On this episode of “Cocktail College,” host Tim McKirdy is joined by Harrison Snow from NYC’s Lullaby to explore the Corpse Reviver No. 2. The two discuss the perfect proportions for the equal-parts hangover remedy, and share their takeaways after sampling the cocktail with over 100 gins.

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Harrison Snow’s Corpse Reviver No. 2 Recipe

Ingredients

  • ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ ounce Tempus Fugit Kina L’Aero d’Or
  • ¾ ounce Cocchi Americano
  • ¾ ounce Cointreau
  • ¾ ounce London Dry Gin, such as Tanqueray
  • 3 drops saline solution (4 parts water / 1 part salt)
  • 2 dashes absinthe, such as Vieux Pontarlier

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until cold.
  2. Strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass.

Check Out the Conversation Here

Tim McKirdy: HBO’s got a new show. It’s a Game of Thrones preview, and you might say that winter is coming, because we’ve got Harrison Snow in the studio today. I’m sorry about that one. Harrison, welcome.

Harrison Snow: Thank you so much for having me, Tim.

T: Pleasure to have you here in VinePair’s studio and the “Cocktail College,” the home of “Cocktail College.”

H: Likewise. I’m glad to be here.

T: Looking forward to getting into the Corpse Reviver No. 2. I’ve got two questions off the bat for you. What’s the earliest you’ve ever had a Corpse Reviver No. 2 in the day?

H: Oh my goodness, in the day. I think, actually, today might have been the earliest that I had one, just because I was trying to solidify my recipe, make sure that everything was still the way that I liked it. So that was probably about, I don’t know, 10:30 in the morning?

T: 10:30, okay.

H: Oftentimes, with my late-night schedule working at Lullaby and everything, earlier than I tend to get up.

T: So it’s an early one for you today.

H: My corpse was certainly revised this morning. I’ll tell you that much.

T: Second question for you. Part B here of the opener. What is the most amount of Corpse Reviver No. 2s you’ve had in succession?

H: Oh my goodness. Wow. Definitely enough to need my corpse revived.

T: The next day?

H: The following day as well. I don’t know. Probably somewhere in the realm of eight to 10? Is that too much?

T: Eight to 10 Corpse Revivers?

H: I think they say you’re supposed to, I don’t know. Whenever you talk to your doctor, however many drinks you say you have in a week, they’re supposed to double it?

T: Yeah.

H: That’s what they do. So I’m always like, “Oh, should I say 10? Or should I say five?”

The History of the Corpse Reviver No. 2

T: Yeah. Depends. There’s no doctors here, but we will be chatting doctors, because they’re an integral part of the history of this drink. And I ask you those two questions in the beginning here, only because, and I’m sure we’ll get into this. But I think the recipe first appears in the classic “Savoy Cocktail Book.” Harry Craddock, who notes on this drink to be taken before 11 a.m., or whenever steam and energy are needed. So good job on the 10:30. And he also famously cautioned, four of these taken in swift succession will quickly un-revive the corpse again. So, I don’t know whether eight takes you too far, but keeping it on track there. Sorry, just slipped that one in. Before we do that, for anyone unfamiliar, can you briefly outline the ingredients that are in this drink that we’re exploring today?

H: I certainly can. Yeah. So as published in the “Savoy Cocktail Book,” I believe Harry Craddock’s recipe was equal parts dry gin, Cointreau, Kina Lillet, and lemon juice, with an additional dash of absinthe.

T: And yeah, interesting one there. It follows that, and I don’t know how we didn’t mention this in the Last Word recipe, in the Last Word episode. But yeah, it’s that classic formula we’re seeing again. Maybe this predates the Last Word. Who knows? We don’t need to get into that, but great formula.

H: Yeah. Excellent formula. Yeah. Yeah. Fundamental formula for tons of modern classics.

T: So you want to chat a little bit more about that history there? We have Harry Craddock’s book, but are there any other notable points in history where this cocktail appears, and then what about modern day, even up to 2022?

H: Well, so I mean, in terms of the history, I mean it’s interesting. I think that as far as I can tell, the “Savoy Cocktail Book” was the earliest publishing that we can find of this specific recipe for the Corpse Reviver No. 2. There were later recipes published in a few books that actually used Swedish Punsch in place of Kina Lillet, which is fascinating.

