The Corpse Reviver No. 2 is the more recognized of the pair of cocktails created to provide a hair of the dog hangover cure.
There are certainly no guarantees for the effectiveness in taking the edge off your pounding headache, but if you want something clean and bright gives it a try.
A floral base comes from the combination of gin and Lillet Blanc, while the lemon and orange liqueur provide a balance of sweet and tart citrus.
What to know about Lillet Blanc
At the time this drink was created Lillet Blanc was a slightly different product from what it is today.
It started as Kina Lillet which was a slightly bitter aperitif made with Cinchona bark to compliment it's light floral side, but that bitter aspect was removed from the recipe in the 1980's to suit peoples gravitation towards sweeter things.
What is Lillet Blanc?
Lillet Blanc is a unique and tasty automatized white wine (meaning it is flavored with botanicals) that is now used in the Corpse Reviver No. 2.
It tastes like honey, candied citrus, and flowers on top of a base of white wine. When mixed in cocktails it gives a mellow herbal flavor as long as it's paired with ingredients that are not too overpowering.
How long does Lillet Last?
It is 17% alcohol and not super high in sugar so it will go bad over the course of a few weeks. Lillet won't spoil as in develop rotten flavors or anything like that, but it will lose its' light floral notes and start to get a "skunkiness" to it.
Store it in the refrigerator for up to a month.
If it's been in the fridge just drink it on ice plain or with a little citrus wedge.
Should you use Cocchi Americano instead?
Recently the Giulio Cocchi brand's Americano has been substituted into the Corpse Reviver for supposedly being the closest thing available today to the original Kina Lillet.
Like Lillet Blanc it is a white aromatized wine, however, it's made with Giantian and Chincona making it more bitter and herbal than its' French counterpart.
So, it is up to you to decide what makes the better Corpse Reviver #2...
Is it sticking with the brand name despite it being a slightly different product? Or going more for the original flavor by using a totally different ingredient?
As I say with everything, you will have to taste them both and see what you think. Since both ways make a delicious drink it's sort of an irrelevant debate, but you can use it as an excuse to try more cocktails.
A quick understanding of orange liqueur
Often Corpse Reviver recipes simply call for "orange liqueuer", but if you aren't familiar with the category it can seem a little confusing.
Orange liqueur is a spirit with added sweetness and orange flavor, and there are two main types: Curacao, and Triple Sec. All of the brands that you have heard of like Grand Marnier, Cointreau, Bols etc. are some version of one of those two categories.
What is Triple Sec?
It's a style of orange liqueur that is traditional of France with Cointreau being the most popular brand. On the other hand, Curacao is a brandy based liqueur traditionally made with curacao orange peels and it usually comes across as slightly sweeter.
If a Corpse Reviver recipe does call for a specific brand, most of the time it seems to be Cointreau, but you don't have to use that.
Good substitutes for Cointreau include most other Triple Sec or Curacao such as Grand Marnier, Combier, Pierre Ferrand or Luxardo. You should probably skip anything super cheap, and oh, stay away from the blue ones.
Adjusting the recipe
The Corpse Reviver No. 2 is traditionally an equal parts recipe with a 3/4 ounce measure of each of the four ingredients, but I like to tweak that.
I prefer bumping the gin up to a full ounce while leaving the other ingredients at 3/4 ounce each.
This allows you to taste more of the botanicals of the gin which is nice, but it does also make it a touch too dry. To combat the dryness from the extra gin just use a splash of 1:1 cane simple syrup and it works our perfectly.
For this recipe I used X Gin which has deliciously rich notes of coco and vanilla that came through in the finished cocktail.
How to use the Absinthe in a Corpse Reviver
I really encourage you to use the absinthe in a Corpse Reviver.
Absinthe has a really strong anise or black licorice flavor which many people shy away from, but combined with the citrus and herbal flavors of gin and Lillet it works perfectly.
If you use an atomizer or "rise" your glass it creates a crisp background flavor which makes the drink even more refreshing I think.
To "rinse" with absinthe pour about a 1/4 oz or so right into the glass (after it's chilled). Now tilt the glass on an angle and twirl slowly so that the entire bowl of the glass comes into contact with the liquid.
At bars and restaurants they typically dump out the Absinthe after rinsing the glass but I like to pour it right back into the bottle. Absinthe can be expensive and as long as you use really clean glasses there's no reason to go and waste it.
If you are looking for some absinthe I really like the St. George Absinthe Vert. It comes in small sized bottles so it's not as touch on the wallet and you never really use that much absinthe at once so it will last quite a while.
USING AN ATOMIZER
Instead of the absinthe rinse you can use an atomizer to coat the inside of the glass. It's basically just a mini squirt bottle that produces a fine mist so you can evenly coat the bowl of the glass.
An atomizer also allows you to spritz the top of the finished drink if you want even more anise flavor in the final cocktail. You can grab one here on Amazon (affiliate) if you're interested.
Garnish with a citrus twist if you'd like
Your last decision for the drink is the garnish. Should you do lemon, orange, or nothing at all?
Totally up to you.
Using a peel as garnish in addition to the lemon and orange already in the drink can be a nice touch to highlight one of those two flavors. If you want the cocktail to come across as more tart and dry use lemon, and if you want it to seem sweeter and more tropical use orange.
It's also perfectly fine to serve the drink with no garnish at all which will give you more anise notes from the absinthe (especially if you used an atomizer on top of the drink).
Corpse Reviver No. 2
- 1 oz Gin
- 3/4 oz Cointreau
- 3/4 oz Lillet Blanc or Cocchi Americano
- 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
- 1/4 Cane Simple Syrup - 1:1 sugar to water
- Lemon or Orange Peel - optional
- Prepare a chilled cocktail glass be rinsing the inside with absinthe or use an atomizer to coat it evenly.
- Add the Gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, and Lemon Juice to your shaker.
- Add ice and shake for about 12 seconds.
- Double strain into your absinthe rinsed glass.
- (optional) Express the oils of lemon or orange peel over the finished drink if you choose.
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If tart crisp and citrusy is your thing the Corpse Reviver should absolutely be on your list of cocktails to make at home.