I think it’s about time to showcase a drink that I truly love. This version first came to me from Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails, where the excellent Dr. Cocktail speaks to its origins. The good doctor tells a much better story than I do, so I won’t try to recap it for you; I will leave the history to the experts and tell you about this wondrous potation in the present… as I sip one with a smile on my face.
First, the recipe:
- 1 oz. gin
- 1 oz. Cointreau
- 1 oz. lemon juice
- 1 oz. Lillet Blanc
- 1 to 3 drops absinthe
- Shake and strain into a chilled glass, then drop in a stemless cherry to lurk in the bottom.
I will leave the gin to you, gentle reader, to decide on. I’ve tried London Dry gins that did just as well as smaller batch fancy gins, and whichever gin strikes your fancy will come through quietly and whisper lovely things in this drink’s ear. I like Small’s gin in this for the smooth botanicals and the touch of citrus that plays well with the next three ingredients.
The Cointreau and Lillet are must-haves, both in general and in this drink, so take on substitutions at your own risk. The key to this cocktail is the delicate balance (AKA mystical chemistry) between all four main ingredients, and I haven’t found anything that can fill in for these two in this recipe. Triple sec is too sweet and orange curaçao is too straight-forward orange to let the Lillet really shine. Careful measurement and fresh lemons are absolutely mandatory, but I don’t need to tell you that…. do I?
As for those drops of absinthe, I recommend all three. If anise puts a bee in your bonnet, dial it back to only one drop, but don’t leave it out! It seems like a few drops of the green fairy wouldn’t have much to say against four ounces of goodness, but there are no strongly-flavored ingredients to compete with here. On the other hand, don’t feel like a strong absinthe will be too strong. I used four drops of a rouge absinthe we found at Merchant in Madison, WI, and it barely came through in the drink. Let the beast out… but only for a few drops.
Finally, that garnish. If you haven’t already experienced the joy and enlightenment of Luxardo Maraschino cherries, there is nothing I can say that will measure up. They are sheer perfection at the end of a good cocktail, and the Corpse Reviver #2 is no exception. Just make sure you save it for the very end; it’s absolute bliss.
This cocktail is so damn good it gives me goosebumps. A good friend of mine was until very recently a teetotaler, but has ended this persuasion because life has been treating him very well (which is the right reason to decide to imbibe, in my humble opinion). He came to me for his first drink after seeing me mix and gush with other good friends about the virtues and furors of liquor, and this was the one I chose to break him in with. He was not disappointed.