Moral Turpitude.

Who you lookin’ at numbnuts?

Moral Turpitude – a drink with an attitude problem.

Since we’re over all that reduced alcohol nonsense (honestly I really don’t know what came over me there) and since we’ve been discussing aviation, I think we need to have a little talk about moral turpitude. Wha? Those who have taken a flight to the USA in the past might fondly remember the (now sadly extinct) green card that had to be filled in on the plane.

Exhibit A

It was a magnificently pointless exercise. For example: question C – are you a spy? How many answers are there to that question really? I always wanted to tick “yes” and scribble “but not a very good one” next to it but Mrs Proof wouldn’t let me. Probably just as well. But question B is by far my favourite – how many Americans, let alone foreign visitors, have ever heard of a “crime of moral turpitude”. On top of this you have to declare your ‘tude before departure but they only tell you about it once you’re halfway across the Atlantic. Genius stuff this. But hang on, moral turpitude? That sounds like a name for a cocktail to me! And starting with the name is always the best way to go in my book. What should be in it? Some European stuff and some American stuff would be a good starting point – a veritable transatlantic melting pot of booze. In my experience simply taking a bunch of your favourite ingredients and mixing them together rarely works but in this happy case I think it has. To be honest it took a lot of tinkering with but I think it was worth the effort. The Moral Turpitude is a stirred whiskey drink that plys a route somewhere between the Manhattan and the Negroni. It’s a grown-up drink which demands to be treated with some respect and is certainly not for the faint of heart. I left the balance a touch on the bitter side, moderated ever so slightly with an essential spoonful of that king of the orange liqueurs – Grand Marnier. Picking an alternate amaro to the Nonino can be an interesting exercise (Montenegro works well) but the Punt e Mes is the only vermouth you should use as all others lack the crucial bitter element. Try another bourbon if you must but be warned; in my opinion only the kickin’ chicken has what it takes to stand its ground in this mix.


Moral Turpitude.

1.5oz Wild Turkey 101 bourbon.

0.75oz Amaro Nonino.

0.5oz Punt e Mes vermouth.

1 teaspoon (5ml) Grand Marnier.

2 dashes Peychaud’s bitters.

Stir with ice and strain into a DOF glass containing an iceberg of clear ice.

Garnish with a twist of lemon peel.

Toast the mystery bureaucrat who came up with this gem of in-flight entertainment.


 

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The Aviation.

Aviation – Savoy/Proof version.

The Aviation – one name, two drinks.

The Aviation is a cocktail that is very close to my heart. I shook up my first one in 1998 in the dying days of The Dark Ages and I’ve made more of these than any other cocktail by a considerable margin. Not because it’s my favourite but because it’s everyone else’s favourite. While, now and then, I might wish my guests would ask for something different I don’t hold it against them as the Aviation is a quite wonderful drink. But it’s a drink with a split personality. Let me explain.

The Aviation is an old drink. Created by Hugo Ensslin in New York and first published in his 1916 book Recipes for Mixed Drinks this would make the Aviation as old as, well, aviation itself. Almost. Clearly Hugo named it after the most exciting new technology of the day. If he was repeating the exercise today this drink would be called the Galaxy S8. Hmmmm. Hugo’s Aviation comprised 1.5oz gin, 0.75oz. lemon juice, 2 dashes maraschino liqueur, and 2 dashes crème de violette (you can consider old school liqueur dashes to be about an eighth of an ounce). Maraschino is an Italian liqueur made from the stones of Marasca cherries and was a common sweetener in early cocktails. Crème de violette is an elusive French liqueur made from violets which is intensely violet and violetty.