T: What is Swedish Punsch?

H: It can be made from an assortment of different base spirits, either arak or rum mixed with spices and arak tea, which is lemon juice, and yeah. Haus Alpenz, they have a product that’s sort of a modern remake of Swedish Punsch that I think they worked with, I want to say Wondrich on? But I’m not so sure.

T: Sounds about right.

H: Yeah.

T: This cocktail also seems very much in the Haus Alpenz wheelhouse in terms of the spirits that they have, their offerings. They have some wonderful stuff.

H: Absolutely. So I think that’s the earliest publishing that we can find, and certainly the base recipe that everybody I know seems to go by. But as I can tell, the term Corpse Reviver… Obviously there’s also the Corpse Reviver No. 1 in the “Savoy Cocktail Book,” which is a stirred cocktail with Cognac and Applejack or apple brandy of some kind. Which is, I think, a lot less commonly made today than the Corpse Reviver No. 2.

T: For sure.

H: But the term, I think definitely predates this specific cocktail recipe. Seems to have been used in Britain in the 1900s, or even maybe the mid-1800s.

T: Yeah. I believe perhaps even earlier.

H: Yeah, exactly. And certainly the sentiment behind it, which is a cocktail that’s a morning tonic, or something to revive your corpse from the night before is definitely an age-old concept. Right?

T: Hair of the dog.

H: Hair of the dog, yeah. And we see, as cocktails evolve throughout hundreds and hundreds of years, we see that various different applications of using these ways of justifying why we’re drinking at certain times that maybe we shouldn’t be drinking. Right? So it’s an interesting conversation, I think historically, whether it was just a reason for justifying the rampant alcoholism that was all over the world.

T: We do like to do that in Britain.

H: Certainly.

T: I can confirm, to this day.

H: And not just in Britain, right? We have our digestifs and our aperitifs in France and Italy, right? “Open up your palate or start your digestive process,” whatever it is. I think really, we just like to drink. That’s my theory. So it’s fascinating. But yeah, I mean, that’s kind of it in terms of history. I think Ted Hay might have been the one to bring it back in the early 2000s. And since then, it’s been, I think, a classic that’s beloved by bartenders. I see more and more people ordering it at just off-menu at cocktail bars, which I think is pretty cool.

T: Yeah. I think that is cool. I mean, it’s something I was going to ask you. And I’ll jump in with that now, too. So at Lullaby, because I mean I would urge folks if they’re in New York or visiting to go check you guys out down there. I think your offering is really interesting and wonderful in the… We’re talking volume, or your place gets busy, but the drinks are very, very high quality. We’re talking proper craft cocktails, if I’m allowed to use the term craft still or if that’s cool anymore. But that is the intersection of those two, because it’s also a young crowd. It’s a great place to spend the night. So my question is, how much are people calling it out there? Because yeah, this is kind of a nerdy one. You have to know it, right?

H: Certainly. Yeah. It’s not too often that you get a Corpse Reviver. I also have noticed that when people do order it, they just say Corpse Reviver, and the assumption is that it’s the No. 2.

T: No. 2, yeah.

H: But we’ve gotten it certainly, a handful of times. And the cool thing about Lullaby for me is that, the whole process of Lullaby, especially because it’s a younger crowd and certain nights of the week tends to be a demographic that otherwise doesn’t interact with a high- caliber cocktail experience all that often, which is part of the goal of the project, is that we’re able to open people up to these cocktails. So we find that maybe on a night where we have a little bit more time to have a conversation with someone, and, “Hey, maybe try this classic.” Suddenly everyone’s ordering it. So we’ve seen that with certain cocktails.

T: That’s cool.

H: Yeah, like the Martinez and the Bijou. We’ve got people drinking Bijous all the time. It’s pretty cool.

T: You guys are influencing the next generation of drinkers here in New York, that’s for sure.

H: I hope so. I mean, that’s at least the goal. I appreciate you saying that.

T: Before we leave, by the way, this is a complete jump. I’m just jumping around here, but…

H: Jump around.

T: On the history, right, you mentioned the term “Corpse Reviver.” Got a little something in my notes here as well, if I can just refer to. In the 19th century, a “corpse provider” was a facetious term for a physician, which tells us a lot about general consumer confidence for health care in the era. Those are the words there of myself, Tim McKirdy on our Corpse Reviver No. 2. But the corpse provider, that was the name for doctors. Wonderful. I like the duality of the provider and the reviver. I’m not sure whether doctors were prescribing this. Maybe back then, though.

