Friday Night Cocktail: Corpse Reviver No. 2 (with variations)

Substantially less macabre than its name implies, the Corpse Reviver No. 2 is a classic’s classic, dating back at least to the 1930 Savoy Cocktail Book. As such, more illustrious cocktail writers than I have covered this drink extensively, most of them including the obligatory, humorous Savoy quote – “Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again” – and pointing to its genesis in an era when drinking in the morning was considered not merely acceptable, but de rigueur.

Personally, I’ve never taken one of these as a hair of the dog, but I do enjoy it en apéritif. It’s complex enough to be satisfying, but unassuming enough to make way for the meal that follows. To my palate, what makes this drink worth returning to again and again (and I do) is the aromatic interplay between the Cointreau and the absinthe. Can you tell that one of my favourite ice cream flavours when I was a kid was tiger tail?

It’s also a good jumping-off point for variations. One of the better such variations I’ve come across is the Stone Fruit Sour, which replaces the Cointreau with apricot brandy and the absinthe with peach bitters. Better still is my own variation, which builds on the Stone Fruit Sour, but substitutes crème de prunelle, a French liqueur based on sloe kernels, for the apricot brandy. (Though, admittedly, prunelle is a much harder-to-find ingredient than Cointreau or apricot brandy.)

How to make a Corpse Reviver No. 2

  • Dash of absinthe (or pastis)
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. Lillet blanc
  • 3/4 oz. gin
  • 3/4 oz. Cointreau

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker, shake hard for 15 seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

How to make a Stone Fruit Sour

Created by Zane Harris, Vessel, Seattle

  • Dash peach bitters
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. Lillet blanc
  • 3/4 oz. gin
  • 3/4 oz. apricot brandy

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker, shake hard for 15 seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

How to make a Stone Fruit Kernel Sour

  • Dash peach bitters
  • 3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. Lillet blanc
  • 3/4 oz. gin
  • 3/4 oz. crème de prunelle

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker, shake hard for 15 seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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5 Responses to “Friday Night Cocktail: Corpse Reviver No. 2 (with variations)”

  1. Illustrious? You are far too kind. But what Ice Cream flavor is Tiger Tail?

  2. Matthew Kayahara March 11, 2011 at 3:59 pm

    You’ve never had Tiger Tail ice cream? It’s orange with a licorice ribbon!

  3. Nope, never heard of it before. Maybe it is a Canadian thing. ;-)

  4. Matthew Kayahara March 14, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    Judging from the first page of Google results, it may well be! One more thing for Canada to be proud of, I guess. ;)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Friday Night Cocktail: Sunflower | Kayahara.ca - June 15, 2012

    [...] written about variations on the Corpse Reviver No. 2 before, but just recently happened across another one that’s worth mentioning: the Sunflower [...]

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