As far as we know the Aviation really took off (see what I did there?) after it was included in Harry Craddock’s massively influential Savoy Cocktail Book of 1930. But there was a problem. Harry got the recipe wrong, or perhaps changed it deliberately. Some have theorised that he skipped the crème de violette as it was by then unavailable. That idea doesn’t wash as the recipe right above it contains that very liqueur. Whatever the reason Harry’s two parts gin to one part lemon juice with two dashes of maraschino liqueur (1.5oz, 0.75oz, 0.25oz) became the de facto recipe for another seventy odd years taking us right through The Dark Ages and well into the Revival. By then there was an interest in the old recipe books and Ensslin’s recipe was rediscovered. This was superb timing because, at just about the same time, the long-extinct crème de violette came back on the market. Thus the older recipe was resurrected and behold! the violette bestowed upon it a pale sky blue colour and verily were many palms slapped to many foreheads and much was the word “doh!” to be proclaimed. And some said “This is the true Aviation, returned from seven and seventy years in the wilderness, and all others are but a heresy!” and others said “The Aviation of my fathers and my fathers’ fathers is the True Aviation and we know this for it is the Word of Craddock and is Written in the Book of Craddock!” Some other heretics, who still couldn’t fine any crème de violette, used other liqueurs (creme Yvette or parfait d’amour) instead. What a mess!

The Grey-viation?

So now what? Well first up let’s ditch the substitutions – it’s got to be crème de violette or nothing. But the truth is that crème de violette is a powerful and distinctive flavour which not everyone likes and can be quite dominant. I find that if you use enough of it to attain the pleasant sky blue colour it takes over the drink. If you use less of it you end up with a balanced but rather grey looking drink. Of course it could be that another brand of violette might improve matters but the truth is that creme de violette still isn’t that easy to find. In any case my preference is to go with Harry’s recipe and boost the maraschino content to cover the loss of the violette (which left it too tart). Besides, I have another drink that better showcases crème de violette, of which more soon.

The choice is entirely yours but below I present my “house” version which, in my experience, eight out of ten cats prefer.


The Aviation.

2oz London dry gin (I like Bombay Sapphire in my Aviation).

1oz fresh lemon juice.

0.75oz maraschino liqueur* (Luxardo).

Shake hard with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Drop in one cocktail cherry†.

Toast Hugo and Harry.


For the 1916 version replace 0.25oz of the maraschino with creme de violette.

*Note that this should never be replaced by other cherry liqueurs or second rate versions. As far as I’m aware only Luxardo or Stock maraschino are up to the job. Thankfully Luxardo is widely available these days.

†We’ll be talking about cocktail cherries soon. Watch this space.

 

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Reduced alcohol drinks #3 – Sixteen Rum.

Italian Irn Bru?

Sixteen Rum.

In this third and final quickfire low alcohol series we stick with the Italian theme. Italian food and drink culture is big on flavour yet they still have a pretty healthy relationship with alcohol. That’s why the desire for a lower alcohol version of Campari gave rise to Aperol, which we used in the Galileo. Italian drinking is also very structured: with lunch a spritz or Americano, before dinner an aperitivo, with dinner wine, after dinner the digestivo. Apparently the 11% Aperol was still a bit too heavy on the alcohol and thus was born the effervescent 0% aperitivo, Crodino. Unusual stuff this, bittersweet and pleasantly herbal it comes in a tiny, tiny little 100ml bottles (we don’t want to dull our appetite do we now?) It’s tasty enough on its own but it seems a little lonely in a glass. To me this just must be the basis for our last low octane drink. A little internet research throws up an interesting sounding Crodino based mixed drink called the Sixteen Rum. Yes, from a shoe website. Seriously, you can’t make this shit up. Word has it some Italian Count “served this drink to attract young and fashionable guests to his home.” Is it just me or does this sound a bit dodgy, especially considering the drink’s name? Hmmm. But anyway, Rum, right! Let’s do this!

The quantities of rum and vermouth are just as miniature as those little bottles so this will stay well within our brief, coming in at 12.6ml of pure ethanol. Just about exactly the same as our small beer benchmark. I love the idea of this – it’s just so, I don’t know, dinky. Which is all very well but is it any good? Well, yes. Quite delightful in fact. Unlike the Galileo it won’t quite convince you that you’ve had a proper drink but it comes remarkably close. It would make an excellent lunch, brunch or pre-dinner drink in the vein of the Americano. Neither of the recipes I found specified exactly which rum to use so we should take that as a licence to experiment. My first effort – Captain Morgan’s Jamaican/Black – worked rather nicely. Further experiments will follow. Being “built” in the glass makes it an easy drink to prepare – especially for a larger number of guests. Perhaps it would be an idea to put the rum, vermouth, ice and slice in their glasses and give them the little bottles of Crodino to pour in themselves? If so make sure a stirring implement is included.

