*Recent ruminations from LUPEC Boston as originally published in The Weekly Dig.
by Pink Lady
The history behind the great classic cocktails keeps us interested, but it’s often the quirky names that draw us in. With Halloween approaching, let us turn our attention to morbidly named libations, such as the Corpse Reviver.
Judging by name alone, you mistake this cocktail for a modern, icky club-land creation, possibly of the same ilk as the Mind-eraser. It’s easy to feel intimidated by a drink with such a name, and how are there four or five different versions of it? The simple answer is that this fine concoction was actually more of a category of cocktail than a singular drink itself, much like how many people will ask a bartender for their house list of “martinis” nowadays.
“[The Corpse Reviver] originated at the turn of the twentieth century, sometimes merely as the ‘reviver’ or ‘eye-opener’,” writes Ted Haigh in Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails. Quite simply, the drink is the hair of the dog of yesteryear. It has committed over 100 of service to hungover individuals, breathing life where ethanol fumes once lingered and restoring equilibrium and balance to mind and body.
The Corpse Reviver No.1 contains Italian Vermouth, Apple Brandy, and Brandy. According to Harry Craddock, the drink should be taken “before 11 a.m., or whenever steam and energy are needed.” Tell that to your boss next time you “need steam” and see what happens. It’s just another reminder that we were born in the wrong decade.
The Corpse Reviver No. 2 is the one you will most commonly encounter today. We think it’s a delight when made with Bluecoat gin, Vieux Carré Absinthe and Combier L’Original triple sec. Of this drink, Harry Craddock warns: “Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.”
Do bear this in mind as you make your rounds this Halloween.
CORPSE REVIVER NO.1
Adapted from the Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock
.75 oz Italian Vermouth
.75 oz Apple Brandy or Calvados
1.5 oz Brandy
Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.
CORPSE REVIVER NO. 2
Adapted from Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails
1 oz Bluecoat American gin
1 oz Combier L’Original Triple Sec
1 oz Liller Blanc
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1-3 drops Vieux Carre Absinthe
Shake in an iced cocktail shaker and strain into a chilled vintage cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.