Navy Grog – Donn Beach’s Classic Iconic Tiki Cocktail

Navy Grog Donn Beach
Navy Grog Donn Beach

Donn Beach Navy Grog Recipe Vs Victor Bergeron’s Recipe.

Donn Beach and Victor Bergeron’s Navy Grog recipes are similar and practically the same drink. The only difference between the two recipes is that Donn Beach uses honey instead of allspice dram and has an ounce of soda water added. The Biggest difference is the ice. Donn Beach’s recipe calls for a shaved ice cone around the straw. Victor Bergeron’s recipe call for shaking the cocktail with shaved or crushed ice and then pouring the entire contents of the shaker, ice and all, into the glass.

Shaken With Shaved Ice Vs Ice Cone.

While both cocktails are shaken with ice, the Trader Vic version does a dirty pour and includes the ice, while the Donn Beach version strains out the shaken ice and uses an ice cone in the glass. Keep in mind the ice cone is only used in Donn Beach’s navy grog cocktail. No other cocktail uses it, so I wouldn’t spend any money on a dedicated ice cone maker. The navy grog wasn’t the only tiki cocktail to use ice uniquely. Fun decorative ice was regularly used in the classic tiki scene—ice cones, ice caves, dirty pours, ice frill, etc. I think the trader Vic dirty pour is more practical and makes more sense, but the ice cone does have a following.

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Navy Grog – Donn Beach Recipe

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

296

kcal
ABV

21%

Total time

3

minutes

Make A Classic Navy Grog Cocktail

Ingredients

  • 3/4 oz Lime Juice

  • 3/4 oz Grapefruit Juice

  • 3/4 oz Honey Syrup

  • 1 oz White Rum

  • 1 oz Black Rum

  • 1 oz Aged Rum

  • 1 oz Soda Water

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients into a shaker with ice.
  • Vigorously shake till the shaker is ice cold and frosted.
  • Strain into a lowball glass with a decorative ice cone and straw.

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Mr. Bali Hai | Make The Classic San Diego Tiki Cocktail

Mr Bali Hai
Mr Bali Hai

The History Of The Mr. Bali Hai Cocktail.

If you go to the Bali Hai restaurant today and order a Mr. Bali Hai, you will not get this drink. The recipe has been changed over time, and this recipe is from the 2002 book “Intoxica” by Jeff Beachbum Berry. Tiki cocktails are not like old classic cocktails that every bar makes; many tiki recipes tend to be unique to each bar and get changed over time to adjust to the evolving trends and differentiate from competitors. The current Mr. Bali Hai is made with blackberry liqueur, whereas this one is made with coffee liqueur. Jeff Beachbum Berry cites this as the version he got during the 1980s when he first visited the restaurant, but he dates this recipe back to the 1970s. Mr. Bali Hai also comes with a super cool mug that can only be bought at that bar. The face looks like the giant wooden head hunter statue outside the entrance.

History Of The Bali Hai Restaurant.

The Bali Hai is a Tahitian-themed restaurant on Shelter Island in San Diego, CA. The Bali Hai on Shelter Island started as one of a tiki-themed bar chain locations called Christian’s Hut. Christian’s Hut opened in 1935 and was originally the makeshift bar under Clark Gable’s room. While filming the 1935 film “Mutiny on the Bounty,” Clark Gable played the character Fletcher Christian and the building (Bedroom above makeshift party bar below) became known as Christian’s Hut. After filming ended, the crew had the foresight to keep the building, move it to Newport Beach, and open a Tahitian-themed restaurant. I’m not sure how much of this was inspired by Don The Beachcomber, which opened in 1934 in Los Angeles, but part of the movie does take place in Tahiti, so that the Polynesian theme may have come from there. It could have been a bit of both. The restaurant and bar did well and eventually opened several other locations. One of those other locations was on Shelter Island in San Diego.

By the early 1950s, Christian Hut on Shelter Island started to fall on hard times. A new owner named Tom Ham stepped in, renamed the restaurant the Bali Hai, which in Indonesian means “Your own special island,” and was able to turn the restaurant around. The bar and restaurant are still open and worth visiting if you want to see one of the original and few surviving Polynesian-themed restaurants.

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Mr. Bali Hai

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: American
Servings

1

servings
Calories

312

kcal
ABV

18%

Total time

3

minutes

Make The Classic Mr. Bali Hai

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Lemon Juice

  • 1.5 oz Pineapple Juice

  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup

  • 2/3 oz Coffee Liqueur

  • 1 oz White Rum

  • 1.5 oz Black 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

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Q.B. Cooler – Make The Classic 1934 Donn Beach Recipe

Q.B. Cooler
Q.B. Cooler

What Does Q.B Mean?

