“Four of these taken in quick succession will un-revive the corpse again.” – Harry Craddock, Savoy Cocktail Book, 1930
One of the classic early morning cocktails, the Corpse Reviver #2 was originally considered a hangover cure of sorts. An eye-opener, or hair of the dog style drink of classic provenance, it appears the sharp citrus flavours were seen by the bon viveurs of the 1920s as the ideal tonic to a night of overindulgence. Of course these days we rely on non-alcoholic lemon shower gel to provide the same citrus tingle. Shame.
The other overriding flavour of the Corpse Reviver is absinthe, interestingly a common ingredient in other early morning drinks (see also the Morning Glory) and used here as a dry counterpoint to the sharp citrus and the floral gin botanicals.
So why the #2? Well the original Corpse Reviver is a cognac, calvados and vermouth concoction, and hasn’t aged as well, or with as much popularity as the second in the series. Many bars have come up with #3s, #4s and beyond, but none are as perfectly balanced and silently lethal as the tart and sweet, gin-based version.
Rinse a martini glass with a absinthe and discard the excess.
Add equal parts gin, triple sec, Lillet Blanc (or Cocchi Americano) and lemon juice to a shaker.
Add ice and shake well.
Strain into the absinthe-rinsed glass and garnish with a twist of lemon.
As today is 29 February, it seems fitting to include a wee potion that has been credited with (blamed for?) more proposals than any other, the Leap Year.
This sweet Martini alternative was born at the Savoy in 1928 and therefore celebrates its 84th (or 21st) birthday today. Harry Craddock, the barman created the drink for the Leap Year celebrations, and it seems fitting to raise one tonight, in honour of those poor leaplings (but only those over the age of err four and a half?)
The mixture of aromatic sweetness born of the Grand Marnier and vermouth clashes somewhat with the botanical bitterness of the gin and produces an interesting combination on the tongue. Despite this, there is a pleasing bittersweet hint to the drink, and it is well worth savouring once every four years.
You make the Leap Year classic as follows:
Add a large measure of gin (Plymouth rather than London), half a measure of sweet vermouth, half a measure of Grand Marnier and the juice of half a lemon to a shaker of ice.