Happy Hour: Corpse Reviver #2 Cocktail

Right about now, you’re likely looking at the name of this cocktail and thinking, “why are you talking about corpses when Halloween has already passed?” Well, it turns out, the saintly celebrations haven’t ended for me quite yet because this weekend I’m attending an enormous Dia De Los Muertos celebration (read: rumored to be the largest in Southern California). I’m not really sure what to expect, but I’ll take lots of photos and will be sure to share them. What I am sure of is that DDLM is a celebration and logic follows that it’s best to toast spirited celebrations with spirited drinks, hence the Corpse Reviver #2.

To be clear, the Corpse Reviver #2 doesn’t have much to do with Halloween, All Saints’ Day, or DDLM; it’s named so because it’s a hair-of-the-dog cocktail that’s supposed to bring you back to life after a debaucherous night. While I can’t vouch for its hangover-curing capabilities, I can vouch that it has a fabulous subtle flavor, is nicely balanced, and is so easy to make that it’s pretty much foolproof. The two ingredients you may not have on hand are Lillet Blanc and absinthe and I urge you to go out and buy both. In my opinion, a well-rounded bar should have a bottle of each because they both work as well on their own as they do layered into drinks.

One final thing: you’re probably noticed that this drink is numbered #2 and are perhaps curious as to what happened to #1 (I know I was when I first came across this drink). It turns out there is a Corpse Reviver #1 but experience has taught me it’s nowhere near as interesting as #2, so I suggest you skip it and concentrate your cocktail shaking skills into whipping up one of these life-giving libations.

Corpse Reviver #2 Cocktail Recipe

Makes: 1 cocktail

There are many variations on the classic Corpse Reviver cocktail but #2 is considered by many to be the best of the lot. Most recipes for this cocktail call for equal parts gin, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc, and lemon, but I find the lemon tends overwhelms everything at that amount so I’ve halved it. As for the absinthe, start with one drop and add more to your liking — I like it best when there’s a hint of licorice in the cocktail (about 1 to 3 drops) but not so much that it tastes like a mouthful of anise seeds.


1 ounce gin
1 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce Lillet Blanc
1/2 ounce freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1 to 3 drops absinthe
Orange peel, for garnish (optional)


Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and fill halfway with ice.
Close and shake until cold, about 10 seconds.
Immediately strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Squeeze orange peel over drink, rub on glass rim, then drop in glass and serve.

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