If you are a former Air Force, you probably already know the answer to this, but the Q.B. in the Q.B. Cooler stands for Quiet Birdmen. Donn Beach served in the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) from 1942 to 1945. The Quite Birdmen is an invite-only club of former military aviators 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 loud and drunk. As a former Lieutenant Colonel of the Army Air Forces, it seems fitting to name a drink after the Air Forces drinking club. (Originally, aerial warfare was a part 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)

Did The Q.B Cooler Inspire the Mai Tai?

There is a typical story that Donn Beach’s Q.B. Cooler inspired Victor Bergeron (Trader Vic) and made the Mai Tai in an attempt to imitate it. But I don’t buy that. 1). The Mai Tai and Q.B. Cooler are almost entirely different drinks. It doesn’t help that there are countless recipes for the two, but the more or less agreed-upon canon recipes are very different from each other. If Victor Bergeron was trying to copy the Q.B. Cooler, he completely missed the mark. 2). Victor Bergeron did not hide when Donn Beach inspired him. He was public about how Don the Beachcomber inspired him to open a tiki bar. Also, he cited 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). 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 he did not sue Victor Bergeron for copying his Q.B Cooler. Victor sued him. This leads to my final point. 4). Victor Bergeron and Donn Beach 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, Donn Beach began selling a pre-made “Original” Mai Tai mixer. The two went to court to argue who invented the original. Victor Bergeron won, and Donn removed “Original” from the label. I believe if Victor Bergeron tried to copy the Q.B. Cooler, he would have just made a drink called the Q.B Cooler and credited Donn Beach with having invented it.

Don the Beachcomber’s Forgotten Recipes.

Immediately after the 21st amendment had repealed prohibition, 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 copying his Hollywood-style Polynesian-themed bar and profiting off his ideas. Donn would show up a few hours before the bar opened, mix large batches of his spice mixes and mixers, and give them nondescriptive 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; it is never an original recipe, just the best guess. And some guesses are better than others. Tiki was a lawless free for all for a little over a decade 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 helping revitalize the public interest in it. Jeff interviewed old bartenders of Donn the Beachcombers and set out to recreate Donn’s secret recipes to the best of their 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. Remember 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 get it right.

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Q.B. Cooler

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
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


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Fog Cutter – Make Trader Vic’s Fantastic Tiki Cocktail

Fogcutter
Fogcutter

What Does The Fog Cutter Taste Like?

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 a nutty tiki version of a rum sour. It’s a beautiful cocktail that is more to the taste of someone who likes sours than Dark & Stormies or mules.

Nothing too interesting in 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 (true for almost all tiki drinks), but 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: sherry is very dense and thus can not float. Floating alcohols on top of each other are 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 make it look like the sherry is cutting through the drink. If you want an excellent dark float that will sit at the top, try using 151, as it has less sugar than the rest of the drink and is much more alcoholic, so it floats on top.

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Fog Cutter

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
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


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If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
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Scorpion – Make Trader Vic’s Original 1972 Recipe

Scorpion
Scorpion

The History Of The Scorpion Cocktail.

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 of white wine, and two sprigs of mint. Those are odd proportions 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.

What Does The Scorpion Taste Like?

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 kind of juice and booze. Again that is a personal opinion, and taste is subjective. It’s good but not outstanding. I envision juice, booze, and spice when I think tiki, but this cocktail lacks spice. The orgeat adds a nice nuttiness to the drink, but the white rum, orange juice, and lemon juice are the most prominent flavors. And if it’s going to be heavy on the juice, 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 a half in, this comes off bland to me.

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Scorpion Cocktail

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
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


Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
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  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.


Pi Yi – Make The Most Amazing Classic Tiki Cocktail

Pi Yi
Pi Yi

What Does The PI YI Taste Like?

This is a fantastic spiced tropical juice-flavored cocktail. It’s 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 authentic way to prepare this was to scoop out a small pineapple and use the inside, blend it, and use its juice in the drink. Once the drink was shaken and done, it was poured back into the hollowed-out pineapple. To keep with tradition, I cut pineapple and used a small bit of blended fruit as the juice for this drink, which turned out good. I did not pour it back in since I wanted the drink to be visible in a glass. Also, I ate most of the pineapple on its own, and hollowing 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

5 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes
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


Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
  • Tips and tricks from years of experience.
  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.


