The Corpse Reviver #2

The Corpse Reviver #2

The Corpse Reviver #1

Occasionally we are presented with a recipe for a drink we know and love, as is the case with the Corpse Reviver #2. Bartenders frequently recommended this bevvy when we were new to cocktail culture, and it was one of the first classic cocktails that we learned to order by name. Now that I serve drinks professionally, I too rely on this recipe as a gateway for novices. The drink is at once accessible and complex. It contains both familiar ingredients – gin and orange liqueur, and less common spirits – absinthe and Lillet Blanc. It is refreshing yet potent and citrusy enough to placate patrons who insist that they do not care for gin.

Historically the term ‘corpse reviver’ was used to describe a group of cocktails – those proverbial hair-of-the-dog drinks designed to restore the constitution after an evening of debauchery. Most of these recipes have faded into obscurity, but the #2 has enjoyed a revival in the last decade and should be available in any respectable cocktail bar.

It is interesting to note how quickly the cocktail scene has changed. In his entry on the Corpse Reviver #2, Ted Haigh notes the difficulty of obtaining Lillet Blanc in certain markets. This was in 2009! D & I live in a notoriously barren market, but in 2016 Lillet Blanc can be found in even the most uninspired of liquor stores.

The Corpse Reviver #2

And while we’re on the topic of Lillet Blanc, it has been noted elsewhere on this blog that the recipe for this product was changed in 1986, reducing the amount of quinine and thus bitterness in the fortified wine. We frequently substitute Cocchi Americano in classic recipes calling for Lillet, which offers more spice and bitterness. For this entry we tried making renditions using both Lillet and Cocchi and found that while there were subtle differences, neither was a clear frontrunner. Feel free to use either product, especially if you are trying to conserve precious refrigerator space.

 

 

The Corpse Reviver #1Though the Corpse Reviver #2 has earned iconic status in classic cocktail culture we should note that the formula for one other Corpse Reviver still exists. Purportedly the original Corpse Reviver, the recipe is included in The Savoy Cocktail Book and contains calvados, brandy, and sweet vermouth. We only had cognac and a VSOP calvados on hand so our version was decidedly high-end, but we both agreed worth drinking. It wasn’t a runaway success, (I was tempted to add a dash of bitters or an Ardbeg mist), but it was certainly on par with some of the other forgotten cocktails we have explored.

The Corpse Reviver #1

The Corpse Reviver #1

D surprised me when he professed that while both Corpse Reviver versions are pleasing, neither is acceptable morning fare. He declared, “For reviving the corpse, I’d rather have a Caesar.” This shocked me, coming from Mr. Boozy, but D has a point. He doesn’t want complexity early in the day, just a long juicy, spicy, easy-drinking beverage possibly accompanied by pickles and a peperoni stick. But after 5pm, a Corpse Reviver always hits the spot.

The Corpse Reviver #2

  • .75 ounce gin
  • .75 ounce Cointreau
  • .75 ounce Lillet Blanc/Cocchi Americano
  • .75 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • Dash absinthe

Add a dash of absinthe to a chilled cocktail glass and swirl to coat the inside, discarding any excess. Shake the remaining ingredients over ice and strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with a cherry or a lemon twist.

The Corpse Reviver #1

  • 1.5 ounces Brandy
  • .75 ounces Calvados
  • .75 ounces sweet vermouth

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and stir until chilled. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with an orange twist.

The Corpse Reviver #2

The Corpse Reviver #2 Ingedients

Blue Moon

Blue Moon

Blue Moon

We are always excited when we come upon a recipe that allows us to use some of the more obscure ingredients in our collection. We are the proud owners of no less than four blue-tinged spirits boasting violet as a dominant flavor. We were overjoyed when Crème Yvette became available in our region and quickly snatched up a bottle, but the truth is that we have only found three or four cocktails that use the spirit. Similarly we purchased The Bitter Truth Violet while fantasizing of Aviations for years to come. Yet when we stumbled upon a bottle of the famed Crème de Violette on a recent trip to Hawaii we stood powerless before it and just had to bring it home. The Blue Moon-20We can’t seem to help ourselves…

Armed with an arsenal of floral liqueurs we were more than ready to try out this recipe. Because we thought the Yvette, with it’s vanilla-berry-floral notes to be more complex than its cousin Crème de Violette, we chose it to star in the Blue Moon. The Yvette also boasts a more viscous texture and pronounced sweetness that we thought would befit the drink. The downside of using Yvette is that the finished cocktail is purple rather than a sky blue.