H: It’s quite possible. Doctors really prescribed an assortment of things that now are, I think, deemed strictly recreational items today.

T: 100 percent. So yeah, coming back to modern day, you said Ted Hay, probably. And yeah, this is one that does gain steam through the cocktail renaissance, through this kind of golden era. We will do the ingredients in a little bit, but how much do you think this: Its popularity is tied to absinthe, because of course up until 2007, absinthe wasn’t available in the U.S., because it was illegal and had been illegal for well almost 100 years. So with that coming back, do you feel like that might have played into what bartenders wanted to make at the time and reuse this ingredient they had again?

H: I think that’s quite possible. I think it’s a combination of that and also the resurgence of gin and how prevalent gin has become, both of those things together. Because this cocktail is, it’s a really fascinating cocktail to me, but when it’s done right, it’s really a perfect intro to absinthe cocktails for somebody who maybe has had experiences with absinthe that are otherwise a little bit intense for them. And likewise with gin, right? So I think that’s entirely possible in both scenarios.

T: Yeah, I think that’s a great point as well. Just that reminder of gin, too, because it’s something we really take for granted, just how popular gin is now. But yeah, it’s not always been that way. It’s not always been that approachable. In terms of the cocktail itself, if you’re making it or you were making it this morning at 10:30 a.m., what are you looking for in the final profile? What are you hoping to taste in that drink or smell? What’s the texture like for you? What’s the perfect version of this drink?

H: Excellent question. I think this cocktail specifically is a really delicate balance of specific ingredients. I think it can be made a ton of different ways and you can certainly swap out different gins, different Curaçaos, and we can talk about more of that later, certainly. But I don’t know. Whenever I’m trying to come up with my personal recipe for a cocktail that has some sort of historical prevalence, I like to try and make it in its original form first and try to see maybe what the creator was looking to achieve. Because with a cocktail like this, you can swap out a lot of ingredients and suddenly, you have a totally different thing, even if you’re still following that same basic profile of gin, Curaçao, lemon juice, some sort of fortified aromatized wine, and some absinthe. It is my belief that this is a very bright cocktail. It’s very refreshing, with very strong notes of citrus that carry through a static note of absinthe, right? It’s a refreshing absinthe cocktail. I also think that this cocktail really highlights lemon in a very cool way. I think a lot of people tend to skew towards lime in the cocktail community. We see it, a lot of people agree it’s the superior citrus or whatever. And I agree for most applications. You can’t really swap out lemon juice in a Daiquiri and get a comparable end result at all. I feel like I see lemon juice more often used in cocktails of a larger volume. And this is a cocktail where I think that lemon juice really shines through. And if you have the rest of your ingredients balanced in such a way that the cocktail comes out the way that I think it should, it’s really crisp and refreshing and tart and somewhat dry. And again, carrying through that really nice clean, sharp note of absinthe. And I think in that way, it’s a perfect Corpse Reviver. Were you to be drinking this before 11 in the morning as prescribed, it’s perfect in that way. I mean, it’s like a morning shot of lemon juice to get you going, in a way that the Corpse Reviver No. 1 isn’t, really.

T: No, not at all.

H: It’s sturdy and boozy, right. So it makes sense why this one kind of, I think would be the one. Yeah.

T: I think it’s also a more appealing profile for a cocktail, more interesting, right, than the No. 1? I mean, the No. 1’s a great drink. I think it definitely deserves its own episode. It’ll get one one day, but yeah, I think the No. 2 Is more interesting. Quick sidebar here on that. Not that many cocktails out there that have multiple iterations. The Tuxedo. Are there two Tuxedos? No, wait. Is there just one?

H: I only know of one Tuxedo. But I could be wrong.

T: I might be making that up. And it might be one of those ones that I’ve just always been confused about. I’m going to Google this on my phone right now. Sorry about this, folks. Tuxedo No 2. There is one.

H: There is one. Okay.

T: Oh, wait. That might be a… Yeah. Yes. That is correct. Okay. I don’t know if there’s Tuxedo No. 1. I’m assuming there is as well. This is showing some of my lack of knowledge here of the classics.

