Hot Tiki: The Hot Zombie

For December things are getting chilly, even here in Alabama. Some people don’t think of Tiki when the temperature drops, and that is a damn shame. Polynesian pop sold intoxicating images of warm tropical paradises where it never snowed, so the maiden’s never covered up. However most Tiki bars were in places where it wasn’t warm all year long, so Tiki bartenders came up with great exotic warm drinks for cold weather or just after dinner. Mai tai’s, Zombies, and Fogg Cutter’s are great, but my idea of heaven is a well crafted coffee grog.


Hot Zombie (2)


To kick off our month of hot Tiki we’re going to take a look at an off beat classic. Many classic Tiki warmers are somewhat based off hot buttered rum. Most of them have a batter that blends softened butter with spices, honey, sometimes even coconut cream. We’ll get into the basics on the more traditional sippers later. While this week’s strange creature does use a small bit of butter it breaks all rules of tiki warmers by using juices. The Hot Zombie from 1941 was a recipe from the Ronrico Rum company, and it’s been preserved in the grand book Sippin Safari by Beachbum Berry. Zombie’s were the drink that made Tiki the institution it is, so a hot version of these horrors was a must sample. As Jeff mentions if you compare them it shares similarities with the Speivak Zombie that was revealed 9 years later.


Hot Zombie (3)



Hot Zombie


from Jeff Berry’s Sippin Safari


1 oz fresh pineapple juice


2 oz Cruzan Gold


½ oz passion fruit syrup


½ oz fresh lime juice


1 teaspoon brown sugar


4 oz boiling water.


1 small chip butter (about a ½ tsp)



Place juices, rum, sugar, and syrup in an 8 oz mug. Add the hot water before stirring well. Put the butter in and serve, we add a flaming spoon of brandy for garnish.



This drink begs to be drunk with a nose of lush passion fruit, pineapple and butter. Say what you will about warm drinks but the heat makes the aroma pop like nothing else. The first sip is full of warm but lightly spicy rum notes, the brown sugar really plays well here balanced by tart twangs of lime. As it continues pineapple begins to play with passion fruit making an interesting bit of sweet and sour. The finish is spicy and limey with small creamy comforting notes of butter that weave through every part of the cocktail. The small amount of butter makes sure it doesn’t overpower, but is crucial in maintaining it’s balance.



Hot Zombie (1)


This cocktail is like almost nothing else I’ve seen when it comes to Tiki warmers. It is however well worth your time. Thanks to Jeff Berry for saving this recipe. We hope you’ll stick with us this month as we explore Tiki Warmers. Come by next time and we’ll flex our creative muscles with some classic batters. Until then…



You get hammered America!” -JFL




About JFL

Joey or JFL as he is known by friends is a culinary trained mixologist from the Heart of Dixie Birmingham, Alabama. From a weekly column in the St. Clair News Aegis to his own experiments online JFL never stops doing work on Tiki and Cocktails. When he's not studying all things spirit, wine, and beer he's pursuing his own odd interests such as cartoons, cheesy old horror movies, horror punk, hair metal, and hockey
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