting through the drink. If you want a cool dark float that will sit at the top try using 151, as it is has less sugar than the rest of the drink and is much more alcoholic, so it will stay on top.

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Fog Cutter – Classic Victor Bergeron Tiki Cocktail Recipe

0 from 0 votes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

344

kcal
ABV

19%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the Fog Cutter.

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Lemon Juice

  • 1 oz Orange Juice

  • 1/2 oz Orgeat

  • 1/2 oz Dry Gin

  • 2 oz White Rum

  • 1 oz Brandy

  • 1 oz Sherry

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients except the sherry into a shaker, and add a scoop of shaved ice. If you do not have shaved ice then crushed ice will do.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Pour the whole shaker into the serving glass. Ice and all
  • Top with a float of sherry.

Notes

Scorpion

Scorpion Cocktail – Trader Vic’s 1972 Single Serve Scorpion Recipe

Scorpion Cocktail History

The original scorpion was not a bowl or an individual cocktail but a punch from Victor Bergeron’s First book from 1947, and was a punch made for 12. The original scorpion recipe was 1.5 bottles of rum, 2 oz gin, 2 oz brandy, 1 pint of lemon juice, 1/2 a pint of orange juice, 1/2 a pint worth of orgeat, 1/2 a bottle or white wine and 2 sprigs of mint. Those are some odd proportions if you ask me, like Trader vic added the gin and mint as a joke. That original scorpion punch is also in the 1972 edition, but the updated edition included his more popular versions of the scorpion.

Trader vic heavily modified the recipe over the years and in his 1972 edition added the scorpion bowl and a single scorpion cocktail. The recipe here is the single serve version and in my opinion the best version of the drink. But I will say those flaming scorpion bowls are a ton of fun. Oddly enough the scorpion bowl which is made to serve 3 is not just 3x the ingredients of the single serve one. The ingredients are the same but the volumes are different.

Scorpion Taste

The scorpion was Trader Vic’s third most popular cocktail and while I think this is the best version of the drink it’s not a top tier tiki cocktail in my book. It’s just kinda juice and booze. Again that is a personal opinion and taste is subjective. Its good but not outstanding. When I think tiki I envision juice, booze and spice, but this cocktail lacks spice. The Orgeat adds a nice nuttiness to the drink but the white rum and orange juice and lemon juice are the most prominent flavors. And if its going to be heavy on the juice then let it be exotic juices like pomegranate, passion fruit, pineapple, papaya, etc, not just orange and lemon. This is a tiki drink I would have loved when I first started drinking tiki drinks, but a decade and half in this comes off bland to me.

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Scorpion Cocktail – Original Trader Vic’s Tiki Cocktail Recipe

0 from 0 votes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

296

kcal
ABV

17%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the Scorpion.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz Lemon Juice

  • 2 oz Orange Juice

  • 1/2 oz Orgeat

  • 1 oz Brandy

  • 2 oz White Rum

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients into a blender with a single scoop of ice cubes.
  • Blend on low for 10 seconds or till the ice is mostly pulverized.
  • Now blend on high for 5-10 seconds to completely crush the ice and turn the drink into a slushy texture.
  • Pour into serving glass.

Notes

Pi Yi

Pi Yi Cocktail – Vintage Donn Beach Tiki Cocktail

PI YI Taste And Recipe

This is an amazing spiced tropical juice flavored cocktail. Its actually one of my favorite tiki drinks and in my opinion is much better than many of the more popular tiki cocktails. The honey and juice perfectly match the strength of the rum and the spice of the bitters. Not much to say other than this is a must try and one you will most likely make again.

Making a PI YI With a Fresh Pineapple

The original way to prepare this was to scoop out a small pineapple and use the inside, blend it, and use the juice of it in the drink. Once the drink was shaken and done it is poured back into the hallowed out pineapple. To keep with tradition I cut a pineapple and used a small bit of blended fruit as the juice for this drink and it turned out really good. I did not pour it back in since I want the drink to be visible in a glass. Also I ended up eating most of the pineapple on its own, and a hallowing out a pineapple would give me way more than 1 oz of juice. My assumption is all the extra fruit and juice from the fresh pineapple was used in other drinks too at Don The Beachcombers.