H: We’ll cut this part out.

T: But what we’re saying essentially is, there’s not that many others, right?

H: There’s not that many, no. I mean, you definitely see in early cocktail books, there were various iterations. Maybe not No. 1, No. 2, but you have Old Fashioned whiskey cocktail, Old Fashioned brandy cocktail, things like that that sort of follow the same style. But yeah, no. Not too many that have multiple iterations like that. I mean, those are completely different cocktails, so I don’t really consider them just being the same family other than having the same name.

T: I like that idea, though, of coming up with a trilogy, or two cocktails in the same family. Is that ever something that comes up for yourself when you’re coming up with names for drinks, when you’re creating drinks? Have you ever thought about that? Maybe I’m going to do the trilogy.

H: Interesting. You mean the McKirdy triple triple?

T: Oh.

H: Is that what we’re talking?

T: No, but feel free to introduce the public to that.

H: I certainly can. I was going to wait until you asked me what my favorite cocktail was. Because I only have three at a time.

T: Tell the world about the famous McKirdy triple round.

H: The McKirdy triple round is something that was introduced to me fairly recently. I certainly needed my corpse revived the next morning after that.

T: Same.

H: But Tim and I were out with my business partner and good friend, Jake, from Martinis. And Tim said, “You know what, guys? Let’s have one more round. But it’s going to be a McKirdy triple round.” I was like, “Oh God, what is this?” I think that we each had a pilsner and an aquavit, and a cocktail. And you chose the Last Word, I think because you just done the Last Word episode.

T: You’ve just done the Last Word episode. So that’s why we went with the Last Word. But yeah, that’s the classic triple there.

H: The classic triple.

T: The pilsner, aquavit, and cocktail of your choice. However, it can never be a Martini. The Martini begins the night, you go two max, and then you’re out. I do tend towards shaken drinks as well for that triple, but try it at home, folks. It’s wonderful. No, when I meant the triple there though, I was trying to pull up that article as well, too, again, because one thing that I think has helped this drink, not just its wonderful formula and flavor, but it’s an evocative name. That helps things have staying power in the industry.

H: Yeah. I think that’s absolutely true. I mean, something about that name really sticks with you. It paints a vivid picture, a Corpse Reviver. I think we can all relate to the idea, or to the image rather, of waking up the next morning and feeling a corpse. Right? And we’ve all been there.

T: Somewhat ironic that the other very common drink for curing a hangover would be a Bloody Mary. Similarly, kind of evocative name right there.

H: Yeah, exactly.

Ingredients Used in the Corpse Reviver

T: So we spoke about the profile. We’ve done the history. And we’ve done a good amount about the name. Let’s get into, now, each ingredient bit by bit. Oh, actually, one thing. We will get into the recipe, but curious to hear. Are you going three-quarters of an ounce, or one ounce of gin? I see both recipes out there.

H: If I’m making it for myself, it’s one ounce. In the bar, usually three-quarters. And that’s how I was taught to make it. And in terms of the size of our glass, where it fits better, I think either works. Maybe slightly adjust your dashes of absinthe if it’s one. But yeah, three- quarters for us.

T: And the reason I bring that up now, rather than when we get into the recipe section it’s because I think it does have an impact on the texture of the cocktail. That extra three-quarters ounce of alcohol, it’s going to be bigger in body. That’s the way I view it in my mind. And if there’s one tiny complaint I have about the Corpse Reviver is, sometimes it can feel a little thin. Even if it’s full of flavor, texture-wise, it can feel a little weak for me. So I do like dialing that up, too. I guess you could do stuff with simple. We’ll get into that anyway. But gin. Are you going classic London Dry? Are you going American, or otherwise? What’s your preference when it comes to this drink?

H: My preference in this drink is definitely going to be a classic London Dry. I’ve certainly tried it with a bunch of other types of gins, and many of them work. And I do think that this is one of those drinks that, because the rest of the ingredients are relatively mild ingredients and are not intrusive bold ingredients, you can experiment with a ton of different gins. I may be one of the few people actually who, and this is one of the reasons I chose this cocktail, who’s tried this cocktail with at least 150 gins.

T: Really?

