Corpse Revivers are a broad group of cocktails, numbered 1-4, with countless variants. It can get confusing but the best way to think of it is that while some are made with Gin, others Cognac, all are best served the day after your birthday, even though you’re old enough to know better… Shame on you.
If you find it a little too sour, drop the equal parts recipe and use less lemon juice.
White vermouth tends to work better than Dry. Lillet Blanc, Cocchi Americano, Belsazar White are all great ingredients here.
Many swap out the Triple Sec for Yellow Chartreuse (same measurements), which arguably has become a more popular variant than the original over the past decade.
An abridged, inebriated history:
The Corpse Reviver drinks were intended to help those feeling worse for wear to come back to life. The necessity for the cocktail is interesting to note – a demand for such a medicinal drink must have been recognised, perhaps by the bourgeoisie, who loved both the intellectual artistic sphere and the high life in equal measure.
Whilst it’s thought that some of the drinks under the Corpse Reviver umbrella were established in England in around the 1860s, they were not put down in published form until Harry Craddock wrote them up in his 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book. (Harry’s recipe is printed below)
The use of alcohol to cure a hangover is of course, faintly ridiculous. It’s like using a plaster when you need stitches – the problem will be held back for a while, but you’re only making it worse in the long run. And possibly infected. As Harry Craddock himself once said of the Corpse Reviver: “Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.”
Harry Craddock’s original Corpse Reviver recipe:
¼ wine glass lemon juice
¼ wine glass kina lillet
¼ wine glass cointreau
¼ wine glass dry gin
1 dash absinthe