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Pi Yi Cocktail – Vintage Donn Beach Tiki Cocktail

0 from 0 votes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

181

kcal
ABV

17%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the Pi Yi.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Lime Juice

  • 1 oz Pineapple Juice

  • 1/2 oz Passion Fruit Syrup

  • 1 tsp Honey Syrup

  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • 1 oz White Rum

  • 2/3 oz Gold Rum

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients into a shaker and add a scoop of shaved ice. If you do not have shaved ice then crushed ice will do.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Pour the whole shaker into the serving glass. Ice and all.

Notes

Blue Hawaiian

Blue Hawaiian – Classic Blue Pina Colada

What Does the Blue Hawaiian Taste Like

If you have ever had a Pina Colada then you know exactly what a Blue Hawaiian taste like. Only difference being the 1/2 oz of blue orange liqueur that gives it it’s beautiful color but doesn’t change the flavor much. The Blue Hawaiian has a nice balance of coconut and pineapple flavor with a subtle sweet orange note. It’s not quite as clean flavored as a normal Pina Colada but its much more fun.

Mixing Options for the Blue Hawaiian

You have 2 options for mixing a Blue Hawaiian. 1). Blend it with ice and make a slushy of it. 2). Shake it and pour it over crushed or shaved ice. Both ways are great and it just depends on how you prefer to consume the drink. Although blended most likely is the more traditional way to make this cocktail, the shaken one is my preferred way.

Blue Hawaiian Vs. Blue Hawaii

While similar in name the Blue Hawaiian and Blue Hawaii are very different cocktails. The Blue Hawaiian is more of a blue Pina Colada and the Blue Hawaii is more of a blue pineapple juice cocktail. The common Blue Hawaii recipe used today was invented by Harry Yee in the 1950s. The creator of the Blue Hawaiian is largely uncredited and unknown. Some credit Donn Beach with having created the Blue Hawaiian but I looked at 1940s 50s and 60s versions of his menus and I didn’t see it anywhere. Those who credit him with it don’t seem too confident he made it either so I would bet more so on the side that he did not invent it.

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Blue Hawaiian – Classic Blue Pina Colada

0 from 0 votes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

383

kcal
ABV

14%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a Blue Hawaiian.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Lime Juice

  • 2 oz Pineapple Juice

  • 2 oz Coconut Milk

  • 2/3 oz Blue Orange Liqueur

  • 2 oz White Rum

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients into a blender with a single scoop of ice cubes.
  • Blend on low for 10 seconds or till the ice is mostly pulverized.
  • Now blend on high for 5-10 seconds to completely crush the ice and turn the drink into a slushy texture.
  • Pour into serving glass.

Notes

Bahama Mama

Bahama Mama – Oswald Greenslade’s Caribbean Cocktail Recipe

The History Of The Bahama Mama

The Bahama Mama is not just a cocktail that gets you thrown out of an Applebees for disorderly conduct. It’s actually a unique and tasty Caribbean cocktail. The only person who claims to have invented the Bahama Mama was Caribbean bartender Oswald Greenslade in his 2012 Cocktail book “One More Cocktail: A Guide to Making Bahamian Cocktails” Oswald Greenslade’s website says didn’t start his bartending career until 1961 but the Bahama Mama was already a known drink by the 1950s. So chances are he didn’t actually invent it, but this may still be the closest we have to an early 1950s Caribbean recipe.

Bahama Mama Variations

There are as many Bahama Mama variations as there are Bahama Mamas. there are some that look like tequila sunrises, some that are grapefruit based, orange based, passion fruit, etc and they come in all colors. There is nothing to say this is the definitive recipe but Oswald Greenslade is the only one I can find who lays claim to having the authentic recipe/ inventing it. Most likely thought there is no singular authentic recipe and there maybe never was.

