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Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail Recipe

The Corpse Reviver No. 2 tastes like a dream despite its nightmare-inducing name. Learn the history behind this ghoulishly delightful gin cocktail and then craft one at home in just five minutes.

Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail from Above

William Shakespeare posed the question “What’s in a name?” when he penned Romeo & Shakespeare in the 1500s, centuries before the first Corpse Reviver was invented in the 1800s. Fast forward to the present and we did the same before we crafted our first Corpse Reviver No. 2.

Yes, this drink’s name both intrigued and scared us. We wondered if drinking one would result in nightmares or sweet dreams. The only way to find out was to craft one ourselves.

What Is a Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail?

Crafted Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail
Surprise! The Corpse Reviver No. 2 isn’t scary like its frightening name.

Despite its colorfully creepy moniker, the Corpse Reviver No. 2 is a classic pre-prohibition cocktail that’s crafted with top tier liquors. And, since its ingredient list includes both dry gin and freshly squeezed lemon juice, this sour cocktail isn’t so different from cocktails like the Bee’s Knees, Clover Club and White Lady. However, we think that it’s unique ingredients provide the cocktail with a zippy flavor finish that makes it just a little bit better.

Beyond dry gin and freshly squeezed lemon juice, the Corpse Reviver No. 2’s ingredient list features absinthe, Lillet blanc and orange liqueur. And, for those with extra motivation, garnishing the classic cocktail with a dehydrated orange slice provides an additional bit of panache.

History of the Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail

Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail with Lillet Blanc Bottle
Lillet Blanc is one of the ingredients that makes the Corpse Reviver No. 2 special.

Originally crafted as ‘hair of the dog’ cocktails for over imbibers, Corpse Revivers date back to the 19th century – clearly a time when people handled hangovers differently than they do today. After all, Corpse Reviver cocktails aren’t exactly lacking in alcohol.

We don’t know whether this cocktail genre lost favor once people realized the counter-productiveness of drinking alcohol as a hangover remedy. However, we do know that time and Prohibition literally buried the Corpse Reviver. It took a London bartender to give new life to the deceased libation.

That bartender, Harry Craddock, included two Corpse Reviver cocktails in his iconic The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930. It was the kickstarter that revived their luster like George Romero did for zombies.

Almost a century later, the Corpse Reviver No. 2 isn’t merely hanging on for dear life. Instead, it’s a popular classic cocktail that’s ordered at bars around the world with neither fear nor dread.

Corpse Reviver No. 2 Ingredients

Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail Ingredients
In addition to ice, the Corpse Reviver No. 2’s ingredient list includes absinthe, dry gin, Lillet Blanc, orange liqueur, fresh lemon juice and an orange for garnish.

While the Corpse Reviver No. 2 ingredient list isn’t long, you may need to buy one or more of the following ingredients:

  • Absinthe
  • Dry Gin
  • Lillet Blanc
  • Orange Liqueur
  • Fresh Lemon Juice
  • Ice Cubes (for shaking)
  • Orange Twist, Wedge or Wheel (for garnish)
Absinth in Coupe Glass for Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail Liquor Bottles
Ooh La La! We crafted this Corpse Reviver No. 2 with French bottles of Citadelle dry gin, Lillet blanc, Cointreau and Absente 55 absinthe.

The Corpse Reviver No. 2 isn’t a French cocktail but we exclusively used French liquors when we crafted the cocktail at home. It was an unintentional move but we’re not complaining about the final result . Here’s a quick recap of those four French liquors:

Bottle of French Absente 55 Absinthe
A little bit of Absente 55 absinthe goes a long way.

Absinthe: We purchased a bottle of Absente 55 Absinthe for this and other recipes. Produced in France and as its name suggests, the green liqueur has a relatively low ABV of 55%.

Citadelle Gin Bottle
Citadelle Dry Gin is our go-to cocktail gin.

Dry Gin: While any quality dry gin will work in this recipe, we chose to use Citadelle dry gin from France. Produced in Cognac, the premium gin features 19 botanicals and has an ABV of 44%.

Lillet Blanc Bottle
This is our first bottle of Lillet Blanc. It won’t be our last.

Lillet Blanc: An aromatized wine, Lillet Blanc is the ingredient that brings the Corpse Reviver to life. It’s basically aged white Bordeaux wine blended with fruit liqueurs (mostly citrus). And, with a 17% ABV, it’s a delightful to drink over ice as an aperitif.

Cointreau Bottle
Cointreau makes almost every cocktail taste better including The Corpse Reviver #2.

Orange Liqueur: Cointreau is our go-to orange liqueur for cocktail recipes that call for orange liqueur or triple sec as well as for some that don’t. We like Cointreau’s balanced flavor. It has a 40% ABV.

Buy bottles of Absinthe, Gin, Lillet Blanc and/or Cointreau from Drizly or Total Wine if you live in the US.

How to Craft a Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail

Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail Mise en Place
Organizing the ingredients and bar tools in advance is key when crafting a Corpse Reviver No. 2 cocktail.

