Corpse Reviver No. 1

Corpse revivers are helpful after big holidays

Your cocktail calendar entry for: December
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Today we’ll mix up the Corpse Reviver No. 1 just because at The Drunkard’s Almanac our thoughts tend to drift toward Corpse Reviver cocktails after a big holiday.

Back in the late 19th century, when civilization was intact and a morning bracer was considered part of a complete breakfast, a few cocktails emerged to help vanquish hangovers.  The premise is a bit dubious but it’s got a vaguely homeopathic ring to it.  Although this has not been evaluated by the FDA it fits the like-cures-like premise.  The term “corpse reviver” does appear in print as early as an 1861 issue of Punch but does so without a recipe.

Bartenders have come up with any number of variations over the years.  Some are lost to time, but two versions, the Corpse Reviver No. 1 and the No. 2 are classics.  The recipes were first published in Harry Craddock’s seminal work, one we often refer to, The Savoy Cocktail Book.  There he describes both, with appropriate commentary.

We called for the Corpse Reviver No. 2 as Drink of the Day following Halloween.   That seemed only natural considering that the Zombie was on tap for Halloween itself.  Long forgotten, the Corpse Reviver No. 2 was revived, so to speak, in the early 2000s.  It’s by far the most popular version and is a bright, citrus-influenced cocktail suitable for any time of the year.  That said, some caution is warranted.  As Craddock notes, “Four of these taken in quick succession will unrevived the corpse again.”  So stick to no more than three before you turn to something else.

The Corpse Reviver No. 1 is certainly less known, but its Cognac and Calvados components make it a perfect fall/winter drink.  Craddock notes it is “To be taken before 11am or whenever steam and energy are needed.”  Our Editorial Board believes it is not so limited.  We find it also appropriate later in the day and particularly as an after-dinner tipple.

Corpse Reviver No. 1

Corpse Reviver No. 1

Lesser known than the ever popular Corpse Reviver No 2, the Corpse Reviver No. 1 is a perfect fall/winter drink. Whether you use it as originally proscribed ("To be taken before 11am or whenever steam and energy as needed.") or as an after-dinner drink, its warming combination of Cognac and apple brandy is always tasty.
We present the recipe as originally printed in The Savoy Cocktail Book. More recent versions tend to equalize the amounts of Cognac and Calvados. We leave it to the reader to decide for themselves.
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  • Add all ingredients to your trusty mixing glass.
  • Add ice and stir to chill.
  • Strain into pre-chilled cocktail glass.
  • Drink.
  • Feel revived.
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