A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from February 15, 2017
Zombie (cocktail)

Entry in progress—B.P.

“I said, ‘Make me a Zombie.’ The bartender said, ‘God beat me to it’” is a Rodney Dangerfield joke on the Zombie cocktail.

[This entry was prepared with research from Bill Mullins of the American Dialect Society listserv.]

Wikipedia: Zombie (cocktail)
The Zombie, (also known as skull-puncher), is a cocktail made of fruit juices, liqueurs, and various rums. It first appeared in late 1934, invented by Donn Beach (formerly Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gannt) of Hollywood’s Don the Beachcomber restaurant. It was popularized soon afterwards at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

17 Sep 1938, St. Louis (MO) Post-Dispatch, pg 12, col 2:
“At first they said, “A nice, smooth drink,” and then they said “A dinger!”
It turned out to be a cross between a zombie and a stinger!”

25 November 1938, Milwaukee (WI) Journal, pg. 14, col. 1 ad:
The CANARY CLUB
782 N. Milwaukee St.
ZOMBIE
A delicious rum concoction as served at the Beachcombers Club, Hollywood, Cal.

24 December 1938, Los Angeles (CA) Times, sec, 2, pg. 5, col. 5 ad:
“Drinks for which we are acclaimed throughout the world “Famous Drinks of All Nations”
Zombie
Planters Punch
“Head-Hunter”
“Sugie” Special
Sharks Tooth—and many more.”

29 December 1939, Women’s Wear Daily (New York, NY), “Beachcomber Bar Debut Auspicious,” pg. 31, col. 4:
Monte Proser’s Beachcomber Bar, a picturesque new Broadway spot, made an auspicious debut this week and early indications are that it is likely to develop into a Broadway institution.
(...)
Unless you prove that you can take it, all you are allowed is two Zombies.

24 April 1940, Variety, pg. 47, col. 1:
Monte Proser’s Zombie Spots
Spreading to Boston, N.Y, Fair


27 August 1967, Los Angeles (CA) Times, “Roundabout” by Lois Dwan, pg. 36, col. 2:
Don the Beachcomber is celebrating its 33rd anniversary this month at 1727 N. McCadden Place, just across the street from its small beginning as an idea of Don Beach. The idea of combining Cantonese food, rum drinks and Polynesian decor is so understandable, so seemingly simple, that it has been copied the length of the land.
(...)
Many rum drinks, such as the Zombie, Navy Grog, Missionary’s Downfall etc., were created here.

Esquire magazine
JUL 14, 2015
Zombie Drink Recipe
How To Make The Perfect Zombie

BY DAVID WONDRICH
(...)
Although it may seem like a product of the Pu-Pu platter 1950s, it actually hearkens back to the late ‘30s, when Hollywood restaurateur Don the Beachcomber supposedly cooked it up as liquid CPR for some poor SOB experiencing death by hangover—thereby delivering him into the clutches of Baron Samedi (you know, the bald guy in Live and Let Die). In any case, it caught on, especially at the Hurricane Bar at the 1939 New York World’s Fair (perhaps that explains the Trilon and Perisphere). By the time tiki culture hit its stride, the Zombie, with all its evil, no-more-than-two-to-a-customer charm, was ubiquitous. Unfortunately, that didn’t mean it was any good. In fact, it’s not.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • Wednesday, February 15, 2017 • Permalink