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Corpse Reviver No. 2

A corpse reviver cocktail being poured into a glass.
Photo and Styling by Joseph De Leo
  • Active Time

    5 minutes

  • Total Time

    5 minutes

The Corpse Reviver #2 has survived nearly a hundred years in the sometimes fickle world of cocktails. The equal-parts cocktail has a name that sounds vital, but of an older world, where one might casually partake of a morning mixed drink to shake off the cobwebs of sleep (or of last night’s excess). 

In Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book, which compiled well-loved recipes from The American Bar at London’s Savoy Hotel, the famous barkeep writes of the first Corpse Reviver: “To be taken before 11 a.m., or whenever steam and energy are needed.” While that drink is not the most famous of its morning cocktail family, it sets the groundwork for the group, which Craddock joyfully notes when he adds the second, more popular drink: “Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.”

The #2 of which he speaks adds a splash of absinthe to equal parts gin, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and Kina Lillet. The latter was a quinquina aperitif—an herbal aromatized wine that relied heavily on chinchona bark, the stuff that gives traditional tonic water its bite. And while Lillet exists now as Lillet Blanc, a lighter, sweeter aperitif, the original stuff has gone the way of the dodo. Many bars rely instead on Cocchi Americano to recreate the Corpse Reviver No. 2, while others reach for other quinquinas (Tempus Fugit’s Kina L’Aero D’or is often cited as a close approximation of the original.) Authenticity should be applauded, but it might also be noted that few of those bars keep the drink’s preferred categorization as hair of the dog and serve the drink before noon.


Makes 1

¾ oz. Cocchi Americano
¾ oz. Cointreau
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
¾ oz. gin
1 dash absinthe
  1. Combine ¾ oz. Cocchi Americano¾ oz. Cointreau¾ oz. fresh lemon juice, ¾ oz. gin, and 1 dash absinthe in a shaker tin with ice. Shake vigorously until well chilled, 10–15 seconds, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

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