Cocktail: Corpse Reviver No. 2

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I love me a finely-crafted cocktail. Don’t give me amateur shit like a Screwdriver. Please.

I owe my appreciation for a real cocktail to my husband, whose mad scientist-like study and concocting of beverages will someday land him (and likely me) on the wait list for a liver replacement. The liquor cabinet in our house is organized by liquor type, and there are even two cupboard Lazy Susans to make access easier. The smaller shelf above is home to at least 15 kinds of Bitters and a variety of sugar syrups. A trip to the liquor store for him is never a quick one; he doesn’t just pop in and grab a bottle of gin or bourbon. He walks up and down the aisle, pulling out a bottle, reading the label, putting it back, then checking his iPhone for reviews and write-ups on it. This goes on for awhile with several different bottles for each liquor type that must be re-stocked, until the choices have been finalized. While he does this I am usually in the wine section filling a case. We go to the liquor store and use a shopping cart, no joke. We are Those People.

Restaurants which feature excellent food as well as a true, knowledgeable barkeep are high on our list.

A good litmus test for a bar is a drink which is one of my favorites: Corpse Reviver No. 2. If the bartender does not know what it is, or says s/he will look it up, change your order to something else, because if s/he has not made it before and will make you one for their first time ever, it will SUCK. Never take a Corpse Reviver No. 2 made by a virgin Corpse Reviver No. 2 maker.

The drink itself has an interesting history. It was originally intended as a hangover cure. Little do they know it gives hangovers, especially if you have three (hey man, it was a long day). Post Prohibition says the Corpse Reviver family of drinks has been mentioned in cocktail books since 1871. Harry Craddock’s famed 1930 “Savoy Cocktail Book” states that the drink is “To be taken before 11 am, or whenever steam and energy are needed.” Before 11am, holy shit.

Corpse Reviver No. 2
(from Craddock’s book)

    • 1 oz gin
    • 3/4 oz Cointreau
    • 3/4 oz Lillet Blanc
    • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
    • An absinthe rinse
    • Garnish with a Luxardo cherry

Add all ingredients into a shaker except for the garnish. Shake with ice. Rinse your chilled cocktail glass with 3 drops of absinthe. Discard any excess absinthe. Strain your shaker into the cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

Saveur says some experts like to swap out the Lillet Blanc for Cocchi Americano, an Italian aperitif similar to the Kina Lillet that the Corpse Reviver No. 2 was likely originally created with; “it adds a slight bitter note that’s missing from the modern version.”

Whichever way you make it, be sure it is served in the proper glass. It is NOT to be served in a highball or a flute  or a martini glass. It should be in a coupe, like the photo in this post.

With a well-made CRn2 in hand in a dimly lit little dive bar, you can be assured of an excellent night. I can’t make any promises about your morning.


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