Despite its spooky name, there are no tricks when it comes to the items required to craft a Corpse Reviver No. 2. In fact, you just the following basic bar tools:

You can improvise if you don’t have a jigger. For example, you can use a small angled measuring cup instead. We used both a jigger and a small angled measuring cup when we crafted this recipe but, then again, we’re over-achievers when it comes to lazy mixology.

Discover 10 necessary bar tools for lazy mixologists.

Rinsing Glass with Absinthe for Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail
Swirling absinthe is both fun and effective.

The first step in this recipe is to add a dash of absinthe to a coupe glass and swirl it around until the absinthe coats the glass. Pour out the absinthe once the glass is coated and set the glass aside.

Next, measure the dry gin, Lillet blanc, orange liqueur and lemon juice and pour each directly into a shaker. For this step, we recommend using a Japanese jigger to ensure accurate measurements and to avoid spillage.

Purchase a Japanese jigger if you don’t have a jigger or want an inexpensive upgrade.

Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail in Shaker
Shaking is where this corpse of cocktail comes alive.

Add ice cubes to the shaker and shake until the liquids are chilled and combined. This step should take approximately 20 seconds.

Buy a Boston Shaker from Amazon if you don’t have a cocktail shaker or want an inexpensive upgrade.

Straining Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail into Coupe Glass
The cocktail’s delightful aromas tantalized us as we strained it into a absinthe-coated coupe glass

Strain the chilled liquids into the absinthe-coated coupe glass.

Buy coupe glasses from Amazon if you want a matching pair for this and other cocktail recipes.

Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail Birds Eye View
Orange completes the Corpse Reviver No. 2 cocktail.

Finally, garnish the cocktail with an orange twist, wedge or wheel.

Pro Tip
Go the extra step and dehydrate an orange wheel if you’re cocktail-obsessed like us.

Corpse Reviver 2 Variations

Crafted Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail Centered
The Corpse Reviver 2 lives on in our cocktail repertoire.

This Corpse Reviver cocktail may or not be your new favorite drink. Either way, feel free to experiment with the following variations:

  • Replace the absinthe with pastis.
  • Replace the Lillet Blanc with either cocchi Americano or dry vermouth.
  • Replace the orange garnish with lemon or a couple Luxardo maraschino cherries.
  • Craft a Corpse Reviver No. 1 with Calvados, cognac and sweet vermouth.

Corpse Reviver No. 2 FAQs

Why is it called a Corpse Reviver No. 2?

The potent gin cocktail was intended to double as a hangover cure. Go figure.

How many Corpse Revivers are there?

There were originally four different Corpse Reviver cocktails. Two (numbers one and two) have passed the test of time. Numbers three and four have kicked the proverbial bucket.

What are the ingredients in a Corpse Reviver No. 2?

Absinthe, Dry Gin, Lillet Blanc, Orange Liqueur, Fresh Lemon Juice, Ice Cubes (for shaking) and an Orange Twist, Wedge or Wheel (for garnish)

What’s the best dry gin for a Corpse Reviver No. 2?

We like to use French dry gin but any dry gin will work.

Is it possible to craft a Corpse Reviver No. 2 cocktail without Lillet Blanc?

You can use Cocchi Americano or Dry Vermouth instead of Lillet Blanc.

Is absinthe necessary when crafting a Corpse Reviver No. 2 cocktail?

You can use Pastis instead of Absinthe.

Is the Corpse Reviver No. 2 shaken or stirred?

The Corpse Reviver No. 2 is shaken, not stirred.

What type of glass is best for the Corpse Reviver No. 2?

We like to serve this cocktail in a coupe glass but you could use a small martini glass instead.

Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail Recipe

Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail with White Background

Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail

Yield: 1
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

Learn how to craft a Corpse Reviver No. 2 cocktail at home in just 5 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 dash absinthe
  • 1 ounce dry gin
  • 1 ounce Lillet blanc
  • 1 ounce orange liqueur
  • 1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • orange wedge, wheel (fresh or dehydrated) or twist
  • ice

Instructions

  1. Pour absinthe into an empty coupe glass and swirl around so that the inside of the glass develops a light absinthe coating. Discard the absinthe.
  2. Measure gin, Lillet blanc, orange liqueur and lemon juice and pour each into a shaker.
  3. Add small ice cubes and shake until the liquids are mixed and chilled - approximately 20 seconds.
  4. Strain the liquid into a coupe glass.
  5. Garnish with an orange twist, wedge or wheel.

Notes

  • You can use a small martini glass instead of a coupe glass.
  • You can use cocchi Americano or dry vermouth instead of Lillet blanc.
  • You can use pastis instead of absinthe.

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About the Authors

About the Authors

Daryl & Mindi Hirsch

Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on the 2foodtrippers website and YouTube. The married Food and Travel content creators live in Lisbon, Portugal.

Disclosure

We update our articles regularly. Some updates are major while others are minor link changes and spelling corrections. Let us know if you see anything that needs to be updated in this article.

Original Publication Date: October 20, 2022

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