Marisa Chafetz / Supercall

These Drinks Come with a Warning Label


We are not lying when we say that these cocktails come with a warning label. Directly on the menus, in the descriptions underneath the name of each drink, fine print reads: “Limit two per customer.” And it’s not a joke—or a dare.

Created in the 1930s, by the godfather of tiki Don the Beachcomber, the Zombie is a whopper of a cocktail. With over 3 ounces of liquor (all of it high-proof), velvet falernum liqueur and absinthe, the tiki staple is one of the most dangerous libations ever created. Now, three bars have taken on the boozalicious classic, making their own modern liquor-heavy twists on Don the Beach’s original recipe. From Fort Defiance’s ghostly colorless White Zombie made with a trifecta of clear spirits at the base, to Fancy Nancy's savory spritzified take on the classic, these three variations on the Zombie amp up the intoxicating deliciousness of the original.

Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
Much like the White Negroni—a white spirit on white spirit variation of the classic Italian cocktail—this variation on Don the Beachcomber’s classic Zombie was created by Fort Defiance’s Zac Overman using only white liquors (Overman’s inspiration came from the 1932 horror film of the same name—which he was surprised to see hadn’t been used by a tiki bartender yet). With a deadly mixture of white rum, overproof gin (preferably Hayman’s Royal Dock), pisco, coconut liqueur, maraschino liqueur, a homemade velvet falernum (made with overproof Jamaican rum) and absinthe, this heady cocktail maintains the original’s rock-em-sock-em punch of alcohol. To soften the blow, Overman adds just a touch of fresh lime and grapefruit juices. Created in the early days of Fort Defiance’s now legendary Sunken Harbor Club—a weekly tiki party at the restaurant—the White Zombie won the Art of Tiki competition at the NYC Wine and Food Fest. The drink is served only during brunch, but available to anyone willing to subject themselves to the cocktail’s ultra-boozy wrath. The two-drink limit on this Zombie is almost a dare to see if anyone will even try to have more than one.

The Essentials

Gin, Pisco, Rum
Grapefruit Juice
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
With Cruzan Black Strap, Denizen Aged White Rum and Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum at the base, this Zombie variation lives up to its ultra boozy heritage. “The Hustle was my brother's nickname when he played basketball growing up (we are big basketball fans at Fancy Nancy), says Kristin Walker, the creator of The Legendary Hustle and co-owner of Fancy Nancy where the drink is made. “The drink is deceivingly strong (it has 3.5 ounces of alcohol). It sneaks up on you. Which was part of my brother's [basketball] game strategy.” In lieu of absinthe, the drink has a toasted fennel syrup, which adds the anise flavors of the original drink and a unique savoriness that is all its own. With pineapple juice in place of grapefruit juice, the cocktail becomes brighter, more tart and more thirst quenching. While its bold, tropical fruit flavors might distract you from the cocktail’s potency, the strict two-drink limit in place at Fancy Nancy is there to remind you just how dangerous this drink really is.

The Essentials

All The Rums
Fennel Syrup
Pineapple Juice
Marisa Chafetz / Supercall
A wintry take on the classic Zombie, created by Cera Grindstaff and Lauren Hinkle at Seattle's newest tiki cocktail den, Navy Strength (which was one of our favorite new bars of 2017), this bracingly strong drink is as dark as the rain-soaked skies under which it was concocted. To give the cocktail the alcoholic punch of the original, Grindstaff and Hinkle layer three different rums at the base of the drink—including Smith and Cross, an ultra boozy, super funky Jamaican rum—with absinthe. With the addition of a port wine syrup and Zucca amaro (which is made, and flavored with Italian rhubarb), the Zombie Pyre becomes rich, velvety and subtly bitter on the palate. The only thing saving drinkers from the cocktail’s liquor-heavy wrath is the crushed ice it's served over—and the two-drink limit enforced by the staff.

The Essentials

All the rums
Port Syrup

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