If your supermarket doesn’t stock Crodino you should be able to find it at any Italian specialist/deli. If you make this one at home be sure to lock the front door first, so as not to get mobbed by underage drinkers in fancy shoes.


Sixteen Rum.

0.75oz rum of choice.

0.75oz Italian vermouth.

100ml bottle of Crodino.

Mix in glass with plenty of ice.

Drop in a slice of orange or lemon.

Toast the Italians – masters of the aperitivo.


 

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Reduced alcohol drinks #2 – The Galileo.

Thunderbolts and lightning, very, very frightening…

Inventing Galileo.

Part one of our reduced alcohol cocktail series was a simple substitution exercise so I think we need to dig a bit deeper and come up with a genuinely original low proof drink. I’d like to create something that is as satisfying as a full strength drink yet has a similar alcohol content to a small beer. To give you some insight into the creation of a from-scratch recipe I’ll describe the process involved. Or you can save your sanity and skip right to the recipe.

Line up every bottle I’ve got that’s under 20%ABV on the counter. Stare at them for about half an hour and thoughtfully twiddle with beard. What flavours might work together? What about sweet/sour balance? Has that combination been tried before? Too close to an existing cocktail? What will the final colour be like? Next I try some combinations in very small amounts shaken with a little ice. Hmmmm – dry white port and Aperol are quite nice together but they need something more. How about as a base for a sour style drink? So I add lemon juice to the list. Now we’ll need some sweetness to bring it back into balance. Sugar syrup? Sure, that would work but can we do better? Well I’ve got some elderflower liqueur that’s not getting much use, let’s give that a go. With the lemon juice as an ingredient this will have to be a shaken drink and it should have a nice red colour so let’s serve it “up” in a nice vintage glass. I try an ounce of each as a starting point. Not bad at all. It’s got a nice flavour balance, you get the bittersweet of the Aperol tamed a little by the lemon and some nice floral notes from the elderflower. The distinctive bite of the white port takes a moment longer to come in which gives a nice double-take effect to the drink. But it’s too sweet. Clearly too much elderflower liqueur. I should have seen that up front. I try again with less of it and I’m pretty happy with the result. I could tinker with the proportions but something tells me I’d end up back at this mix. Does it taste like a proper cocktail despite the weaker ingredients? Very much so (score!). Is it too close to a Paper Plane? Well they look alike but there are only two shared components so I think I’m safe to call it my own. Garnish? I settle on lemon peel but I’ll try something different with it. My lemon “kebab” should mean there is plenty of surface area to waft lemon oils into the drinker’s schnozzle. Right, we’re almost there but we’ll need a name for it. For once I’m stumped. I check my long list of prospective cocktail names (yes, I know). Firefly? I google it and it already exists. Damn – scratch that one off. Where is Aperol from? Ask Wikipedia. Padua, Italy. Anyone else from there? Galileo taught at the university. Sorted – looks like we have a new cocktail. In this case I also want to work out the alcohol content in ml of ethanol. I multiply the quantity (in ml) of each component by its ABV and add them up. 13.8ml. Just over the target of 12.5ml (the equivalent of 250ml of 5% beer). I can live with that. And that’s how I spend my evenings. Sad, isn’t it?


Galileo.

1oz dry white port (20%ABV).

1oz Aperol (11%ABV).

1oz fresh lemon juice.

0.75oz elderflower liqueur* (20%ABV).

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled champagne coupé.

Garnish with a lemon “kebab” or a strip of lemon peel.

Toast Galileo Galilei for inventing science. And being a useful Paduan.


*I used Fiorente which may be less sweet that other brands. If using another brand, such as St. Germain, start with 0.5oz.

 

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Reduced alcohol drinks #1 – Toy Scooper.

Toy Scooper.

Low booze booze.