H: Yeah. I was trained in gin, and my first job in a cocktail bar was a gin bar. And that was one of the drinks on our menu in our classics section. And we would have people come in who were part of our gin club, and they would have to try every cocktail and every gin, and then they would get some prize at the end. Was really more about having them engage with the bar, right.

T: Cool.

H: So I’ve tried it with pretty much any gin you can name that was available at the time. There are so many gins popping up. Now it’s hard to keep track. But side note, classic London Dry for me. Absolutely. And something a little bit higher in ABV. Something maybe in the 47 to 49 percent is kind of the sweet spot for me, I think, for this cocktail. Tanqueray No. 10 works really well.

T: Big Tanq fan. One thing I will say as well, just that’s wonderful about gin, is that you really do get that, more than any other spirit I would say. Maybe American whiskey. You do get those range of ABVs, even just within the London Dry style. So you can really tweak this thing, bit by bit, just choosing one over another. We speak a lot about the fact that Beefeater has gone down to 44 now from 47.

H: Rest in peace.

T: Yeah. Yeah. Very sad day. You can go navy strength. If you want to go there at New York Distilling Co., Perry’s Tot. So you can really go across the board. And I think that’s one of the amazing things about gin.

H: Yeah. Oh, agreed. Absolutely.

T: Given that you did work in a gin bar, what’s your desert island gin?

H: Oh, man. My desert island gin. God, I have to pick one?

T: And don’t worry about the climate there.

H: Here’s my question: Do I have other ingredients to make a cocktail with this gin?

T: I’m going to say no.

H: Okay. I think it’s going to be Citadelle’s No Mistake Old Tom gin.

T: Okay.

H: That gin, I’m not even sure if it’s still available — at least the one that I was drinking back when I was working at that gin bar. We had a ton of it, I think because it was allocated and it was going out of stock. But amazing Old Tom gin. Enough juniper to call it a gin, but certainly a sweeter profile; it can be drunk on its own. And also in terms of drinking stuff on its own, I’m typically a whiskey guy. So it just kind of hits every note for me. And it’s absolutely delicious.

T: All right. Note on Citadelle as well. I hope I’m not breaking an embargo or anything here, because they’ve got a new one coming out, and it’s a limited-edition one to kind of commemorate 25 years or something. It’s full-on juniper, it’s a celebration of juniper. I forget the name, sorry guys. But it is amazing. Be on the lookout for that. And I’ve tried a very small sample of it. I’m very excited about it. So be on the lookout, and if it is that limited edition, pick up a bottle while we can. This is just organic here. This is me just saying, I’ve tried it, I love it. No one’s paying for that, but I’m definitely going to be on the lookout for bottles. What about if you were able to use that gin in cocktails, then? The other question there.

H: That’s a really good question. If I were to use it in cocktails, maybe Tanqueray No. 10.

T: Yeah?

H: Honestly, yeah. Good Martini with Tanqueray No. 10.

T: Yeah. It’s a classy bottle as well.

H: It is.

T: Very nice packaging. I don’t know, I go between that and Fords when I’m like…

H: Fords is great.

T: If I’m going my go-to Martini. But it evolves, it changes.

H: Sure.

T: Next one. Lillet. So we got into this pretty deep as well in the Vesper episode. Go check that one out if you haven’t heard that yet — after you finished listening to this, of course. Lillet, famously the story is the recipe was reformulated in 1986, I have written here. It’s believed that the modern-day profile isn’t as bitter as it was before. What’s your thinking when it comes to this ingredient? Are you seeking something else? Or are you splitting that component between two ingredients to try and capture that original profile? Or are you just saying, this cocktail works great with a modern-day version and that’s evolution?”

H: Great question. I absolutely agree. So I mean, I know for a fact that Lillet did change their recipe. I know that the company claims that they don’t, but they did. And yeah, so Lillet, I don’t like to use in this cocktail personally.

T: No?

H: No. I mean, obviously I was not around before 1986 to taste the original Kina Lillet, but I think we can all agree that the current Lillet Blanc does not resemble a Kina of any sort, really. So I’ve heard a lot of bartenders like to use Cocchi Americano also in their Vesper, right. I’m also a big fan of Tempus Fugit’s Kina L’Aéro d’Or. It used to be called Kina l’Avion. So I’ve tried it with both. I like to split those two 50/50 in my Corpse Reviver No. 2. I used to actually prefer the Tempus Fugit Kina, but I’ve found that as the cocktail warms up, although it does give it a little more body, like you talked about before, which I think is key there. As it warms up, it becomes a little cloying.

