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

The Communist

The Communist

The Communist

This simple cocktail with a strange name is charming in a girl-next-door kind of way. The ingredients are accessible and humble, but if I’m going to be perfectly honest, I want to dress them up a bit. The foremost tasting note is juicy, not surprising given that it contains orange, lemon, and cherry. And juicy can be fun – it’s certainly an easy sell – but in this instance it reads as one-note. Cherry Heering has a beautiful nutty tone, which could be enhanced with the addition of bitters. Moreover the gin could easily be swapped out for a bolder base-spirit – rye jumps to mind as it is spicy and decidedly not sweet.

The CommunistBut that’s not the game we play here. We make the cocktails as faithfully as possible and evaluate them as such. That this drink is a great base recipe open to modification is simply this girl’s opinion. As written, the cocktail would make a nice addition to a brunch menu, or would be lovely sipped on a patio near the beach. But is it memorable enough to warrant inclusion in this book?

D, rarely a fan of juicy bevvies, finds The Communist to be acidic. He declares, “If I was trying to fight off scurvy this would be easy drinking!” He also notes that the portion size is small and suggests making a recipe and a half to fill a cocktail glass.

 

One does wonder at the name of this drink. Unfortunately Haigh offers little in the way of information, offering only that the original recipe first appeared in the 1933 cocktail pamphlet, Cocktail Parade. Haigh’s lack of elaboration, combined with the uninspired results of the recipe, leave us feeling that this drink was included simply to fill a page. No offense to the girl next door, but when it comes to cocktails, vixens only need apply.

The Communist Ingedients

The Communist Ingedients

The Coffee Cocktail

The Coffee Cocktail

 Coffe Cocktail-2

Due to our insistence on recreating the drinks in Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails in the order they are presented in the book, this is the second shockingly pink cocktail in a row. For that we apologize.

That being said, this is the finer of the pink-hued concoctions. Let’s just get this out of the way right at the top: The Coffee Cocktail contains no coffee. Sorry to all the caffeine freaks out there, D included, looking for a little buzz with their buzz. Purportedly the cocktail is so named because it looks like coffee when properly created. Perhaps it is just the brand of ruby port we settled on but I have yet to come across a coffee of this color, even in the day of flavored Frappuccinos. But let’s get over this whole pigment thing – it’s all about the taste, right?

The recipe for this drink calls for two to three ounces of ruby port. For the first attempt we settled on 2 ½ ounces, which seemed a little out of balance.

Six grapes Port

The Coffee Cocktail

The second time around we used 2 ounces, resulting in a harmony between the brandy (in our case cognac) and the port. We also found that the cocktail had a much more homogeneous composition and a nice frothy top if we gave the ingredients a little blitz with a hand blender before shaking it over ice.

The Coffee Cocktail has several things going for it. It has a nice, milky texture, yet contains no dairy. It has a lovely, spicy aroma from the nutmeg with flavors of cherry and candied fruit. It immediately conjures a festive, holiday feel. Plus with the inclusion of a whole egg it practically qualifies as a protein shake!

Unlike the Chatham Hotel Special, which contained similar ingredients and had an analogous appearance, we can see ourselves imbibing The Coffee Cocktail again. It would make a nice brunch bevvy or mid-afternoon pick-me-up, both of which serve to confirm that the drink is aptly named.

The Coffee Cocktail

  • 1 ounce brandy (we used cognac)
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 ounces ruby port
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • nutmeg (for garnish)

Place all ingredients in a shaker. If available give them a blitz with a hand blender (alternatively dry shake the container before adding ice.) Add ice and shake well. Strain into a chalice or Irish coffee glass. Top with freshly grated nutmeg.

The Coffee Cocktail ingedients

The Coffee Cocktail ingedients

The Calvados Cocktail

The Calvados Cocktail

Calvados Cocktail

Calvados Cocktail

Who says drinking can’t be healthy? The Calvados cocktail contains both apples and oranges. I feel practically saint-like making this drink – almost as if I’m shaking up a salad! With the addition of a whopping ¾ ounce of bitters this bevvy has to have some health benefits, right? Right…?

At the very least this cocktail should succeed in elevating your mood, as spirits are known to do. The base here is Calvados, an apple brandy from the Normandy region of France. Calvados is a spirit I like a lot; it is strong but mellow with a pleasant apple finish. It is commonly found in the Widow’s Kiss cocktail, one of my all-time favorites.

D bought Cara Cara oranges for the juice component and when we cut in to them we were surprised to find pink flesh. However the peels were bursting with orange oil and the aroma was heavenly, so while the color was affected the taste was not.

Calvados Cocktail

Calvados Cocktail

We had several types of orange bitters on hand: Angostura, which is spicy and woody; Fee Brothers, which is bright and intensely orange; and Regans’, which is more bitter and less citrusy. For the first round I chose Angostura and D opted for Fee’s. Both versions of the cocktail were surprisingly bitter, though in a way that most cocktail enthusiasts should find pleasant.

Reading through the ingredients list we both expected this libation to be sweet, yet it is not. The Angostura version was very woody, “like gnawing on a pencil,” said D. The Fee’s variation was more pleasing and gentle. Both drinks presented pine, wood, and caramel, though in different proportions. Ted Haigh hits the nail on the head when he compares the Calvados Cocktail to an orange Negroni. Perhaps the only disappointment was the near absence of apple flavor. Neither of us is sure we would recognize the base spirit as Calvados if presented the drink in a blind tasting.

We were curious about Haigh’s use of Cointreau versus the more common-to-the-era Curacao but suspected it was probably deliberately chosen because of its higher sugar content. But true to our nature, we just had to try a Curacao variation. This time we used a Naval orange and a 50/50 mix of Fee’s and Regans’ bitters with great success. This version is much more mellow, with less wood and a greater marriage of ingredients. Both the orange and the apple are present, much to our delight.

