Corpse Reviver #2 + Lillet Blanc.

Prepare to be revivened.

Corpse Reviver #2.

Corpse Revivers were, once upon a time, a range of quite varied drinks that were hailed as hangover cures. Hence the name. As such most were pretty foul but one of them was really quite delicious – you guessed it – the one known as the number (or #) 2. While I’ve never tested it for its original purpose I can confidently report that this is a wonderfully crisp, beautifully balanced cocktail for more general use and one that always goes down well with guests. A close relative to the Aviation, the Corpse Reviver #2 is even simpler to put together thanks to its simple equal parts formula. It is also one of the few non-Martini drinks I would choose to serve in a Martini glass (along with the Aviation) because of the rather fetching effect gained from the cloudy yellow spirit with a glowing red cherry shining out from the base of the glass like a beacon through the fog. Preparation of the CR#2 starts off with an absinthe rinse. I always keep a spray bottle of absinthe handy for this as it’s just as effective as any other method as well as being quicker and less wasteful. Just spray a quick squirt evenly into a well chilled glass instead of the usual absinthe and ice swirling shenanigans. After that we shake hard equal quantities of fresh lemon juice, Cointreau, gin and Lillet Blanc and strain into the chilled and absinthey glass. Drop the cherry in last and it will gently roll into place and the base of the glass, there to wait as a little reward for the imbiber.

Lillet Blanc.

It is perhaps ironic that the favourite drink of Hannibal Lecter should be a key ingredient in the Corpse Reviver but don’t let that put you off. Lillet Blanc (Lee-Lay Blonk) is a lovely straw-coloured aperitif that works very well in cocktails and is especially civilised on a hot summers day with just some ice and a slice of fruit. A vermouth-like fortified wine from Bordeaux with hints of citrus, Lillet used to be tricky to come by but these days it seems to be fairly widely available. I highly recommend keeping a bottle in the fridge over the summer months for those impromptu picnics and barbecues. And Corpse Revivers.

Word is that your CR#2 will be even better if you can replace your Lillet Blanc with some Cocchi Americano which is much closer to the Kina Lillet that would originally have been used (Kina was reformulated into the milder Lillet Blanc in The Dark Ages). I can’t confirm that just yet as I’m still trying to track down a bottle of Cocchi. Also worth seeking out is Lillet Blanc Réserve but it’s far too good for mixing with.


Corpse Reviver #2.

1oz dry gin of choice

1oz Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano

1oz fresh lemon juice.

1oz Cointreau*

Shake hard with ice and strain into an absinthe coated chilled Martini glass.

Toast Raymond and Paul Lillet for creating this wonderful elixir for us in 1887. Maybe if we dig them up and give them a sip of this they could recreate the original formula for us?


* I used Bols triple sec which is almost indistinguishable from Cointreau, but don’t tell anyone.

I’ve always wondered what would happen if you drank a Zombie followed by a Corpse Reviver…

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