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

Cocchi Americano

Cocchi Americano

 Cocchi Americano

I think we knew we were in trouble when we spent the better part of two years trying to track down a bottle of Cocchi Americano. On our first trip to San Francisco we dined at a restaurant in The Mission called Beretta. While there were many memorable aspects of that meal, the polenta fries and the meatballs are worth a return trip in themselves, it was a cocktail called The Old Pretender that caught D’s attention. D is a lifelong Rusty Nail drinker. He likes his heavy on the Drambuie in a 1:1 ratio with the scotch. The Old Pretender is Beretta’s twist on this old classic. D swears that the addition of the Cocchi Americano (pronounced coke-y), an Italian aperitif wine aromatized with orange peels, cinchona bark and a proprietary blend of herbs and spices, performs an alchemic reaction elevating the drink to new heights. And I must agree. While I tend to find D’s version of the Rusty Nail syrupy sweet and cloying, The Old Pretender is a beautifully balanced and nuanced drink with lovely citrus notes and surprising layers of spice.

Cocchi Americano

The Old Pretender

 

We should have snatched up a bottle while still in the Bay Area, unfortunately the airline’s exorbitant baggage fees meant that we were travelling with carry-on luggage and could not bring a bottle onto the plane. We arrived home and did some cursory searching, always returning empty handed. Not to worry, I thought to myself, I was secretly hoping that D would forget about the Cocchi and I could surprise him with a bottle for Christmas. Never one to leave a project to the last minute I started my search months before the winter holiday. I began with the provincial liquor stores and then moved on to the private distributors. Nada. The Liquor Board was not carrying the product and virtually no one I spoke to had even heard of Cocchi Americano. I put in a formal request with the BC Liquor Distribution Board and another at Legacy Liquor, Vancouver’s finest private liquor store and savior of this project, and then began the long wait.

A funny thing happened over the next year or so, while the product continued to be unavailable in the province, many of the local bartenders were starting to use the spirit in their cocktails. Cocchi AmericanoThese were never drinks that were on the menu, but libations provided only when we lamented the unattainability of the aperitif. It would seem that these dedicated individuals were bringing bottles back from their own travels and were willing to share with like-minded folk.

Mercifully Cocchi Americano became available here this past year – about 2 years after we started our search. It is fantastic in The Old Pretender but also a great substitute for Lillet Blanc when making classic cocktails. The recipe for Lillet (formerly known as Kina Lillet) was changed in 1986, reducing the amount of quinine and thus bitterness in the wine. Cocchi Americano offers more spice and bitterness and is our aperitif of choice when making The Twentieth Century Cocktail and The Corpse Reviver #2. But don’t believe us, try it for yourselves!

The Old Pretender

  • 2 ounces Famous Grouse Blended Scotch
  • ½ ounce Cocchi Americano
  • ¼ ounce Drambuie
  • Stir over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Cocchi Americano

 

Cocchi Info Source: http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2011/02/what-is-cocchi-aperitivo-americano-aperitif-cocktails-drinks.html

 

Video tutorial The Old Pretender: https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=602924901586