After a long night of drinking, even a modest hangover can leave an imbiber feeling like a corpse. Perhaps one of the best ways to shake off the funk is the classic cocktail, the Corpse Reviver.
There are famous hangover cures from across the globe, but often the one with the most credibility and effectiveness — and negative stigma — is hair of the dog.
Corpse Reviver is a line of cocktails from before Prohibition, and the drinks are often a concoction of multiple spirits. Many of the variations have been lost over the years, but it’s the Corpse Reviver No. 2 that often shows up on cocktail lists across the country. It makes sense — this variation is refreshing, tasty, and strong.
Drinkers have been enjoying these since the mid-1800s, and one of the first written recipes for the Corpse Reviver No. 1 appeared in 1871 in The Gentleman’s Table Guide. This tome suggests using a wine glass and filling the cup halfway with brandy, the rest with Maraschino and two dashes of bitters. Another version, the aptly named Kentucky Corpse Reviver, can be made by substituting bourbon for brandy.
As noted, the gin-based, absinthe-touched Corpse Reviver No. 2 is the more popular version now. Both two versions of Corpse Revivers were featured in 1930 in The Savoy Cocktail Book, which suggests drinking the cocktail prior to 11 am, “or whenever steam and energy are needed.”
Since its inclusion in The Savoy Cocktail Book, variations on the cocktail have flooded other anthologies and, in the early 21st century, the Corpse Reviver No. 2 saw a surge in popularity in England. It has since migrated to the U.S. during that nation’s cocktail renaissance.
No matter the cause a dreary start to a day can in part be shaken off by a Corpse Reviver. Just remember not to drink even one too many, lest you become a corpse again.
Corpse Reviver No.1
- ½ brandy
- ¼ apple brandy
- ¼ vermouth
Method: Shake well and serve in a cocktail glass.
Corpse Reviver No. 2
Method: Shake well, strain, and serve in a cocktail glass.
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