Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Cocktail: The Corpse Reviver

Well all this talk of Pastis has given me a hankering to discover some cocktails which put it to good use. One of my favorite ways to go about discovering new cocktails is by using the Cocktail data base's search engine. Their search engine allows you to enter either a cocktail's name and/or main ingredient, in my case pastis, and then it gives you all the relevant results.

After entering "pastis" in to the engine, I received 293 results. How do I go through all of these results you ask? well each cocktail has the ingredients listed next to it so I go down the list and picked out the ones which I had all of the ingredients for, or at least most of them, then I try to find an adequate substitute for missing ingredient.

Lets see...looking through the results I come across: A La Française, already tried it in the last review. Absinthe American, nah, almost the same as A La Française. I tend to stay away from cocktails with raw eggs, not my bag. Then I saw it, The Corpse Reviver #2. I remembered reading about this cocktail, people raved that it was their favorite, how it has the perfect balance of diverse ingredients. So I thought to my self why not give it a whirl.

I went to check if I had the ingredient for it: Pastis (Phénix), check. Cointreau, check. Gin (Bombay Sapphire), check. Fresh lemon juice, check. Lillet Blanc, nope, but I had Cinzano Extra Dry vermouth on hand. Now, I am sure Cinzano is not the best substitute, and I know someone will say "oh! how could you do that! substituting Cinzano for Lillet is a sacrilege." but hey, that's what I had on hand. I was also missing the cherry for garnish so I used a lemon zest instead.

Now onto some background about the Corpse Reviver:

According to a post by Robert Hess over at spirit world:
"The Corpse Reviver was in truth more of a "family" of cocktails, than an individual cocktail itself. The corpse reviver was no doubt intended as a morning after pick-me-up (aka. Hair of the dog), and besides that, there seems little to provide an indication of what specifically separated such a drink from one of the other well-known categories, such as a cocktail.

Of the various corpse revivers that were once floating about pre-prohibition, only two appeared to pop out the other side, and were listed in Harry Cradock's "The Savoy Cocktail Book", which is where we encounter what he simply listed as "Corpse Reviver #2".

This drink illustrates one of the important aspects of the craftsmanship of a well made drink. The balance of the ingredients listed here is so precarious that each one needs to be carefully measured to make this drink properly. The lemon juice also needs to be fresh, and you can't substitute common triple sec for the Cointreau." (I'm sure he'd disapprove of my substitution of Cinzano for Lillet, but hey, what can you do.)

Jay, over at "Oh Gosh" has more on the subject. His ratio's are the same as the other recipes I've seen so far, Plus he has the "Corpse Reviver #1" recipe.
Corpse Reviver #2
  • 3/4 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau
  • 3/4 oz Lillet Blanc (or in my case Cinzano Extra Dry Vermouth)
  • 3/4 oz lemon juice
  • According to Hess: 1 drop absinthe (or absinthe substitute, such as Pernod)
  • According to Cocktail DB: 2 drops (1 dash) Pastis (I made mine according to this version, next time I'll try it according to Hess.)

Shake with ice, and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a cherry.

There are variations on this cocktail in terms of the ratios. If you scale back the lemon juice and cointreau it becomes the "Miracle Cocktail".

This cocktail is complex yet balanced. It is sweet, sour and Bitter. There are the sour notes from the lemon, a botanical and herbal flavor from the vermouth and gin and some sweetness from the cointreau. The finish is slightly bitter and you get that hint of the pastis anise/
réglisse goodness. The color can be described as a cloudy-white with a yellowish hue to it, similar to that of diluted pastis. Certain flavors came to mind, such as the "White Lady" and the "Dry Martini".

I see this as being a refreshing summertime cocktail. In fact after drinking it I must say I felt very refreshed. Now I know why they call this a "Corpse Reviver". I personally enjoyed this cocktail and recommend that you give it a go.

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