Zombie Cocktail

Zombie Cocktail: a delicious yet super potent mixed drink. It’s often said that if you consume multiple servings, you’re guaranteed to turn into a zombie… 

Zombie Cocktail (Tiki Cocktail Series)

The mark of a great tiki bar is dependent on the quality of their zombie cocktail. It’s a classic tiki cocktail that has countless variations. Traditionally, it’s made with three types of rum, tropical juices, and falernum.

Ever since attending the Coconut Club two years ago, I have become extremely fascinated (bordering obsessed) with tiki culture. The history behind how it grew to popularity in America, key figures in the movement like Earnest Beaumont Gantt (aka “Don the Beachcomber”), and the variety of rums used in the cocktails. I want to know everything.

I always joke with Alex that if we ever move to state that has homes with basements, I’m converting said basement into my own personal tiki lounge.

Zombie Cocktail (Tiki Cocktail Series)

My version of the zombie cocktail is a little less potent than the traditional cocktail. Instead of three rums, I’m using two: an aged rum and a spiced rum. Along with that you’ll need orange juice, pineapple juice, lime juice, cinnamon simple syrup, a touch of grenadine, and falernum. (Read about Falernum here)

There are two kinds of falernum: one with alcohol and one without. I prefer the one with alcohol, specifically this brand by John D. Taylor. It’s mentioned by name in numerous tiki books.

Zombie Cocktail (Tiki Cocktail Series)

Zombie Cocktail (Tiki Cocktail Series)

I think it’s quite funny how the definition of “zombie” has changed over the years. When this cocktail was invented years ago, zombies referred to the living dead or corpses revived by witchcraft or sorcery. They were supernatural, magical, fantastical creatures that obviously couldn’t exist in our world. However, today’s zombies…

Today’s zombies are far more scarier (and more plausible). The notion of zombie has shifted from the undead into a world wide epidemic outbreak spread through contamination and disease.

Think of The Walking Dead, Warm Bodies, and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. There’s no witchcraft involved. All it takes is a tiny bite to become a zombie.

Anywho, zombie cocktails are a wonderful introduction to tiki cocktails. It’s a sweet, well balanced mixed drink that tastes great but also packs a punch! Cheers!

Zombie Cocktail

A delicious yet super potent mixed drink. It's often said that if you consume multiple servings, you're guaranteed to turn into a zombie... 

Yield: makes 1, multiply as needed

Author Maryanne Cabrera


  • 1 oz rum (aged or golden)
  • 1 3/4 oz spiced rum
  • 3/4 oz John D. Taylor's Velvet Falernum liqueur*
  • 1 oz cinnamon syrup, recipe follows
  • 1 1/2 oz pineapple juice
  • 1/2 oz orange juice
  • 3/4 oz lime juice
  • 1/4 oz grenadine syrup*

Cinnamon Syrup:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 cinnamon sticks


  • maraschino cherries
  • orange slices
  • fresh mint


  1. Add all ingredients in a mixing glass. Add ice and stir to combine. Strain liquids into serving glass filled with ice. Garnish with maraschino cherries, orange slice, and fresh mint.

Cinnamon Syrup:

  1. Bring water, sugar, and cinnamon to a boil. Remove from heat and cover pot. Allow cinnamon to steep for 30-45 minutes (according to preferred taste). Strain out cinnamon. Keep cinnamon syrup in an airtight container in the fridge. Keeps for 2 weeks.

Recipe Notes

  • I prefer to use John D. Taylor's Velvet Falernum liqueur, however you can also find a non alcoholic version by different companies/brands. 
  • I am very picky with my grenadine. I highly recommend this one by Small Hands Foods.

All images and text ©The Little Epicurean


Zombie Cocktail (Tiki Cocktail Series)

P.S. In case you’re wondering, these zombie head mugs are from Disneyland Hotel’s Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar.

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Des @ Life's Ambrosia

What a fun drink for Halloween parties!

Becky Hardin | The Cookie Rookie

GIRL! You are so cute and creative. I’m obsessed with this!


What are the two leaves in the drink (not mint)? Love the photo!

Sandi (@fearless_dining)

What a fun idea for a Tiki party…I love that pour shot you took in your post. That is totally cool.

Kimberly @ The Daring Gourmet

Ha, that is groovy – your creativity is awesome!

Lora @savoringitaly

Halloween is perfect time to have fun with recipes and you chose such a fun drink to share for the season: I LOVE that mug!!

Michelle Goth

This is so creative! My husband and I love doing things like this for adult get togethers at Halloween time!

eat good 4 life

This looks like the perfect cocktail for me this weekend!


I’m a little bit (OK a lot) of a Tiki snob, and this is not the recipe for the original Zombie that Don the Beachcomber made BUT … i think this one is better! my problem with the original Zombie is that I dont really like anise and it calls for pernod. I’ve tried leaving the pernod out, but it’s still too booze-y for me. rum is my drink, so that’s saying a lot! I found your page because I was looking for a zombie that still used falernum — I put a lot of work into making my own syrups and I don’t want to pour them out when they go bad, so I try to use them up! this recipe uses more falernum than the original, which I like. I love the flavor of homemade falernum. I’m going to try out a few more recipes, but this is the one to beat so far! It’s a teeny bit sweet for me so I keep the dash of bitters that the original calls for, and that really evens out the sweetness. Beachbum Berry also says to process the drink for a few seconds with ice in a blender and that makes a big difference, too!

    Maryanne Cabrera

    Ha, I’m a bit of Tiki snob as well. Thank you for trying out the recipe! I’m so glad you enjoyed it :) Cheers!

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