Sunday, September 01, 2013
This drink is the most popular drink I’ve ever made, it’s possibly my favorite thing to drink at this point and I swear it should be a new brunch favorite. In honor of Labor Day, make what I consider the ultimate morning after drink, which you can then keep drinking all day. Apparently corpse revivers were a category of drink from around the turn of the century, as hair of the dog type drinks, and there were a number of them. Only the #1 and the #2 survive as recipes currently, and of those only #2 is really what we would think of as a morning, or brunch type drink. And brunchy it is in spades. It’s more alcoholic than the mimosa, but easily quaffed quickly unlike a bloody. It’s also not hard to make, or remember how to make, but the fact that it has one expensive ingredient makes it less accessible to serve at home unless you are serious about amateur mixology.
And that ingredient my friends is absinthe. Before I made my own corpse reviver #2, I ordered it at a bar which specializes in classic cocktails, to see if I wanted to spring for an expensive bottle of the green stuff. Since it was love from sip one, there was no question, plus owning absinthe opens a whole new world of drinks to make at home including the sazerac. There is no skimping on absinthe, do not use the aqua colored fake “Czech” stuff. It is going to run you between $40-$60 and will last forever unless you get into drinking it with sugar and water. You can use a non-absinthe pastis if you like such as Pernod. And since most of us are not going to be able to taste a bunch of pastis/absinthe, do what I did and go to The Wormwood Society‘s page on your smart phone when you are in the liquor store and buy one with a good rating, you would be surprised which ones get critical pans on that site. In my store the only one they had which didn’t have terrible reviews was an American absinthe from Philadelphia Distilling called Vieux Carré. The same people who bring you Bluecoat Gin.
The Corpse Reviver #2 requires an absinthe rinse on the glass, please do not think you can skip this step, it is simply not the same beverage without it. To really do a rinse you are going to have to dispense your absinthe into either an elegant dasher bottle if you can find one, or do the déclassé thing and use a small spray bottle like me. You don’t want to try pouring the tiny amount from a giant heavy bottle. I use the funnel for my flask to fill my sprayer bottle.
So now chill a glass as we assemble the other ingredients. Gin, Lillet (or a Kina Lillet simulacrum like Cocchi Americano or Kina L’Avion D’or if you can find them), lemons and your orange liqueur of choice.
The recipe is a simple 1:1:1:1 of these ingredients, plus an absinthe rinse on a chilled glass. Surely even with a splitting headache you can remember this. For a single cocktail mix:
3/4 oz Gin
3/4 oz Triple sec/Curacao of choice
3/4 oz Lillet Blanc
3/4 oz lemon juice
Place in a shaker with ice, shake till ice cold, prepare your glass with absinthe rinse (more on that below) and strain into it to serve. Viola.
For gin use anything that is mixable, here I have Greenhook, but you can go Plymouth, and the limited edition Tanqueray Malacca is really nice in this drink. I went with Senor Curacao curacao, but I usually use Cointreau, I can’t decide which I like better. Some people think the Cocchi is more authentic than Lillet Blanc because it’s got more cinchona bark like the original Kina Lillet is supposed to have had, some think it tastes too much like vermouth. I’ve not heard of many people who have tried the L’Avion D’or yet, I can never find either when I’m in the liquor store and therefore stick with Lillet. I strain my lemon juice prior to adding if I remember to, also if you have a Meyer lemon, this drink is divine when you use the Meyer for no more than half the lemon juice. I also learned the hard way not to use that halfway dried up half a lemon sitting in the fridge for this, as it flattens the drink out totally when you don’t have a fresh cut lemon.
Tips on applying the absinthe rinse. It’s supposed to coat the glass, which gives a small pop of anise of taste, and a lot of fragrance. However if you put too much, it will very quickly become a dominant taste. If you like an anise licorice taste the drink will still taste good but it will just not be right, a bit of extra absinthe and you will dwarf the other flavors in the drink significantly. It’s supposed to be hint that you almost can’t define. If you are not massively skilled at administering a few drops from a dasher bottle and rolling it around with a flourish, then pouring off the extra, you may be a spazz like me. Try a spray bottle, my friend Amy sold me on this, a lot of great bars and bartenders are using them for this because it really allows you to use less absinthe. You can buy a nice looking aluminum one if you can find it, it will look like a fancy bar tool, though you won’t be able to tell how much is in it. I have a thoroughly ordinary one from the drugstore designed as a travel toiletry bottle.
I do not spray from a distance like you would hair spray or an olive oil mist on a pan. I found doing that left me a lot of absinthe in the air and not enough coverage in the glass. Pictured below is my technique more or less.
If you use the same spray method each time, whatever it is, you can use each pump of spray as a consistent measure. Four sprays while turning a chilled glass from the freezer is how I like it, three is good too but I prefer four. It depends slightly on the glass but again, once you have your spray method, each pump from your specific bottle is consistent so it’s a very reliable measure. Find the amount that you like and you can get it the same each time on your choice of glass if you count the number of sprays that got you there.
This drink has a sour sweet, herby drinkability and goes over easy in a crowd. It’s like a sophisticated gummy bear in a booze form, but no artificial flavors or colors. I’m sure it’s crass to describe it like that. I’ve not found anyone that hates it. I waive off people who say they don’t like licorice, when they know there’s absinthe, because done right the absinthe is going to be undefinable, give a sweet finish, and botanical aroma and just contribute to the drink being deliciously good. The corpse reviver #2 should take brunch by storm, because it crushes a mimosa made with Tropicana and cheap bubbly like Godzilla. It’s very citrusy and refreshing. Get your relatives tanked at the beach house with it next summer and everyone will forget you are mooching a room for free.
As for garnish, one is not called for. Manhattan Inn puts a lovely curled orange peel on the edge. That’s great because it really adds something and signals you to taste the orangeiness of the drink, yet there’s no orange juice in it. Because of that you might not have an orange around, as I did not. Use your fanciest metal foiled glass to dress up the pale contents. Anyway, you won’t be sorry you got your corpse revived. Do it twice!