Do more classic cocktails, is my #1 resolution for the blog this year. As much as I love, and have no plans to cease, inventing original recipes, perhaps I should ease up on bedeviling you all with my illimitable tipple perspicacity (resolution #2: consult thesaurus more) for the sake of some insightful, happy hour convo-worthy history lessons on drinks that have stood the test of time, or haven’t but deserve as much. Plus, discuss how to make said vintage drinks at their finest, a la The World’s Greatest Cosmopolitan. (Resolution Trois: I am the greatest!)
Let’s start with Corpse Revivers which, like their titular cadavers, are making a comeback. The phrase refers to a genus of hair-of-the-dog cocktails; Corpse Reviver #1 and Corpse Reviver #2 are the individual species you’re likely to encounter. Strangely, they resemble each other not at all. Their generally-agreed-upon ingredients break down thusly:
Corpse Reviver#1: Cognac, Calvados, sweet vermouth
Corpse Reviver #2: Gin, triple sec, Lillet, absinthe, lemon juice
It is my understanding that both can be traced back to the Savoy Cocktail Book, authored by legendary barman/American expat Harry Craddock and published in 1930. However, when mentioned elsewhere, #2 is almost always credited as an expressly Craddock creation whereas #1’s genealogy seems much muddier, or maybe just less interesting. Maybe #1 was, like, made by his rival but still good enough to be included in his book? Cocktail history really is crippled by the fact that people were probably drunk (i.e. forgetful and/or brazenly self-aggrandizing) when they wrote this shit down.
There are other Corpse Revivers as well. Depending on the source you consult, you may come across “Corpse Reviver No.2 #2” (not a typo), “Corpse Reviver #3 or” the “Savoy Corpse Reviver,” which apparently stems back not to London’s Hotel Savoy circa the 1930s but to some dude in the 1950s…? Repeat what I just said about crippled history.
Anyway, so how’s it taste? Because I was too drunkenly forgetful to write that shit down, I’m relying on what the PhoBlograpHusband had to say about it: “The general base was the citrus from the triple sec and the lemon juice, with the herbaceousness of the gin sort of getting along nicely in there. But that absinthe note really came through, it’s really pervasive. It was really nice and bracing. I can see how old-timey people would have had this in the morning.”
The Corpse Reviver#2
3/4 ounce Bombay London Dry Gin
3/4 ounce triple sec
3/4 ounce Lillet blonde
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 dash Pernod absinthe
Lemon twist, to garnish
Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with lemon twist.
Many recipes, even those that go way back, will insist upon Cointreau rather than no-name triple sec. I just didn’t have any around.
Likewise, there’s nitpicking to be done as to whether Lillet or dry vermouth is the proper ingredient here. Some sources will even cite Swedish punsch (Not a Typo #2) as the proper ingredient… you know what? All this history stuff is hard. I may be rethinking Resolution #1.