This classic gin cocktail is perhaps my favorite cocktail of all time. That’s right, if I had to choose just one, it would probably be the Corpse Reviver 2!
Why this cocktail has endured for nearly 100 years
The Corpse Reviver No.2 is a great example of how delicious simple ingredients can be. It’s an equal parts sour-style drink that showcases your gin of choice while adding layers of complexity from the aperitif wine Lillet Blanc (or Cocchi Americano) and an absinthe rinse.
If you’re like me, once you’ve made it a few times, you might start experimenting with fun variations like swapping the gin for a different spirit, trying lime juice instead of lemon, or using different liqueurs in place of triple sec.
The possibilities are pretty much endless with this fantastic classic cocktail template.
A really interesting modern variation is the Necromancer, which swaps the ratios of gin and absinthe and uses elderflower liqueur in place of triple sec.
Corpse Reviver No.2 ingredients
One of the classic hangover remedy cocktails, the Corpse Reviver No.2 is a very easy-drinking mix of gin, lemon juice, triple sec, and the aperitif wine Lillet Blanc (or Cocchi Americano). An absinthe rinse adds complexity and an additional layer of herbal flavor.
What is a “Corpse Reviver”?
The Corpse Revivers are a series of “hair of the dog” cocktails meant to be consumed the day after a night of heavy drinking.
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The best known Revivers are No.1 and No.2, which are featured in Harry Craddock’s 1930 The Savoy Cocktail Book. If you love classic cocktails, this book is worth having on your bar cart! Find it on Amazon.
Craddock hilariously notes of the Corpse Reviver 2, “Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.”
How many Corpse Revivers are there?
The two reviver recipes to survive history are the Corpse Reviver No.1 and the Corpse Reviver No.2. The Corpse Reviver No.1 combines brandy with apple brandy, like Calvados, and sweet vermouth. It’s a simple, but much drier cocktail, and it’s never managed to achieve the immense popularity that No.2 has.
Is Lillet blanc a vermouth? Can I use dry vermouth?
Lillet blanc is typically categorized with vermouths because it is an aromatized and fortified wine, but it’s technically not the same thing. Lillet contains citrus liqueurs and lacks some of the typical vermouth botanicals.
If you aren’t able to get Lillet blanc, try the Corpse Reviver 2 with Cocchi Americano. Cocchi is similar, although it’s more bitter.
If you’re not able to find that either, you can substitute Dolin Blanc. Just don’t use a dry vermouth, it will throw off the balance of the cocktail. Lillet is much sweeter than dry vermouth, and has a different, much more citrusy flavor profile.
How does a “hair of the dog” cocktail help to improve a hangover?
Well, it doesn’t. Not really, anyway. But consuming a small amount of alcohol does boost endorphins, which makes it easier to cope with your terrible hangover symptoms.
So really I’d recommend a Corpse Reviver as your last resort when dealing with a nasty hangover. Instead, try some of the tried and true tips below.
How to actually improve your hangover and feel better sooner
Rest. Get enough sleep. It’s probably the single most helpful thing you can do to let your body recover.
Water. You’re probably pretty dehydrated and it’s making your head pound and your stomach feel even sicker. Drink plenty of water or some Gatorade.
Carbonated beverages can be especially helpful with an upset stomach, so after you’ve gotten some water into your system, try a ginger ale or some mineral water with lime.
A balanced breakfast. Get all your macronutrients in, if possible. Protein, fat, and carbs are your best friends right now.
A little of each of these in your stomach will quickly get you on the road to hangover recovery. My personal recommendation: a bacon, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich.
Plan ahead. Ok, obviously this one isn’t always doable. But your best bet for nixing a hangover before it even begins is to plan ahead.
Eat a real meal before you start drinking. Drink water between rounds. And perhaps most importantly, make sure that you’re stocked up at home on all of the items you might want if you do end up hungover (water, sports drinks, food, etc.).
You might also enjoy these gin recipes:
Corpse Reviver No.2
- ¾ oz gin
- ¾ oz Lillet Blanc
- ¾ oz triple sec
- ¾ oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ oz absinthe, for rinsing
- Pour the absinthe into a coupe glass and swirl to coat. Discard the absinthe.
- In a cocktail shaker, combine the gin, Lillet Blanc, triple sec, and lemon juice.
- Fill the shaker 3/4 full with ice cubes and shake for about 12 seconds, or until chilled.
- Strain the cocktail into the absinthe-rinsed coupe glass, and garnish with an orange twist.