Corpse Reviver, Revisited

When I wrote about the Corpse Reviver No. 2, I explored the variation with Swedish Punsch instead of Lillet (or Cocchi Americano) and found I preferred the version with Cocchi Americano.

However, recently a friend mentioned they’d been enjoying the same cocktail with the version of Arrack Punch I made for Tales. I wanted to revisit same.

So when Brian Ellison, from Death’s Door Spirits, called me and asked if I wanted to help out with his booth at the Slow Food Expo here in San Francisco, the first drink that came to mind was a Corpse Reviver with my home made Arrack Punch.

I mean, c’mon, if there is a more appropriate drink to make with Death’s Door Gin than a Corpse Reviver, I have no idea what it is. Plus, it has a whole home made angle…

So I made another 3 liter batch of Arrack Punch, sent him the list of other ingredients, and put it on my calendar.

We served them Saturday night and Sunday morning. This evening my arms and shoulders are still sore from shaking cocktails. But, wow, what a great response! Many folks just surprised that they would even enjoy a cocktail made with gin. Others who were coming back, and some telling me that their friends had told them they had to try that “Corpse drink”. And a group from Chow.com, I probably should have cut off, as they were probably responsible for drinking a quarter of the Corpse Reviver mix I had prepared. But hey, they kept coming back and telling me how great it was…

So anyway, if you’re keeping track:

Corpse Reviver No. 2a

3/4 oz Gin
3/4 oz Homemade Swedish Punch
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
dash Absinthe

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass.

For what it is worth, the earliest I find this variation on the Corpse Reviver No. 2 is in the 1948 edition of Patrick Gavin Duffy’s “The Official Mixer’s Manual” edited, revised, and expanded by James Beard.

In earlier editions of Duffy’s book, the more traditional Kina Lillet is called for.

Dixie Cocktail

Dixie Cocktail

1/2 Dry Gin. (Generous 1 oz Beefeater’s Gin)
1/4 French Vermouth. (Generous 1/2 oz Noilly Prat Dry Vermouth)
1/4 Absinthe. (Generous 1/2 oz Marteau Verte Classique)

Shake well and strain into cocktail glass.

As someone who is, well, “Middle Aged,” I am fascinated by people who re-invent themselves and their careers “later” in life.

Instead of accepting the status quo and “keep on, keepin’ on”, they find a new enthusiasm, or one that has been with them all along, and turn what was a passion into a business plan.

“Foodie” Steve Sando turned a passion for good ingredients into Racho Gordo. Eric Seed (though, he’s a bit younger than the rest of us!) left a career in banking and business to launch Haus Alpenz.

Gwydion Stone is another.

A long time proponent of Absinthe, and founder of The Wormwood Society, he has turned his passion for well made Absinthe into a business venture, Gnostalgic Spirits.

Last year he launched his first commercial product, Marteau Verte Classique, an Absinthe based on tradition recipes and made in accordance with recipes from the 19th Century. It is currently distilled in Switzerland by the Matter-Luginbühl Distillery who also manufacture the Duplais Absinthes among others. Some time this year, he is hoping to launch an Absinthe produced in the US.

The interesting thing about the Verte Classique, is that has been specifically designed to be cocktail friendly.

Which brings us back to the “Dixie Cocktail.”

Because they can use some of the same botanicals, the combination of Absinthe and Gin is always interesting. Depending on the Gin, sometimes interesting is good and sometimes interesting is bad.

I tried the Marteau on its own, diluted with water, as is traditional. It is a very well balanced Absinthe, with the wormwood flavors in harmony with the other botanicals and the anise more reserved than many other modern style Absinthes.

In the Dixie Cocktail, it was interesting, in that it seemed like the Wormwood was out front in the scent of the cocktail and the other botanicals more expressed in the flavor or later taste sensations. The licorice of the Beefeaters, (a proven Absinthe friendly Gin,) is particularly prominent the flavor. This isn’t a cocktail for those who aren’t sure if they like Absinthe or Anise.

Sources indicate this cocktail, like the Aviation, came from Hugo Ensslin’s 1916 book, “Recipes for Mixed Drinks”. I also note a striking similarity to the “Obituary Cocktail” as served at Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop in New Orleans.

But, if you enjoy Anise and her friends, raise a Dixie Cocktail in honor of second chances rather than Obituaries.

This post is one in a series documenting my ongoing effort to make all of the cocktails in the Savoy Cocktail Book, starting at the first, Abbey, and ending at the last, Zed.