Corpse Reviver #2b
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass. Shake with ice.
Strain into a coupe.
Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry (It’s in there, I swear)
* * *
This past Saturday, my friend Adolfo was in town to give a presentation on the history of Maserati, which his family owned from the 1930’s to the end of the 1960’s. I dragged Lars along, and during the two-hour car ride out to Riverside, our conversation turned to the most-pressing topic facing the world today: the pending Zombiepocalypse.
Since this has been a couple of weeks of fanciful drinks — whether in name or in spirit(s) — on 12 Bottle Bar, I felt compelled to present a proper zombie drink. The obvious choice would be Don the Beachcomber’s Zombie, but its multitude of rums makes it off limits in these parts. Turning to the Savoy Cocktail Book, as I do so often, I decided that the Corpse Reviver #2 would fit the bill.
First and foremost, Lars and I had both acknowledged that in the coming war with the undead, we plan to fight on the human side. To me, the Corpse Reviver implied that it was a drink to be enjoyed by the one doing the reviving — and definitely not by the lumbering hulk into which the Beachcomber’s elixir turns you. Which, in reality, isn’t too far from its real intentions.
As a class of drink, revivers were designed to be just the thing to wake up a beleaguered soul on the morning after. They are the hair of the dog. The Savoy book lists two revivers, aptly named #1 and #2, but more exist in other tomes. The inimitable Ted Haigh resurrected #2 for his Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, adjusting only the amount of Absinthe (from a dash to a single drop). I partially disagree with Haigh on this choice. For a more well-rounded drink, go with his method. However, if you truly need reviving, go with a scant dash, as Absinthe, like its brethren, has long been considered to have curative powers when it comes to the stomach. Used in moderation, of course.
The traditional #2 calls for Kina Lillet, a defunct product which also boasted another purported tonic — quinine. Modern Lillet Blanc lacks this ingredient, but is lovely nonetheless. It’s what Haigh recommends. Because we don’t have Lillet among our 12 bottles, we’ll use Noilly Prat and some extra Orange Liqueur. The result is not the same drink (hence the “b” suffix in the title), but it is a fine one in its own right. This is one place where the reformulated and more aperitif-like Noilly Prat lets us flex our elbows in ways we would have been unable to a few years earlier. In no way should it be considered a full-on Lillet substitute but, with a rider of Orange Liqueur, it moves in the right direction.
Whether it’s the End of Days or just the morning after, the Corpse Reviver is a handy weapon to have in your arsenal. If nothing else, it’ll wake up a funky feeling mouth, settle your stomach, and bring your eyes back into focus. Which is important, because there’s zombie killing to be done.
Re-Zombification Tip: Harry Cradock, barman extraordinaire at The Savoy, had this to offer of the #2: “Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.” Consider yourself warned.