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Corpse Revivers

A few drinks guaranteed to give you a New Year’s second wind.

By Adam Ried
December 20, 2009

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Corpse Reviver cocktails and their kin, the Eye-Opener, Gloom Chaser, and Hair of the Dog, are meant to jump-start recovery from a hangover with a bit more of the poison that got you there to begin with. It’s an archaic notion these days, perhaps, but one with a certain charm.

The post-Prohibition popularity of these drinks, especially the Corpse Reviver No. 2, is often attributed to The Savoy Cocktail Book, written by Harry Craddock and published in 1930. In it, many cocktail chroniclers note, Craddock writes that the Reviver is supposed to “be taken before 11 a.m., or whenever steam or energy are needed.”

In my experience, the beauty of the Corpse Revivers is their ability to awaken the palate with complex, engaging, invigorating flavors -- tart lemon, cooling mint, and mysterious, aromatic herbal combinations. For all of these recipes, chill cocktail glasses well, at least 15 minutes in the freezer.

Here’s to your second wind, at both the dawn of 2010 and all through the year.

Corpse Reviver No. 2

Makes 2

I like mine a little less lemony than the traditional formula.

Ice, preferably cracked or small cubes

2 ounces gin

2 ounces Lillet Blanc

2 ounces Cointreau

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1½ ounces)

½ teaspoon anise-flavored liqueur, such as pastis, Pernod, or Herbsaint

Maraschino cherries or lemon twists, for garnish (optional)

Fill a cocktail shaker about halfway with ice and add the gin, Lillet, Cointreau, lemon juice, and anise liqueur. Cover and shake to blend and chill, about 15 seconds. Divide between the 2 chilled glasses, garnish, if desired, and serve at once.

Corpse Reviver No. 1

Makes 2

Ice, preferably cracked or small cubes

2 ounces cognac or brandy

2 ounces applejack or Calvados

2 ounces sweet vermouth

Fill a cocktail shaker about halfway with ice and add the cognac or brandy, applejack or Calvados, and vermouth. Cover and shake to blend and chill, about 15 seconds. Divide between the 2 chilled glasses, and serve at once.

Corpse Reviver

Makes 2

Ice, preferably cracked or small cubes

2 ounces cognac or brandy

2 ounces white creme de menthe

2 ounces Fernet-Branca

Fill a cocktail shaker about halfway with ice and add the cognac or brandy, creme de menthe, and Fernet-Branca. Cover and shake to blend and chill, about 15 seconds. Divide between the 2 chilled glasses, and serve at once.

Eye-Opener

Makes 2

If you prefer to skip the egg yolk here, you’ll miss out on the sunny yellow hue; a nontraditional substitute is 2 tablespoons of heavy cream.

Ice, preferably cracked or small cubes

3 ounces light rum

2 teaspoons anise-flavored liqueur, such as pastis, Pernod, or Herbsaint

½ ounce orange Curacao

½ ounce white creme de cacao

1 teaspoon sugar, preferably superfine

2 egg yolks

Fill a cocktail shaker about halfway with ice and add the rum, anise liqueur, Curacao, creme de cacao, sugar, and egg yolks. Cover and shake to blend and chill, about 15 seconds. Divide between the 2 chilled glasses, and serve at once.

Hair of the Dog

Makes 2

Most recipes call for Scotch whiskey, but I like the drink even better with bourbon.

6 ounces bourbon

2 tablespoons honey

6 tablespoons heavy cream

Ice, preferably cracked or small cubes

In a cocktail shaker, stir the bourbon and honey until the honey is dissolved. Add the cream and enough ice to fill the shaker halfway. Cover and shake to blend and chill, about 15 seconds. Divide between the 2 chilled glasses, and serve at once.

Gloom Chaser

Makes 2

Ice, preferably cracked or small cubes

2 ounces Grand Marnier

2 ounces orange Curacao

1½ ounces grenadine

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Fill a cocktail shaker about halfway with ice and add the Grand Marnier, Curacao, grenadine, and lemon juice. Cover and shake to blend and chill, about 15 seconds. Divide between the 2 chilled glasses, and serve at once.

Fernet-Branca Cocktail

Makes 2

Ice, preferably cracked or small cubes

3 ounces gin

1½ ounces Fernet-Branca

1½ ounces sweet vermouth

Fill a cocktail shaker about halfway with ice and add the gin, Fernet-Branca, and vermouth. Cover and shake to blend and chill, about 15 seconds. Divide between the 2 chilled glasses, and serve at once.

Soda and Bitters

Makes 2

This drink is for those who place their faith in effervescence, rather than more booze.

Ice cubes, optional

1½ cups sparkling water, chilled

8 to 10 drops bitters, such as Angostura or Peychaud’s

Fill 2 highball or Old-Fashioned glasses three-quarters full with ice cubes, if using. Pour 6 ounces of sparkling water into each glass, add 4 to 5 drops of bitters to each glass, stir gently to blend, and serve at once.

Send comments or suggestions to Adam Ried at cooking@globe.com.

(Photograph by Jim Scherer; Styling by Catrine Kelty)
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