Mixology 619: The Walking Dead

Just in time for the new season of AMC’s hit series “The Walking Dead,” bar manager of The Duck Dive Rob McShea is serving up a creative sweet drink called The Walking Dead.

Watch as Rob McShea makes this tiki-themed drink.

Did you grow up in San Diego?

Long story short, my parents were in the Air Force and traveled around a lot. I was born in Weisbaden, Germany. We then relocated to Long Island, NY, where I spent the majority of my childhood. My family then headed west when I was 15 and subsequently, I went to high school in suburban Los Angeles. Upon graduating, I went to Whittier College for a semester or two and then moved to San Diego to attend SDSU. I loved it so much in San Diego that I never left.

How did you get into bartending?

While putting myself through college, I landed a security and bar-back job in Pacific Beach. I worked my way up and met a lot of talented and knowledgeable mentors along the way. After graduating, I realized that my real vocation and passion was creating recipes, building menus and serving drinks.

How long have you been working at The Duck Dive?

I’ve been at The Duck Dive since its inception in March 2012.

What kind of experience can someone get at The Duck Dive?

At the Duck Dive, we pride ourselves on selling quality food and beverages without pretense. Our menu is compiled of our takes on classic American dishes as well as a coastal favorites. Our cocktail menu provides a refreshing “off the beach” flair on the classics, where we utilize locally-sourced produce. The décor and ambiance of the Duck Dive is an ode to the rich surf culture of San Diego. It’s basically a nice spot to relax while eating and drinking well.

What’s your favorite cocktail?

The negroni. I like to drink them, and I like to create new variations of them.

What’s your favorite cocktail to make?

My favorite drinks to make are ones tailored for customers who are indecisive or are looking for a new cocktail experience. The most rewarding part of the job is making someone happy.

When you’re not mixing drinks, what are you doing on your spare time?

When I am not working, I like to stay active, travel with my girlfriend, read books, listen to records and cook.

The Walking Dead

Cost: $9 ($5 during happy hour)

  • 1 oz. light rum
  • 1 oz. dark rum
  • 1 oz. Nocello
  • 1/4 oz. simple
  • 1/4 oz. lime
  • 2 oz. pineapple juice
  • Three dashes Bitterman’s Tiki Bitters

Green Chartreuse (atomized)Garnish with a pineapple leaf, wedge and maraschino cherry

What’s the origin of The Walking Dead?

The origin of the Walking Dead comes from a variation of the original tiki cocktail, the Zombie. I decided to add my own twist to the recipe and named it after a favorite television program.

How would you describe the taste to someone who hasn’t had this before?

This cocktail is a harmonious blend of fresh fruit juice, nuts and spices, sugar, floral aromatics and a touch of booze.

What would be the key component in this drink?

The tiki bitters, which act as a balancing agent for the sweetness, and the green chartreuse, which adds a pleasant aroma.

This cocktail has a lot of booze in it but you can’t taste the rum, why is that?

All of the ingredients collaborate in creating its own distinct flavor profile and depth. The idea here was not to hide ingredients, yet balance them.

Any reason you went with Nocello?

First off, I have a thing for Nocello. The walnut flavored liqueur began as a guilty pleasure and now I find clever ways of incorporating it into my work. In The Walking Dead, it adds another dimension to overall taste of the cocktail.

What are some good dishes to pair this drink with?

Sweet and/or spicy dishes, Caribbean and Polynesian cuisine.

Comparing this drink to “The Zombie” cocktail, What would you say the difference between the two are?

My cocktail is essentially a modified “third ward zombie,” which is a modified zombie. So in a walnut shell, The Walking Dead is a third generation zombie cocktail.

Who is your favorite character on The Walking Dead?

Hmmmm... that’s a toss up. I’m definitely a Rick Grimes guy, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say Carol. She’s a dynamic, calculating, clandestine and badass lady.

Are you planning on naming any more drinks after the hit AMC show?

Of course. I would make a whole menu based on the characters if I could. Keep your eyes peeled for “The Governor” cocktail.


4650 Mission Blvd, Pacific Beach.

(858) 273-3825 or

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Jarnard Sutton is a multimedia producer for DiscoverSD and San Diego Union-Tribune. He loves providing readers with updates on music and events happening in San Diego. You can follow Jarnard on Twitter at @jarnard for everything music, food, beer and television. You can also follow him on Instagram at @nardvillain

Source: DiscoverSD