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  • Writer's pictureThomas D. Williams

Corpse Reviver #2

The Corpse Reviver #2 is a perfect drink for beginning bartenders both for its simplicity and its resilience to serious mistakes. It is made from four equal parts of gin, fresh lemon juice, Cointreau, and Lillet Blanc (Cocchi Americano may be substituted for this last ingredient to provide a little bitterness). It is capped by a dash of absinthe, meant to excite the nose as you move in for your first sip.

A refreshing drink -- as its name suggests -- the CR2 makes for an ideal evening quaff to neatly divide the workday from well-deserved downtime. The significant presence of lemon juice prevents the concoction from becoming cloying and insures the drink's promise as an effective pick-me-up.

The drink was intended originally as a cure for hangover, to be drunk in the morning, but its restorative qualities are at least as effective in rousing a person after a mind-numbing board meeting or hours of intense desk work.

I first tried a CR2 years ago at the Root restaurant in lower Michigan, following a round of golf with a dear friend, and it was love at first taste. The barman at the Root used Hendrick's gin, and for a while I never deviated from this tried and true ingredient. Eventually, however, I began experimenting with other gins with interesting results. Hendricks is a "soft" gin with a cucumber base, but swapping it out for the distinctly snappier Tanqueray or the spicy Crocodile Gin del Professore yielded exciting variations.

According to the Savoy Cocktail Book the CR2 should be served straight up, without ice, but some prefer it on the rocks in a double old fashioned glass. Either way, it should be served ice cold and the dash of absinthe should be added once the drink has been mixed, not before.



- 1 part gin

- 1 part fresh lemon juice

- 1 part Cointreau (no, not Triple sec!)

- 1 part Lillet Blanc (or Cocchi Americano)

- 1 dash absinthe


Pour the four principal ingredients over abundant ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for at least 20 seconds and strain into a coupe. Add 1-2 dashes of absinthe on top.

Garnish with lemon peel.


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