It’s hard work being a cocktail blogger. A lot of experimentation and fine tuning is involved and while a true professional would cast his failures down the drain my inner Scotsman seems to deny me this option. The sacrifices I make for you guys… All of this leads to an alcohol consumption that is somewhat over the government sanctioned units-per-week line. The fact that neither my country of origin nor my country of residence actually possess a functional government would seem invalidate those limits for the time being. This lack of guidelines may have lead me to get a bit carried away recently so perhaps it’s time to explore the world of low proof cocktails.

As anyone who has tried to make an orange juice Old Fashioned will attest, it is a difficult task to make a satisfying sipping drink without the use of the spirit component. Perhaps there is a distant corner of our brain that realises that alcohol is a potentially dangerous substance to ingest and forces us to slow down and savour it in small doses. Or perhaps it is something to do with the physical properties of ethanol itself. If there are any biochemists reading this please feel free to chip in. At any rate there is little available to us to emulate the body, mouth-feel and sating properties of our usual base spirits. Some cocktailiens have attempted to reduce the potency of cocktails by using lower ABV ingredients such as wine, port and vermouth as base ingredients with, in my opinion, mixed success.

Always on the lookout for mixable liquids I’ve been messing with one of the latest raft of health fad products – coconut water. It’s peculiar stuff – kind of sweet and salty at the same time without really being either. And it has an interesting silky texture that you could almost call body. I wonder. So I tried replacing half of the rum in a classic Daiquiri (much of my experimentation starts with a Daiquiri). Now it’s not often this happens but the first experiment was bang on – the low-octane Daiquiri was great. You’d hardly know you were drinking a paltry 12ml* of ethanol and you even get some more complex notes from the coconut water as a bonus. While more experimentation is needed (can we use coconut water in place of other spirits?) I think this first one is good enough to present here.

So what will I call this? A loooooong time ago I worked with a guy who divided all of humanity into those who drank a lot (approved of) whom he called “top scoopers” and those who didn’t (looked down upon), the “toy scoopers”. Aha.

And, of course, all the top scoopers can now have twice as many…


Toy Scooper.

1oz white rum (such as Havana Club 3 Añjos or Plantation 3 Stars).

1oz coconut water (as close to 100% as possible, no added sugar or flavourings).

0.75oz fresh lime juice.

0.5oz sugar syrup (1:1) adjusted to taste.

Shake well with ice and strain into a chilled champagne coupé.

Toast all the “toy scoopers” in the world.


Make teetotal guests a Nada Scooper by replacing all the rum with coconut water but don’t invite them back. Although, to be honest, even that is pretty damn tasty.

*less than half a pint of 5%ABV beer.

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White Negroni

It’s a nice day for a White Negroni (yea-ah).

 

White Negroni.

Last week was international Negroni week and Negroni‘s are red. But we don’t like to colour inside the lines, do we? Nah, didn’t think so. So here we are with the White Negroni. If you’ve not already noticed there is something of a Negroni craze underway (our favourite restaurant has a Negroni menu FFS) and I’m having a bit of a problem with it. You see I’d love to get all indignant about it and tell you that only the original recipe (equal parts gin, Italian vermouth and Campari) is valid and that all these crazy impostor versions are just a silly fad. The problem is that many of them, although by no means all, are very, very good. For example the Mezcal Negroni (sub gin for good [no worm] mezcal) is, frankly Mr Shankly, simply mind blowing. Tinkering with the base spirit and type of vermouth is one thing but ditching the Campari is surely beyond the pale. And yet here we are. Something of a modern classic, the White Negroni even dares to replace the key ingredient with another bitter component and – mamma mia! – it’s not even Italian. Suze is a French bittersweet aperitif which I might hesitate to call an amaro but is certainly a close relative. Suze might be a bit one dimensional but, sacrebleu, what a dimension! The principal flavour is gentian, a powerful floral bittering agent found in many other amari but in this case it stands pretty much alone. Suze dials the gentian up to 11, tasting kind of like Lillet Blanc on steroids. Speaking of which, the White Negroni uses Lillet itself as the vermouth replacement and also brings along some citrus notes to boot. It’s a drink that really shouldn’t work but somehow does and still somehow manages to not, not be a Negroni. This white version has become quite widespread of late – perhaps due to the simple proportions and ease of production – and any cocktail bar worthy of the name should be able to whip one up for you. It seems to me that this upstart is here to stay. And very welcome it is too. For most of the year I’m very happy with my classic Negroni but in the heat of summer I’m inclined to go for its paler twin. At least for a couple of weeks.

