Finding the right drink for Halloween is a difficult proposition: Exactly what should one pair with way too much chocolate and candy?
And then it came to us: the Corpse Reviver. Not only does this classic beverage have an appropriately ghoulish moniker, but it’s also tart and strong, a great contrast to sweet treats. Originally conceived as a hair-of-the-dog hangover-reliever (thus the name) to be drunk in the morning, the recipe first appeared in Harry Craddock’s legendary 1930 tome, The Savoy Cocktail Book.
Nearly a century later, the Corpse Reviver No. 2 (pictured right) is still popular. (Watch Liquor.com advisory board member Simon Ford make it in our How to Cocktail video.) The combo of gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc and lemon, spiked with a dash of absinthe, is just the thing for a sophisticated costume party. However, heed Craddock’s advice: “Four of these taken in swift succession will quickly unrevive the corpse again.”
But that’s not Craddock’s only Corpse Reviver recipe. His book contains the Corpse Reviver No. 1 (pictured left) as well, a tipple that may be more obscure today but is no less delicious. This version is a mix of cognac, calvados and sweet vermouth that tastes something like a fruitier take on a Manhattan. About this drink, the venerable barman wrote, “to be taken before 11 AM, or whenever steam and energy are needed.”
Some modern bartenders have also followed Craddock’s lead and created their own spins on the traditional formula. We like the Cannibal Corpse Reviver No. 2 (pictured center), a heavy-metal twist from New York mixologist Nate Dumas. It’s got the gin and lemon juice, but it uses pear brandy in place of Lillet and substitutes the intensely herbal Fernet-Branca for absinthe. Plus, it’s served on the rocks and topped with prosecco for a bubbly finish.
No matter which one you fix, the Corpse Reviver is the perfect spooky cocktail for Halloween. Cheers!
Corpse Reviver No. 1
Contributed by Harry Craddock
1 oz Cognac
1 oz Calvados or other apple brandy
.5 oz Sweet vermouth
Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.