Chimp in Orbit

Chimp in Orbit

Before humans made it into space, NASA sent a chimpanzee named Ham into orbit in 1961. The space age and space race clearly are part of midcentury pop culture. So, it is no wonder that tiki and space age pop collided.

In 1971 Texas rock band ZZ Top went to Honolulu to open up for The Rolling Stones.  Every day they would sit and drink the bar dry at the hotel.  When their manager saw the bar tab, he told the band they were only allowed 2 drinks per day allowance. they went and got the largest, strongest drink they could, which turned out to be the Chimp in Orbit. Even today, members of the band visit Frankie’s Tiki Room in Las Vegas.

This recipe is not the original. I tried the original from the Total Tiki app by Beachbum Berry, and then another which called for 151 proof rum.  This drink has a lot of liquid volume, and I am thinking that it needs a potent amount of rum to offset all this juice.  I am also going to assume that if it was the favorite of members of ZZ Top, it was going to have to be pretty strong to stand up to whiskey for these Texas boys.


  • 1.5 ounces rum (one recipe calls for gold Puerto Rican rum, another Bacardi 151, another 151 proof rum)
  • 1/4 Grenadine Syrup
  • 3 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 3 ounces fresh orange juice
  • 1/2 ounce cremé de cacao
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth