Corpse Reviver No. 2

“The Corpse Reviver No. 2 is booze education in a coupe glass.”

I started looking for some old, quintessential cocktails and this one was on every list I found. Back in the late 1800s, Corpse Reviver drinks were promoted as hangover cures  for the inebriates of the day. There were a bunch of drinks that claimed their potency could bring even the most “corpse-like” hangover sufferer back to life. Only a few of the Corpse Reviver recipes survive, but the Corpse Reviver No. 2 is the most well known.

It was invented by Harry Craddock, born in 1876 in Gloucestershire, England. He moved to the US in 1897 and trained as a bartender in various hotels. He left again during Prohibition and returned to England, joining the American Bar at the famous Savoy Hotel in London. In 1930, Craddock published The Savoy Cocktail Book, a collection of 750 cocktails including his Corpse Reviver No. 2 recipe, and it is still in print today.


  • Absinthe rinse
  • 1 oz Plymouth gin
  • 1 oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz Cocchi Americano
  • 1 oz Lemon Juice

Rinse a chilled coupe or Martini glass with absinthe and set aside. Add the remaining ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into the prepared glass.

Note: Kina Lillet was the aperitif wine to use at the beginning of the 20th Century (and what was specified in the original recipe) but it was replaced in the 1980’s with Lillet Blanc, which reduced the quinine to suit modern drinkers’ tastes. Cocchi Americano’s recipe includes more quinine and it has that bitter tone that the Kina Lillet had. The basic flavour is the same as the new Lillet, but some say the added punch is necessary to successfully recreate the Corpse Reviver No. 2’s original intent.

The verdict: Well… I liked it. Opinions varied depending on your taste for alcohol. It didn’t pack as much of a wallop as I thought it would but it did sneak up on you. Well worth trying and the experience of  the Cocchi Americano made it a worth while experiment all on its own. I would try this one again.

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