The Blue Moon is a pleasant drink; each sip seems to offer more nuances of the Yvette, which keeps me returning. The citrus is present but doesn’t dominate. Blue MoonThe palate receives fruity notes of berry and lemon but the finish is floral without being soapy.

The drink is too subtle for D, who says, “It tastes like gin.” While I disagree I do understand where he’s coming from. The Algonquin, for instance, lost all distinction on my palate – all I tasted was rye. Not all drinks suit all palates; this is part of what makes cocktailing fun. That being said our tastes do evolve with patience and practice. As D nursed his drink he did start to find the Yvette both on the nose and the finish.

Never let it be said, dear reader, that we do a thing halfway. We may only have 3 followers but we want to make sure that you are fully informed. With that in mind we attempted a second version of this drink starring the aforementioned Crème de Violette. It was a hit. D much preferred the color and he liked the floral nose.Blue Moon It was much less subtle, but sometimes you need to be smacked in the face with flavor. As with the Aviation if you like a sweeter drink feel free to add a teaspoon of simple syrup to the mix.

The Blue Moon is not as multifaceted as The Aviation and given the choice between the two I would always choose the latter. But don’t let that deter you from giving this cocktail a shot. All in the name of the game…

The Blue Moon

  • 2 ounces gin
  • .5 ounce Crème de Violette or Crème Yvette
  • .5 ounce fresh lemon juice

Shake over ice. Strain. Garnish with a lemon twist and a cherry.

Blue Moon Ingredients

Blue Moon Ingredients

 

 

 

 

 

The Blackthorn

The Blackthorn

The Blackthorn

I was curious about this cocktail, largely because I really wanted to try the kirschwasser. We have several cherry-based spirits in our liquor cabinet and I wondered how this would compare. The BlackthornAs with any new product we bring into the house, we tasted it on its own before using it as a cocktail ingredient. We discovered that kirschwasser is exceptionally dry, almost like a cherry grappa, and not at all like its sweeter cousins: maraschino, cherry heering, or Luxardo morlacco. I continued to be intrigued.

 

Once mixed the cocktail, which donned an enticing ruby hue, had a lovely nose, reminiscent of a pinot noir rosé or of a summer sangria, with red fruit dominating. We found the palate, however, to be governed by the gin. I actually found that the kirschwasser made the gin more pronounced, rather than balancing it out. As the cocktail warmed up (is a cocktail supposed to warm up?), the drink mellowed, with the cherry notes increasing on the nose and the Dubonnet emerging on the palate. Whilst I attempted to coax some thoughts from D regarding The Blackthrorn, he reached for Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails and thumbed ahead to the next libation, The Blinker, declaring: “I’m gonna love The Blinker. I hate grapefruit and I’m not crazy about raspberry, but for one week The Blinker will be on my top 5 list!” It would seem that five gin cocktails in succession is D’s limit. Incidentally, D also demanded that I stop using the word ‘libation,’ declaring it to be “pretentious.” Sheesh. I’d like to see him come up with seven synonyms for ‘cocktail.’ The Blackthorn

Ted Haigh notes that The Blackthorn is a sister cocktail to The Amarosa, which regrettably, we have yet to try. Our search for Amaro Cora weighs on us. Damn you, Amaro Cora! D keeps threatening to buy a 30-year-old bottle off an auction site for an outrageous price but I have, thus far, reigned him in. As for The Blackthorn it is a pretty little thing that shows well but lacks pizazz on the palate. The lemon zest and cherry garnish help to reinforce the subtle flavors of the drink itself.

 

The Blackthorn Cocktail

  • 2 ounces gin
  • .75 ounce Dubonnet Rouge
  • .75 ounce Kirschwasser

Stir over ice. Strain. Garnish with a cherry and a lemon twist.

The Blackthorn

The Blackthorn ingredients

The Bebbo

The Bebbo Cocktail

The Bebbo Cocktail

The Bebbo Cocktail

The “B” section of Vintage Spirits and Forgotten cocktails lists 5 gin cocktails in a row, distinguished only by subtle variations. While I profess myself to be a gin drinker, I am also enormously fond of variety, and am starting to wish that the beverages were organized under some methodology other than alphabetization.