Research indicates the White Negroni was created in 2001 by Wayne Collins to showcase Plymouth gin and French (rather than Italian) ingredients. Soon after it made its way to Audrey Sanders’ Pegu Club in New York via Plymouth brand ambasssador Simon Ford and thus into the heart of the nascent cocktail renaissance.


White Negroni

1.25oz gin (Plymouth if you have any).

1.25oz Suze.

1.25oz Lillet Blanc.

Stir with ice. Strain into a DOF glass containing one large block of clear ice.

Garnish with a slice of grapefruit or lemon peel.

Toast Wayne, Simon and Audrey; the chain that brought us the White Negroni.


Note that with the equal parts recipe you can go anywhere between and ounce and an ounce and a half of each. If you find it a bit too bitter try a 2:1:1 ratio which is often used.

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Southside + double straining

Gangsta style.

 

Southside + double straining.

The Southside, like the Daiquiri and the Gimlet, is an exercise in balance between lime and sugar but with an added element – mint. Yes, it’s a simple affair but a delicious one as well as a useful introduction to the concept of adding more than just liquid ingredients and ice to our shaker. Throwing a sprig of mint in the shaker is an excellent way of extracting all the oils from the mint leaves. Yum. The problem is that you’re left with about a zillion tiny mint fragments in your drink. The solution to this is the technique known as double straining. If you’re using a cobbler shaker it’s just a case of holding a fine strainer between the shaker and glass as you pour – a two handed task but by no means tricky. Incrementally more tricky is double straining while using a Hawthorne or Julep strainer and if those are your choices I suggest practicing a couple of times with just ice and water to avoid embarrassment in front of guests. As you can see in the picture a double strained cocktail is smoother than a single strained one. While the tiny shards of ice and smaller mint fragments are held back by the fine strainer you will notice some super-tiny mint bits get through – don’t worry about them as they are too small to cause the drinker any offense. Double strain whenever you have some fruit or vegetable matter in your shaker that you don’t want in the final drink. Beyond this the question of whether to double strain or not is ambiguous. Some drinks are nicer with some shards of ice glinting on the surface and some are more attractive smooth – the choice is entirely yours.

Origin stories of the Southside are many and varied – as is the recipe itself – but, if I have to pick a favourite, I’m going for the Chicago gangster version. Legend has it that, during prohibition, Al Capone’s crew were in control of the South side of the city and only had access to sub-standard bathtub gin, the taste of which was often disguised with lime and mint. The tale sounds a bit spurious but, hey, never let the truth get in the way of a good story, right?


Southside

2oz gin of choice (if you’ve made some in your bath so much the better)

1oz fresh lime juice.

0.5 – 0.75oz sugar syrup (1:1) to taste*.

1 sprig of mint (6-10 leaves).

Shake with ice and double strain into a chilled champagne coupé. Garnish with a single (dry) mint leaf.

Toast Al Capone for fighting the greater evil of prohibition.


*The amount of syrup will depend on the sourness of your limes, the strength of your syrup and the sweetness of the drinker’s tooth.

The Southside can be lengthened with ice and soda into the Southside Fizz (think gin Mojito). Or with Champagne as a Southside Royale.

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Long Vodka > Angle Park

In Ango park.

Long Vodka ⇒ Angle Park.

About 250 years ago, when I was a young man growing up in Scotland, there was a popular drink called – somewhat unimaginatively – the Long Vodka. In those days your local pub could make exactly two “cocktails”, the Whisky Mac (which barely counts) and the Long Vodka. The latter is technically just a fancy mixed drink but it shows enough cocktailicity to be worth a look. First take a Collins glass and add ice followed by 2 or 3 dashes of Angostura bitters. Swirl around for a while to coat and chill the glass then dump out the ice. See, pretty cocktaily so far? Add more ice and a measure or two of vodka, a good splash of Rose’s Lime cordial and top up with soda water. Hmmm. And while it should be soda water I distinctly remember 7up being more common and I see that tonic may have muscled its way in more recently. Either of those would make the drink too sweet as there is already plenty of sugar in the Rose’s. So really it’s just a vodka lime and soda (7up/tonic) with a bit of bitters but I got to thinking it might still provide a good base for a bit of nostalgic deconstruction…

