Corpse Reviver #2

Corpse Reviver #2 cocktail with a cherry garnish

Rinse a chilled cocktail glass with Absinthe. Shake the other ingredients with ice and strain into the glass. Garnish with a cherry at the bottom of the glass.

Corpse revivers are a class of drinks that first appeared in print in the 1860s. They were intended as a morning-after drink—a hair of the dog that bit you. There were many of them but this one by Harry Craddock from The Savoy Cocktail Book in the 1930s is the most well known.

Harry's original recipe calls for Kina Lillet. This was an aromatized apertif wine flavored with quinine, a bitter extract from the bark of the Peruvian Cinchona tree. It's where we get the tonic in Gin & Tonic and for the same reason—as a protection against malaria. The English added it to their gin. The French added it to their wine after experiencing substantial casualties from malaria in their invasion of Algeria in 1830. Apparently the French government funded a competition to create a wine-based tonic to make the quinine palatable and this resulted in Dubonnet and later Kina Lillet. In 1987 Kina Lillet was reformulated to satisfy modern tastes, the quinine was removed and it was rebranded as Lillet Blanc. Cocchi Americano is an Italian apertif containing quinine and gentiane that is similar to the original Lillet. Another possible replacement is Tempus Fugit's Kina L'aero D'or though we haven't tried that one yet.

Rather like the Aviation, the Corpse Reviver #2 takes the simple gin sour in a different direction, in this case in the direction of the Gin & Tonic due to the quinine. It is a wonderful, classic drink but be carful to heed Harry's original warning, "Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again." We have no reason to doubt him.