My younger brother is not really a drinker, at all. In fact, its pretty rare to see him drink anything outside of orange soda (blech). So you can imagine my family's curiosity and amusement when, on Christmas Eve last year, he ordered a "Zombie" at our local Chinese restaurant. We were even more amused when they brought out the drink: a glass the size of my head filled with bright turquoise liquid, and adorned with a whole fruitbowl full of tropical fruits (and of course, topped with several dainty umbrellas.) This was my brother who can't even finish a Miller Light.
But, he had just broken up with his girlfriend, so he was able to slurp that sucker right down and actually be in a slightly festive mood for the first time all holiday season. (I don't usually advocate drinking your problems away, but it sure worked this time.) I had a taste too, and was put off on the cloyingly-sweet beverage forever. That is, until I read this Ny Times article about a man seeking to resurrect the Zombie and other tiki bar drinks that have been wrecked by clueless bartenders over the years.
“When people think of tropical drinks, they think of the syrupy slush that gets served on a cruise,” Mr. Berry said, his voice rising in pitch. “But when you get a properly structured tropical drink, it’s unbelievable.”
Alright, sold! I am psyched to try out his recipe. I know it doesn't really seem like a holiday drink off the bat, but with the cinnamon, citrus, and rum, it actually seems more suited to this time of year then to the summer. And I'm pretty sure it won't be electric blue...
Beachbum Berry's Zombie(From the Times.)
3/4 ounce lime juice
1 ounce white grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce cinnamon-infused sugar syrup (*available at Whole Foods and elsewhere)
1/2 ounce Bacardi 151 rum
1 ounce dark Jamaican rum
Sliced fruit and mint for garnish.
Shake all ingredients well with ice cubes. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice. Garnish with fruit and a mint sprig.
Yield: One drink.
And speaking of theme restarants, I had a great dinner at the Argonaut the other night. This bar is one of the many new hipster dives cropping up on H street (like Red and the Black, Rock and Roll Hotel, Palace of Wonders, ect.) and it features a really subtle pirate theme which you have to see to understand. (I mean, how do you make something "pirate themed" without looking like a Disney ride?) Anyways, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they have upped the vegan content on their mostly omni-menu. I got cauliflower-apple soup, black bean, potato and zucchini pancakes, and their excellent sweet potato fries.
And if you're thirsty, the "Dark and Stormy", with ginger beer and house-infused rum, is a force to be reckoned with.