Corpse Revivor #2 – Harry Craddock

1 part gin

1 part lemon juice

1 part cointreau

1 part kina lillet

1 dash of absinthe

Shake ingredients and strain into a chilled glass, garnish with a lemon zest

I went to Foxlow in Balham today for a friends 40th birthday lunch, arrived early and decided that 12pm was definitely late enough to have a cocktail. The list was a nice mix, mostly contemporary, I noticed this drink though and decided the timing of this was appropriate, if not a little late in the day, as Craddock in his guide writes that these are “To be taken before 11 a.m., or whenever steam and energy are needed.”, however having given up coffee for several months now, steam and energy are often needed earlier in the day rather than later. He also goes on to say that “Four of these taken in quick succession will unrevive the corpse again.” I have been warned. There are several Corpse Reviver cocktails, hence the #2 after it, this one has endured better than the others, of which i’m not a great fan.

On returning home I discovered that this drink doesn’t appear in David Embury’s Book, and the other two books I’m using predate the drink, knowing that a good 20 years had elapsed since Craddock penned it into his Savoy Cocktail guide, I figured I’d be pretty safe. I wasn’t, and think I may have to travel with more book in future to stop this. I’m not massively upset as this is definitely a vintage classic cocktail, and a little surprised that Mr Embury has missed it. The drink is a British one based on its origin, and its entirely likely it hadn’t made it back across the pond by 1948, or even 1953, and I guess when Embury launched the ‘British Edition’ he didn’t expand it to include British classics. I feel like Embury missed a trick here, as I imagine he’d have loved the R&D which would have to have gone into this.

Kina Lillet is the only slightly strange ingredient in here, this is more commonly known as Lillet Blanc these days, and was the vermouth (or wine tonic if you want to be precise) that Bond drinks in his Vesper in ‘Casino Royale’. There’s some fairly boring debate as to whether it’s the same liquid inside, I’ve heard contrasting stories. The folks at Lillet say its exactly the same, I suspect that we will probably never truly know. Craddock appeared in advertising for Lillet in 1930, and I wonder if this drink wasn’t invented to make them happy.

The bartender at Foxlow made the drink well, and it set my day up nicely. I will go back to this drink, it’s a nice light classic, great aperitif, and I can see myself using this as a ‘first drink’ when I want something a little less punchy than a Martini. The hint of absinthe just gives it enough bitterness, and I’m a big fan of absinthe so its a win for me.