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Bahama Mama – Oswald Greenslade’s Caribbean Cocktail Recipe

0 from 0 votes
Course: DrinksCuisine: Caribbean
Servings

1

servings
Calories

278

kcal
ABV

12%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a Bahama Mama.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Lemon Juice

  • 4 oz Pineapple Juice

  • 1/3 oz Coffee Liqueur

  • 1/2 oz Coconut Liqueur

  • 1/2 oz 151

  • 1 oz Black Rum

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in the shaker and add ice to the shaker.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Strain into glass filled with ice.

Notes

Pearl Diver

Pearl Diver – Classic Don the Beachcomber Cocktail Recipe

How Does a Pearl Diver Taste

The Pearl Diver is a very unique cocktail. Even in the tiki world its inclusion of Creamed spiced honey butter is unique. What the Gardenia mix adds is a creamy texture and hot buttered rum flavor to a tropical drink. Pretty consistently I have found that people who don’t like hot buttered rum also don’t like this. I have also noticed that people who do like hot buttered rum also like this. It taste kinda taste like a citrus-y cold buttered rum and I absolutely love it.

Don the Beachcomber’s Forgotten Recipes

Immediately after prohibition had been repealed by the 21st amendment Donn Beach opened Don the Beachcomber in Hollywood California. Donn single handedly created the first Tiki bar and with it tiki culture. but like most innovators Donn was worried about others coping his Hollywood style Polynesian themed bar and profiting off his ideas. Donn would show up a few hours before the bar opened and mix large batches of his spice mixes and mixers, and give them non descriptive labels like Donn’s spice mix #1, #2, #3, or Donn’s Zombie Mix, Grog Mix, Gardenia mix. This was all done to hide the recipes. Donn never told the other bartenders, or published a recipe, and while he did open other bars his recipes never got out. Thus Donn’s original recipes died with him in 1989. So keep that in mind anytime you see a Don the Beachcomber cocktail that it is never an original recipe but another bartender best guess as to what it was. And some guesses are better than others. For a little over a decade Tiki was kinda a lawless free for all with no continuity between drinks of the same name. There is still a lot of that today. How many Mai Tai recipes have you seen even though we know the original canon recipe for it?

In the late 90s a Tiki cocktail enthusiast named Jeff Berry came along with the intent of preserving the old recipes and Tiki culture and helped revitalize the publics interest in it. Jeff interviewed old bartenders of Donn the Beachcombers and set out to recreate Donn secret recipes to the best of knowledge. Gathering whatever information he could and testing recipes against people who remembered what the old drinks tasted like, he is credited with having saved recipes that would otherwise be lost to time. Keep in mind though that these are not Donn’s original recipe but Jeff’s best attempts at recreating them and that Jeff Beachbum Berry is probably the closest one to getting it right. Check out Jeff Beachbum Berry’s post here on the Pearl Diver

What is Gardenia Mix and How to Make It

The secret Gardenia mix recipe Jeff Berry eventually settled on was: 1 oz Honey, 1 oz unsalted butter, 1/2 tsp Vanilla Syrup, 1 tsp Cinnamon Syrup, 1/2 tsp Allspice Dram. The stuff taste and smells amazing. I feel it would be amazing in winter holiday cocktails. Thrillist has a good article on Gardenia Mix Here.

The Most Important Part Of This Cocktail

The most important part of the pearl diver is how you mix it. Butter is mostly milk fat and protein and it does not stay emulsified in water. So you have two options. 1). Use a blender and turn it into a slushy. 2). Use an emulsifier like gum syrup or something to evenly mix the gardenia mix while you are making it and it is still warm . If you don’t blend it or use an emulsifier then the butter oddly sits at the top and it looks pretty gross.

The first option of using a blender is the more common one. There will still be very small particles of butter but the speed of a blender helps to evenly mix them and the slushy ice prevents them from forming together. If slushies are not your style then try option #2.

The second option is to use an emulsifier while you are making the gardenia mix and it is still warm. That way you’re not fighting the fat when the cocktail is cold. I’m not the most versed in that method but there are guides online that talk about how to do it that way.