Vodka is a base spirit I almost never use in cocktails although it’s plenty useful in making some other things (of which more in due course). In this case we’ll be using vodka as an Angostura delivery system so its inherent blandness isn’t an issue. The Long Vodka’s Rose’s Lime is just going to have to go. In general you can replace it with fresh lime juice and sugar syrup for a much more pleasant effect and that’s exactly what we’ll do here. We’ll also skip the fizzy stuff and serve this on the stem. This, as I’m sure you’ve already noticed, leaves us with a simple Vodka Sour – not the most exciting of drinks. Unless, of course, we upgrade it with a massive hit of Angostura bitters. Don’t be fooled by Angostura’s ubiquity (often a sign of mediocracy) Ango is not the king of bitters without good reason. While bitters are usually the bartender’s salt and pepper there are a small number of drinks where they are used as the main flavour component. And this is one of those cases. The other ingredients are simply there to provide a balanced base to showcase the wonderful complex flavours of the Angostura.

Named after a song by 1980’s Scottish rockers, Big Country, the Angle Park is a simple cocktail to make at home and a great introduction to the magical world of bitters. Enjoy:


Angle Park

2oz vodka (it barely matters which one).

0.75oz fresh lime juice.

0.5oz simple syrup.

6-8 generous dashes of Angostura bitters (about 1 teaspoon in total).

Shake with ice and strain into chilled champagne coupé.

Toast Stuart Adamson (1958-2001) of the Skids and Big Country.


You could also serve this “long” in a Collins glass with ice and soda.

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Blackbeard’s Ghost.

Worth walking the plank for.

Blackbeard’s Ghost.

I was perusing the stats for this here blog the other day and it came to my attention that by far the most read article so far was my recipe for shelf stable falernum. Given this, it occurs to me that I should hit you all with a few more uses for this most magical ingredient. True, we had the Corn ‘n’ Oil but, while superb in its own bonkers way, it’s not a drink for everyone. I think we need a more accessible cocktail to highlight the wonders of that Bajan brew. Enter the Blackbeard’s Ghost, a recipe from Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s indispensable Tiki bible Remixed (I might have mentioned it before). Like so many of the recipes therein this one has been resurrected by The Bum from a now defunct Tiki restaurant by the name of Blackbeard’s Galley. While many Tiki recipes call for a panoply of esoteric ingredients the Blackbeard’s Ghost leans heavily on falernum as its sole measure of exotica. And we can make that ourselves. Right? The Ghost is one of my favourite tropical drinks that’s not part of the canon of Tiki classics and it makes a great entry point for exploring the genre. It’s a citrus forward drink that still manages to remain well balanced while letting the falernum work it’s magic. Apricot brandy is an interesting choice of sweetener not often used in Tiki but fairly common in old school cocktails. Made of apricot stones, rather than fruit, it tastes and smells more of almond than apricot and it makes a useful addition to the cocktail cabinet. If you really can’t find any you could try replacing it with triple sec and a couple of drops of almond extract. Beyond the falernum, no syrups are needed and no blender or crushed ice required. Even the rums are standard issue. We’re as close to household ingredients here as Tiki is ever going to allow us to get. So let’s go!


Blackbeard’s Ghost.

1.5oz orange juice (good quality carton is fine).

1oz fresh lemon juice.

1oz falernum (preferably home made).

0.5oz apricot brandy/liqueur (I used Bols).

0.5oz Demerara rum or a dark Jamaican rum (I used OVD).

1.5oz white rum (my choice was Havana Club 3 Añjos).

2 dashes Angostura bitters.

Shake with ice and pour (unstrained) into the most piratey receptacle you can find.

Toast Edward Teach – aka Blackbeard – (1680-1718) the second best pirate ever.


 

 

My well worn copy of Beachbum Berry Remixed by Jeff Berry.  ISBN 978-1-59362-139-1. Club Tiki Press

 

 

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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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