The Zombie was created by Donn Beach in the late 1930s. Legend has it that Donn concocted the Zombie for a friend, a friend on his way to San Francisco. After consuming three of the delicious drinks, the man left for his trip. Upon his return, he reported that the cocktail had turned him into a zombie for the trip’s entirety.
Due to the great deal of secrecy surrounding many Donn the Beachcomber recipes, many variations of the Zombie exist, and many of the variations are surprisingly terrible. After a great deal of research, however, Donn the Beachcomber’s original recipes were rediscovered and published by Jeff “Beachbum” Berry in his book “Sippin’ Safari”.
Though truly a tiki drink, in the sense that a lot of alcohol is hidden by a sweet fruity flavor, the Zombie, owing mostly to the inclusion of Maraschino liquor, Pernod, and Angostura Bitters, has a very complex and surprising flavor.
I would provide you with more of a background, but as I write this, I am working on my second cocktail, having royally FUBARed the first, and have achieved third stage zombification:
I’m drinking Donn the Beachcomber’s 1956 recipe as published by Beachbum Berry and described by Robert Hess here. I highly recommend that you do the same. I’ve tried many Zombie variations, and this is by far the best.