The Corpse Reviver 2 is arguably the best-known absinthe drink. This sophisticated classic cocktail will indeed revive you… but beware a few too many have the opposite effect!
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There’s so much myth and mystique surrounding absinthe that you can’t help but feel curious about trying it. Oscar Wilde famously said:
After the first glass of absinthe you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world.”
What is Absinthe made of?
Absinthe is a spirit (not a liqueur), made by macerating botanicals, including the flowers and leaves of Artemisia absinthium (grand wormwood), green anise, sweet fennel, and other herbs in alcohol. This is then distilled to create absinthe in a similar way that gin is distilled.
Authentic absinthe can be clear or have a (faint) natural green colour which is probably why it was dubbed “La Fée Verte“, The Green Fairy. Some (less than great) absinthes include green (or blue) colouring, essentially these are coloured vodka, not real absinthe.
Absinthe causes hallucinations?
Is absinthe really a hallucinogenic? Despite its reputation, absinthe doesn’t cause hallucinations but it DOES have a very high alcohol content… It ranges between 55 – 75% alcohol by volume (ABV) making it 110 -144 proof.
This might be why most absinthe drinks contain only a tiny amount of absinthe. In some cases the absinthe is simply swirled around the cocktail glass before being poured out or sprayed as a mist leaving the merest hint of the Green Fairy… I tend to measure the absinthe in Corpse Reviver using a syringe because it is such a small amount!
Why was absinthe banned?
Absinthe was banned in the 1900s in France, Switzerland and the United States because it was a) wildly popular b) associated with loose morals and wild behaviour.
But apart from that the reason it was banned is that it contains small levels of thujone which is indeed toxic (the chemical is derived from plants including Wormwood which is used in Absinthe).
The levels of thujone in Absinthe are well below the limits of toxicity and real absinthe is legal to buy in Europe and the United States once more.
Corpse Reviver Drinks
There’s a variety of ‘corpse reviver’ drinks, used as hangover cures a.k.a Hair of the Dog. The wisdom of having a cocktail when you are hungover escapes me…
The most famous are Corpse Reviver No 1 and Corpse Reviver No 2… which always make me smile because CLEARLY No1 didn’t do the job if they had to invent No 2 🙂
Corpse Reviver 2
Joking aside this has got to be one of my all-time favourite cocktails, and definitely my most favourite absinthe drink. I first tasted it last New Year’s Eve and so I now associate this cocktail with ringing in the New Year…
This is one of Harry Craddock’s – head bartender of the American Bar at London’s Savoy Hotel in the’20 and ‘30s – most famous creations.
The Corpse Reviver No 2 is both delicate and powerful, well balanced and addictive. Craddock waned ‘four of these will swiftly unrevive the corpse again’ so you have been warned!
What’s in a Corpse Reviver Cocktail
Here’s what you will need… Since one of these drinks contains only 2.5ml of Absinthe you can get away with purchasing a miniature bottle of Absinthe to see if you like it.
- Gin I used Plymouth
- Orange Liqueur such as Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
- Sweet white vermouth – usually Lillet Blanc
- Fresh lemon juice
- Absinthe such as La Fee Parisienne
- Lemon zest twist to garnish
You will also need
HOW TO MAKE A CORPSE REVIVER 2
STEP 2. Measure your gin, orange liqueur, Lillet and lemon juice using a jigger and add to the shaker. I use a syringe to measure the Absinthe or you can use measuring spoons.
STEP 3. Share hard for 30 seconds or so.
STEP 4. Strain into the cold cocktail glass .
STEP 5. Garnish your absinthe drink with a twist of lemon zest. Enjoy (sensibly)!