He cracked the Zombie code. Now he has his own Zombie rum
It took Jeff “Beachbum” Berry over a decade to track down the original recipe for the Zombie. The faux-tropical drink was created in 1934 by Ernest Gantt, who founded the world’s first tiki bar, Don the Beachcomber, in Los Angeles. Later, he legally renamed himself Donn Beach.
A potent mix of three rums, lime, and grapefruit juices, as well as assorted syrups and bitters – nine ingredients in all (recipe below) – the Zombie was a closely guarded secret. Beach famously encoded the bottles at his bar so employees couldn’t give away confidential combination. In 2005, the code was cracked when a notebook containing the recipe was found in the pocket of an old shirt owned by Dick Santiago, headwaiter at Don the Beachcomber. Santiago’s daughter relayed it to Berry, who published the recipe in his 2007 book, “Beachbum Berry’s Sippin’ Safari.”