Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman

My Standard Bartender’s Guide (1959 edition) lists three separate corpse revivers, with #1 featuring brandy and vermouth, and #3 lemon, Pernod, and champagne. But #2 seems to get the most attention, because in all likelihood it’s the best. Its acidity is bracing, refreshing; the Lillet and Cointreau give it complexity and the gin gives it some punch.

Its name suggests that it is used to revivify one after over-imbibing, which is a good strategy in the short term, and not so much in the long. Evelyn Waugh had a concoction he called his “Noontime Reviver,” the recipe of which I am still seeking.

I wholly encourage this lovely cocktail at the appropriate evening hour for the reasons stated above; it’s an excellent cocktail. Most recipes for the drink call for a drop or two of absinthe, which would no doubt add an intriguing element, but having none on hand, I’m dispensing with it here.

My actual Friday cocktail hour today will most likely be inexpensive beer in the VIP tent out at Blossom Music Center, where the Dave Matthews Band performs tonight. I tend to relive my youth at these affairs and so, given that this body does not recover as it did in my halcyon collegiate days, I may very well be needing a Corpse Reviver #2 tomorrow.

Happy Friday, all!

Corpse Reviver #2

  • 1 ounce gin
  • 1 ounce Lillet Blanc
  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ounce Cointreau
  • 1 drop absinthe or pastis (optional)
  • Cherry, for garnish
  1. Add all ingredients except the cherry to a cocktail shaker; fill with ice and shake or swirl as you wish.
  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

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© 2014 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2014 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.