This was one of my favorite articles to “research.” I basically got to drink for a free at a handful of bars around Long Beach, to see who made the best zombie- which I didn’t realize was a drink when I first accepted it. This article was part of a series titled “Zombie Survival Guide” on GLB, which ran in advance of the Long Beach Zombie Walk downtown.
Originally published on Greater Long Beach- 10/21/2011
By Jimmy Dolan
October 21, 2011|Bars & Clubs, Zombie Survival Guide
One of several how-to reports that together comprise the Zombie Survival Guide, an effort by Greater Long Beachto ensure that the local populace is prepared for the Oct. 29 invasion of downtown Long Beach by thousands of the not-so-grateful dead for a full Saturday activities leading up to the 8 p.m. Zombie Walk and the Dead Man’s After Party. Because … it’s gonna get ugly.
HERE’S WHO MIXES THE BEST ZOMBIES IN GREATER LONG BEACH
Decades before movie director George Romero brought zombies into the mainstream, Don Beach was pouring them for rum-thirsty barflies in Hollywood. The zombie was the first of many drinks invented by Beach—the erstwhile Ernest Raymond Beaumont Gantt—and Hollywood was the first of the uncountable places around the world that it’s been served.
The zombie may be Beach’s best drink, too. Loaded with three, sometimes even four types of rum, diluted a little with tropical fruit juice, sweetened with flavored syrup, then garnished with a cherry, the zombie is the Long Island of rum drinks.
Of course, I only mention it here for medical purposes—maybe as a prophylactic, perhaps as an antidote, or merely as a stress-reliever—and only as a suggestion … hey now, let’s be clear: I never claimed to be a doctor.
But once you take your first sip of a zombie, consider yourself bitten. Or if you happen to be bitten by a real zombie first—perhaps during the invasion of downtown Long Beach on Oct. 29—consider that first sip of the drink something like antivenom … delicious, dreamy antivenom.
The sweet fruit juices blend perfectly with the various rum flavors, making a zombie difficult to put down. A floater of Meyer’s or 151-proof rum gives this Polynesian-inspired drink a considerable kick. When a zombie is mixed by a bartender, it often comes with a quantity limit, or at least the recommendation that you slow the hell down. With this much alcohol in one cocktail, it’s possible you’ll soon find yourself walking, well, like a zombie. Or as the medical professionals call it, getting inoculated on your ass.
After considerable research, here is the Zombie Survival Guide’s short list of the best places in Greater Long Beach to sip the drink of the undead.
1. DON THE BEACHCOMBER
The short drive to Sunset (now officially Huntington) Beach was a small inconvenience to sample Don’s original and still-unbeatable zombie mix. Being surrounded by authentic-looking tiki decorations, unique drinkware, and a handful of happy hour patrons created an atmosphere that greatly enhanced the drinking experience. Don supposedly kept the original zombie recipe a secret for many years, altering it over time until it reached its current state of sweet perfection. My zombie was sweet and fruitful, with a strong rum taste. It was served with a cherry and lime, which nicely complemented the creamy orange color. Fortunately, Don’s also serves food, a necessity if you are attempting to pace yourself while drinking, and can be ordered at the bar. One of the upsides to ordering the drink at Don The Beachcomber is that the bartenders immediately know what you’re talking about, as opposed to some places, where they actually have to look up the recipe for what is apparently becoming a rarity.
DON THE BEACHCOMBER • 16278 Pacific Coast Highway • Huntington Beach • 562.592.1321www.donthebeachcomber.com
2. ALEX’S BAR
When I settled in at an empty Alex’s, the spunky, conversational girl behind the bar wasn’t immediately sure what goes into a zombie, and had to flip through the Rolodex of drink recipes to find it. No problem–I liked the proof that this drink can’t be found just anywhere. And once she knew, she was more than happy to serve it up. Alex’s version of the zombie opts for a floater of Meyer’s dark rum on top, instead of the dangerously potent 151. After chatting about music and learning a few things about the place, the bartender commented, “I bet you’re starting to feel the effects of that thing by now, huh?” I was. Alex’s recipe didn’t taste as sweet as others, but it had just as much bite. Pun intended.
ALEX’S BAR • 2913 E ANAHEIM ST • LONG BEACH • 90804 • 562.434.8292 ALEXSBAR.COM
3. HOUSE OF HAYDEN
The first place that came to mind when I set out to find out who pours the best zombies. A staple hangout of the East Village Arts District, the friendly bartending staff can pour almost anything you can dream up. The drinks are typically stiff in the first place, and patrons never leave unsatisfied. As I found out, a zombie can’t be made everywhere. Some bars don’t stock all the necessary ingredients, or don’t have the drink in their system, or don’t have a way to properly ring it up on the register. Fortunately, House of Hayden always delivers.
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