That being said, The Bebbo has its merits. It is a light, refreshing, tart, citrusy yet subtle concoction. This is the kind of cocktail recipe that is good to have in your repertoire as just about anyone with even a basic bar will have these ingredients on hand. Furthermore with only 1 ½ ounces of spirit The Bebbo is on the lighter side for a classic cocktail, making it a worthy libation to serve when trying to keep the party in hand, family gatherings for instance.

We tried this recipe two ways, the first with Broker’s Gin and a navel orange, the second with Aviation Gin and a blood orange. Both versions bowled us over with real orange flavor, so different from the synthetic essence of say, orange-flavored gin. D favored the latter version as he gravitates toward the drier, less floral aroma of the Aviation Gin. While I enjoyed both versions, I must admit that the pink hue afforded by the blood orange was stunning.

Blood Orange Bebbo

Blood Orange Bebbo

I would be interested in trying this recipe with a ruby red grapefruit or with a meyer lemon in the future.

D described The Bebbo as “an improved mimosa” (D is not fond of champagne) and as “a summertime drink!” For my part I have always associated citrus with winter, perhaps because my family used to buy crates of fresh Florida oranges and grapefruit each December. Incidentally, my Dad uses these same ingredients in toddy form to soothe cold and flu symptoms. In youth, I remember playing up my cough before bedtime just to get my hands on some of this elixir!

The Bebbo Cocktail

  • 1.5 ounces gin (feel free to experiment)
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • .5 ounce honey (heated to liquid)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh orange juice (blood orange is nice)

Shake over ice. Strain. Garnish with an orange twist.

The Bebbo Cocktail ingredients

The Bebbo Cocktail ingredients

The Bebbo, while not as complex as many of the libations in this book, is an example of simplicity at it’s finest. I will most certainly recreate (and probably reinvent) this cocktail for years to come.

The “Barnum Was Right” Cocktail

Barnum (Was Right) Cocktail

Barnum Was Right Cocktail

I’ll be the first to admit that I have developed a certain snobbery towards cocktails in general, and cocktail ingredients more specifically. Looking at the recipe for the Barnum (Was Right) Cocktail I had foreordained that this libation would be nothing special, simply a recipe we would try for the sake of the project, hereafter never to be reproduced.

My indifference turned to pure disillusionment when D returned home with a bottle of Bols Apricot Brandy (see snobbery above).

Bols Apricot Brandy

Bols Apricot Brandy

I have worked in my fair share of dive bars over the years and this particular line of Technicolor Bols products brings to mind images of barely-legal coeds attempting to get drunk on multilayered Skittles shots.

The problem D encountered when shopping for an apricot brandy was that while there are several craft apricot liqueurs on the market, none but the Bols declared itself a brandy. This raises the ever-present question of authenticity when it comes to reproducing the drinks in Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails. What was available when this recipe was created and how does it differ from the products on the market today? I suspect that the craft products D rejected were likely closer in production and flavor than the liqueur he chose. Some of these craft products were likely distilled from pure apricot juice that may have resulted in a more faithful apricot taste than the Bols “brandy,” which on further inspection contains water, sugar, alcohol, apricot juice, flavors, cognac, color, and citric acid.

The Barnum Was Right Cocktail

To further complicate matters there is the ever-nagging question of cost. Does one take a risk and buy a seventy dollar 500ml bottle of a craft spirit with zero knowledge of how the product was made and how it tastes, or simply buy the cheap mass-market brand that you already know tastes like Jell-O? I’m not even going to attempt to answer these questions here but I felt a need to raise them as, so far, product selection has been our biggest obstacle.

All of this aside, the resultant cocktail was a pleasant surprise. Despite an entire ounce of the apricot brandy it is not too sweet. The gin (we used Broker’s here) dominated the foreground with a mellow apricot flavor bringing up the rear.Burnum Was Right February 12, 2014 019-19-Edit-4

The Angostura bitters tied the spirits together, balancing the drink. It is easy drinking, perhaps to the point of peril. D declared “a few of these and you’ll find yourself swinging from a trapeze!”  Overall it is an unintimidating and simple drink that I would feel comfortable serving a cocktail novice.

Barnum (Was Right) Cocktail

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1 ounce apricot brandy
  • .5 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Shake over ice. Strain. Garnish with a lemon twist.

The Barnum Was Right Cocktail ingredients

The Barnum Was Right Cocktail ingredients