Blue Hawaiian – A Delicious Blue Pina Colada

Blue Hawaiian
Blue Hawaiian

What Does the Blue Hawaiian Taste Like?

If you have ever had a Pina Colada, you know precisely what a Blue Hawaiian tastes like. The only difference is the 1/2 oz of blue orange liqueur that gives it its beautiful color but doesn’t change the flavor much. The Blue Hawaiian has a lovely coconut and pineapple flavor balanced with a sweet orange note.

Mixing Options for the Blue Hawaiian.

You have two 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 is likely the more traditional way to make this cocktail, the shaken one is my preferred way.

What Is The Difference Between The Blue Hawaiian And 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. Harry Yee invented the standard Blue Hawaii recipe used today 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 the 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

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
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 Cream of Coconut

  • 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


Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
  • Tips and tricks from years of experience.
  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.


Coco Loco – Try This Amazing Colombian Coconut Drink

Coco Loco
Coco Loco

What Is The Coco Loco?

The Coco Loco is a famous beach and street stand cocktail in Colombia 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. It seems to be a popular beachgoer and tourist drink, each selling using a different recipe. I couldn’t find anything canon on the coco loco, and like so many Caribbean cocktails, it seems comfortable living as a pretty local drink with countless variations. The coco loco is often made right on the beach before the customer. The vendor cuts the top off a coconut, adds the ingredients with the coconut water, gives the coconut a couple of shakes, and puts a straw in the hole. Although even with all the variety, every recipe I tested includes cream of coconut, 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 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, I imagine vodka was a later addition to boost the ABV to suit American taste.

Variations of the Coco Loco

From what I read, there seem to be as many recipes for the coco loco as people making it. It’s a cheap and easy-to-make cocktail for which tourists can be suckered into paying a high price. Most major Caribbean cruise ships have their recipe for it. 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 go for it if you want to add something that improves it or makes it unique.

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Coco Loco

5 from 1 vote Only logged in users can rate recipes
Course: DrinksCuisine: Colombian
Servings

1

servings
Calories

439

kcal
ABV

12%

Total time

3

minutes

Learn how to make a Coco Loco.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 oz Lime Juice

  • 2 oz Cream of Coconut

  • 2 oz Coconut Water

  • 2/3 oz Vodka

  • 2/3 oz Silver Tequila

  • 2/3 oz White Rum

Directions

  • Combine all ingredients in the shaker and add crushed ice to the shaker.
  • Lightly shake the drink.
  • Pour the whole contents of the shaker into the glass.

Recipe Video

Notes


Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
  • Tips and tricks from years of experience.
  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.


Blue Hawaii – Make The Original 1957 Harry Yee Recipe

Blue Hawaii
Blue Hawaii

The History of the Blue Hawaii Cocktail.

Invented by Harry Yee in 1957, the Blue Hawaii is a classic Hawaiian cocktail and one of the few tiki-style cocktails 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 four years, it is unknown if this cocktail inspired the title for the film Blue Hawaii, but the drink came first. As a side note, 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 initially 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

0 from 0 votes Only logged in users can rate recipes
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


Make Cocktails Like A Pro

If you have ever struggled with a recipe or wonder why yours are not turning out like they do at the bar then check out my simple step-by-step videos. I will walk you through how to expertly build each drink so you get consistently great results.

  • Free and simple step by step videos.
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  • Historically accurate and balanced recipes.


Zombie – Don The Beachcomber’s Classic Tiki Recipe

Zombie
Zombie

The History Of The Zombie Cocktail.

On the menu, it seems from day one, or at least very soon after, the Zombie is one of Donn Beach’s most famous tiki cocktails. The Zombie was so strong that it would put someone into a blackout drunk automaton state. The Zombie proved to be so renowned it was probably one of Donn’s most copied cocktails. Even though Donn tried to keep the recipe a secret, even from his 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, and 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 the 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. This shows 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, nothing is 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 primary menu years you can find online are 1934, 1941, and 1954, and there is a separate 1960s drink menu.

What Does The Zombie Cocktail Taste Like?

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 perfect and very successful at having just enough juice and sweetener not to make the volume of booze overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still very alcohol forward, and you 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 zombie variations 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 regarded as 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, so this may be an amalgamation of several versions.

The Most Important Ingredient.

The essential ingredient in the Zombie is 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 agree with that. Other lighter 151s add booze (Granted, this cocktail doesn’t need more), but the Lemon Hart ads booze and flavor. If you do not 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

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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.
  • Garnish with maraschino cherries, pineapple, and mint.

Recipe Video

Notes


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