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Pearl Diver – Classic Don the Beachcomber Cocktail Recipe

5 from 1 vote
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

456

kcal
ABV

19%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make the Pearl Diver.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Lime Juice

  • 1 oz Orange Juice

  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup

  • 1 oz Gardenia Mix

  • 1/3 oz Falernum

  • 1.5 oz Gold Rum

  • 1 oz Anejo Rum

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients into a blender with a single scoop of ice cubes.
  • Blend on low for 10 seconds or till the ice is mostly pulverized.
  • Now blend on high for 5-10 seconds to completely crush the ice and turn the drink into a slushy texture.
  • Pour into serving glass. Garnish with an orchid flower.

Recipe Video

Notes

Coco Loco

Coco Loco Cocktail – Outstanding Colombian Coconut Drink

About The Coco Loco

The Coco Loco is a popular beach and street stand cocktail in Colombian that has spread to other parts of the Caribbean. Now I’ve never been to Colombia and couldn’t find any old recipe books mentioning it so everything I have learned about it I got from the all mighty Google. Granted it does seem to be a pretty popular beach goer and tourist drink with each selling using a different recipe. I couldn’t find anything canon on the coco loco and like so many Caribbean cocktails it seem to be comfortably living as a quite local drink with countless variations. The coco loco is often made right on the beach in front of the customer. The vendor cuts the top off a coconut, add the ingredients in with the coconut water, gives the coconut a couple shakes and put a straw in the hole. Although even with all the variety every recipe I tested includes coconut cream, coconut water, lime juice, simple syrup, vodka, white rum, and silver tequila. So basically I just stuck to the average of most recipes I found. I do question how old it is and can’t see it being older than the 1950s, at the most. The inclusion of vodka is odd since vodka didn’t really leave Russia in large volumes till the bolshevik revolution in 1917. Furthermore vodka didn’t become a popular cocktail spirit till the 1940s with the invention of the Moscow Mule in LA. If the Coco Loco is older than that then I imagine vodka was a later addition to boost the ABV for suit american taste.

Variations of the Coco Loco

From what I read there seem to be as many recipes for the coco loco as there are people making it. Its a cheap and easy to make cocktail that tourist can be suckered into paying a high price for. In fact most of the major Caribbean cruise ships have their own recipe for it too. The recipe provided here is the sum of all the recipes I could find for it in English and Spanish averaged out. Think of this as a default recipe, but if you want to add something that improves it or make it unique then go for it.

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Coco Loco Cocktail – Outstanding Colombian Coconut Drink

0 from 0 votes
Course: DrinksCuisine: Colombian
Servings

1

servings
Calories

356

kcal
ABV

9%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a Coco Loco.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Lime Juice

  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup

  • 2 oz Coconut Milk

  • 2 oz Coconut Water

  • 1/2 oz Vodka

  • 1/2 oz Silver Tequila

  • 1/2 oz White Rum

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in the shaker and add ice to the shaker.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Strain into glass filled with ice.

Notes

Blue Hawaii

Blue Hawaii – Original 1957 Harry Yee Cocktail Recipe

The History of the Blue Hawaii

Invented by Harry Yee in 1957, the Blue Hawaii is a classic Hawaiian cocktail and one of the few tiki style cocktails to actually come from a Polynesian island. Harry Yee came up with the blue Hawaii while working at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Beach Resort in Waikiki after Bol’s approached the bartenders there and asked them to come up with a recipe that used their blue orange liqueur. After a few experiments Harry came up with this recipe called his creation the Blue Hawaii. Predating the iconic Elvis Presley movie by 4 years it is unknown if this cocktail inspired the title for the movie Blue Hawaii, but the drink did come first. As a side not I love the movie Blue Hawaii. I am a heterosexual male, but even I need to change my underwear whenever I hear Elvis sing “Can’t help falling in love”. It should be required viewing before traveling there for vacation. The movie was originally titled “Hawaiian Beach Boy” so perhaps while filming the director found the local blue Hawaii cocktail’s name to be a better fit.

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Blue Hawaii – Original 1957 Harry Yee Cocktail Recipe

0 from 0 votes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

163

kcal
ABV

13%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a Blue Hawaii.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice

  • 1/2 oz Blue Orange Liqueur

  • 3 oz Pineapple Juice

  • 2/3 oz Vodka

  • 2/3 oz White Rum

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in the shaker and add ice to the shaker.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Strain into glass filled with ice.