The Calvados Cocktail is definitely a keeper, it is juicy without being sweet and a great introduction to bitter cocktails for the uninitiated. We are glad that we took the time to try several different versions, proving as always that the ingredients determine the quality of the cocktail.

The Calvados Cocktail

  • 1.5 ounces Calvados (we used a VSOP)
  • 1.5 ounces fresh orange juice, strained
  • .75 ounce Cointreau or Curacao
  • .75 ounce orange bitters (blend several if you have them)

Shake over ice. Strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange wheel or twist.

Calvados Cocktail ingredients

Calvados Cocktail ingredients

The Brooklyn Cocktail

The Brooklyn Cocktail

The Brooklyn Cocktail

The Brooklyn Cocktail

This is perhaps a familiar refrain, dear reader, but the Brooklyn cocktail contains an ingredient, Amer Picon, that is not available in our fair nation. Nevertheless, the Brooklyn, subbing Punt e Mes for the French bitter aperitif, is frequently featured on menus in our vicinity. D, who likes his drinks “big, brown, and boozy” is a huge fan of this, (and the myriad other) Manhattan variations.

As such the Brooklyn was one of the first cocktails we barrel aged. And to be perfectly frank, those drinks, while fun experiments, were overly oaked. D loved them, I tolerated them, but as we had made them in fairly large quantities, we felt the need to imbibe them.

Stirring up a fresh Brooklyn for this project reminded me just how wonderful this bevvy is (and confirmed that we probably should not be barrel aging spirits that have already been barrel aged prior to bottling – there’s a huge learning curve folks!)

The Brooklyn Cocktail

Torani Amer

The Brooklyn works just fine with Punt e Mes, though we are lucky enough to have procured a bottle of Torani Amer, an American spirit inspired by the aforementioned French liquor, on a recent trip to Oregon. Torani Amer presents intense orange notes, redolent of Cointreau, with a pleasant bitterness and a less syrupy quality than the Italian vermouth. Additionally, at 39% ABV it is shelf-stable, making it a welcome addition to our liquor collection.

The resultant Brooklyn is a bold cocktail that I would recommend to anyone wanting a change from the familiar Old Fashioned or Manhattan. “It’s a sexy beast,” says D, “with all the best aspects of spirit: strength, sweetness, bitterness, and a hint of fruit.” D believes the Brooklyn would outsell the Manhattan if it were better known. For my part I am grateful that there is room for both cocktails in our repertoire.

We should add here that we did stumble across a bottle of bonafide Amer Picon at a local cocktail bar one evening. Sitting on a shelf, in plain view, sat this glorious illegal alien. D could barely contain his glee as he requested a “true” Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Cocktail

The Brooklyn Cocktail

Unfortunately the spirit, which comes in at a mere 21% ABV, was old and had been left at room temperature for goodness knows how many months. Mixed into a cocktail it fell flat. And thus continues our search for yet another hard to procure spirit!

The Brooklyn Cocktail

  • 2 ounces rye or bourbon
  • ¾ ounce dry vermouth
  • 2 teaspoons Amer Picon (sub Torani Amer or Punt e Mes)
  • 2 teaspoons Luxardo Maraschino

Stir over ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. I like to expel orange oil from a twist and discard. Garnish with a cherry.

The Brooklyn Cocktail

The Brooklyn Cocktail ingredients

Brandy Crusta

Brandy Crusta

Brandy Crusta

Brandy Crusta

If it seems like a while since we posted a bevvy from Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails it has been. Summer caught us off-guard and we have allowed ourselves the distraction of side-projects and travels. But never fear, we will conquer all the recipes in this book, it is a marathon not a sprint.

The Brandy Crusta is a cocktail we have enjoyed before so we knew we were in for a treat. However the recipe caused some degree of uncertainty. Haigh calls for ½ teaspoon of fresh lemon juice but it is unclear whether it is only to aid in creating the sugar rim or whether the juice should be added to the mix. We researched other Crusta recipes and decided on including the lemon juice.

The mixed concoction is an attractive drink, visually and on the palate. It is balanced and strong but diluted enough by the crushed ice not to burn.

Brandy Crusta Cognac

Brandy Crusta Cognac

The curacao is in the background, offering pleasant hints of orange, while the lemon from the zest and juice takes the lead. The sugar rim keeps the drink from being too tart while allowing a degree of personalization as regards the sweetness level.

D, who likes his drinks on the strong side, would not add the ice cube to the strained drink in the future. For my part I felt the slowly melting ice made this bold drink more approachable with each sip. Both of us agreed that it would be fun to try a variation using an orange twist in place of the lemon to highlight the curacao.

Haigh notes that the Crusta, dating from 1862, is patriarch of the Sidecar and Margarita family. The recipe seems to reflect its heritage, it is simple without being simplistic and austere yet still pleasant. I look forward to recreating this cocktail mid-winter while sitting in front of a roaring fire and watching snow (or in our case rain) fall from the sky. This is the kind of drink that warms your from the inside.

Brandy Crusta

  • 1 lemon
  • ½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • sugar
  • 2 ounces cognac
  • 1 teaspoon orange curacao
  • 1 dash Angostura bitters

Start by rimming a glass with sugar by first dipping the lip in lemon juice and then sugar. Next, using a vegetable peeler remove a large swath of zest from the lemon. Line the interior of the glass with the zest. Add remaining ingredients to a shaker of crushed ice and shake until frosty. Strain into your prepared glass. If desired add one small cube of ice to the completed drink.

Brandy Crusta Ingredients

Brandy Crusta Ingredients