Notes

Zombie

Zombie Cocktail – Classic Don The Beachcomber Tiki Cocktail

The Zombie Cocktail History

On the menu it seems from day one, or at least very soon after, the Zombie is one of Donn Beaches most famous tiki cocktails. The Zombie was said to be so strong that it would put someone into a blackout drunk automaton state. The Zombie proved to be so famous it was probably one of Donns most copied cocktails. Even though Donn tried to keep the recipe a secret, even from his own bartenders, Zombies started popping up at other tiki bars all over the USA. The Aku Aku at the Sahara Casino in Las Vegas, La Mariana Sailing Club in Honolulu, The Tonga Room in San Francisco, Even Trader Vic’s had a Zombie on the menu (but he did credit Donn for inventing it). The Zombie gained the slogan of being often imitated but never duplicated. As with all Donn Beach cocktails there is no definitive recipe because he never published them and kept them secret from everyone, even the staff. You couldn’t do anything like that today with allergies and such. You don’t want to be known as the bar that withheld information that ended up killing somebody. Donn is also believed to have changed the Zombie recipe several times to improve it and stay ahead of competition.

I also find it very cool that he went with this name as Night of the Living Dead didn’t debut till 1968, starting the american zombie craze. Zombies are also traditionally Haitian folklore, and not Polynesian. Which really goes to show that Tiki was a mish-mash of exotic island Hollywood imagery and not something born of actually Polynesian tradition.

From just looking at the Don the Beachcomber menus there is nothing exciting. It just has the zombie listed as a cocktail with a little voodoo man next to it on some versions. If you wish to google it yourself and check it out the major menu years you can find online are 1934, 1941, 1954, and there is a separate 1960s drink menu.

Zombie Cocktail Taste

This drink will knock you on your ass. It goes down like a tropical Long Island Ice Tea, and I won’t lie, I had just one of these (the one in the picture) and I had a hard time walking straight. In 1934 Don the Beachcomber sold these for $2.00 and had a limit of 2, and even that seems a bit generous. This cocktail is really good, and very successful at having just enough juice and sweetener to not make the volume of booze overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, its still very alcohol forward and you for sure feel it, but it toes the line that even a non-old fashion drinker would like it. Something the Long Island does not do.

Zombie Cocktail Variations

There are as many variations of the zombie as there are bartenders, and that’s fine considering there is no definitive known recipe. The recipe I have provided here is the Jeff “Beachbum” Berry recipe as it is considered the most accurate and probably the closest to one of Donn Beach’s Zombies. Again Donn was thought to have changed the recipe several times in his life so this maybe an amalgamation of several versions.

The Most Important Ingredient

The Most important ingredient in the Zombie is actually the 151. Surprising right? It’s only a half ounce float on top but the 151 you use will make or break this cocktail. I personally like Lemon Hart’s 151. It’s the original and surprisingly flavorful for being such a high proof. Donn Beach was said to hunt for this particular brand because it was just that good, and I will agree with that. Other lighter 151s add booze (something this cocktail doesn’t need more of) but the Lemon Hart ads booze and flavor. If you can’t find this particular brand I would try using a navy strength (57% ABV) rum that is a bit darker in color instead. For an excellent article on 151 and its history check out this link to The Lone Canner. The Lone Canner also has a great article on the proof system, its history and technical details here

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Zombie Cocktail – Classic Don The Beachcomber Tiki Cocktail

0 from 0 votes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

414

kcal
ABV

27%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a Zombie.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Lime Juice

  • 2/3 oz Pineapple Juice

  • 2/3 oz Papaya Juice

  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup

  • 1/2 oz Apple Brandy

  • 1 oz Black Rum

  • 2 oz Gold Rum

  • 1 oz White Rum

  • 1/2 oz 151

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients into a shaker except the 151.
  • Add a scoop of shaved ice. If you do not have shaved ice then crushed ice will do.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Pour the whole shaker into the serving glass. Ice and all.
  • Top Cocktail off with a float of 151.

Notes