T: Got it.

H: So that split balance there for me is just perfect.

T: That’s awesome. I was going to ask you that as well, but that’s a great point about the body. And I’ve not tried the L’Aero d’Or on its own before, I’ve had it in certain cocktails. So, that does err on the sweeter side? So you say that the Koki’s the dryer, the more bitter of the two components there?

H: Not necessarily. The Kina L’Avion or Kina L’Aero d’Or is also very bitter or fairly bitter, but it’s got a decent amount of body to it, for sure. It’s very viscous, certainly syrupy. So those two together, I think both add bitterness in somewhat different ways, too. The bitterness in the Cocchi’s a little sharper and is a little more, I think, quinine-heavy. And the Kina, it brings a lot of citrus bitterness for me. I think that they balance really well together. Adding a little bit of body, adding some nice bitterness throughout, and some complementary citrus notes in there.

T: Yeah, I can already imagine that making for a much better cocktail because, yeah, I like Lillet. I think it’s a great product for different things.

H: Me too.

T: Spritz with it: amazing.

H: Amazing, yeah.

T: But no one’s going to say this is something that has body. And I mean, I don’t know what the original was, but ABV’s much lower as well. And again, that comes through in the body of the cocktail. So if you’re only using it for the name, then maybe it’s worth rethinking it here. We’re turning this drink pretty soon into a six-bottle pickup here, unless it’s going even more. What’s next for us? Lemon juice.

H: Lemon juice. That, I’m happy to say, I’m perfectly fine with a fresh squeeze of lemon juice there. That’s perfect. I do think that this is a drink, like I said, that really highlights the lemon juice, and so fresh is absolutely key here. And when we’re talking fresh, we’re talking day-of.

T: Day-of?

H: Yeah. If it’s in that six, eight hour window, that’s perfect. I think day of is perfectly fine. If you can squeeze it right before the cocktail, too, that also works. But yeah. We’ve been experimenting with Super Juice a little bit, like we talked about before.

T: I was going to ask you about this. This keeps coming up on the show as well.

H: You got to try it, man. It’s pretty remarkable stuff. I have not yet found a recipe for Super Lemon Juice that I think is perfect. So we’re sticking with fresh until that recipe gets dialed in. But I mean, if I think if you’re making this at home, fresh lemon juice. Absolutely. I mean, we don’t need to say more about that.

T: But the Super Lime for anyone listening — and again, we have touched upon it a bit — but what’s the thinking there? What’s happening there on that front?

H: So I’d heard a lot about this for a while, from a bunch of people. And as more credible voices in the industry started telling me, “Look, you really have to try Super Juice. We’ve totally changed our program.” I was like, “All right, I just need to try this so that I can tell these people that they’re idiots.” And so we actually tried it a few weeks ago at Lullaby. And so Super Juice for anybody who doesn’t know is, I guess, sort of combining the theory of a lime acid solution or a lemon acid solution, using your citric and your malic acids to mimic the acid profile of lime juice. And then blending that with the peels from the fruit and some of the fresh juice. And there’s a whole process. You can look it up; I don’t need to talk about it. But it’s pretty remarkable stuff. And we tried it in a variety of different cocktails at Lullaby. We tried it in a Daiquiri. And you really can’t hide in a Daiquiri, can you? And it worked really well. And actually in a blind taste test, our bartenders preferred it.

T: Really?

H: Yeah. I think that has something to do with the oils from the peel, right? Those are heavily incorporated into the juice, and I think that just adds another element.

T: Yeah.

H: It makes it dynamic, right? You get a sort of full picture of what that lime tastes like, and it adds some complexity and bitterness. And in a Daiquiri, we would usually toss a lime peel in the shaker anyway, or a lime shell. So it all kind of works out really well.

T: Yeah. And yeah, that’s great. I mean, that makes so much sense to me as well, when you’re talking about that extra layer of complexity and nuance. You guys are bartenders. You’ve got sophisticated palates, you taste a lot. So it does make sense to me that the more complex ingredient is going to be more attractive, for the most part.

H: Yeah. Yeah. It’s pretty cool. And it’s pretty cool just how indistinguishable it is from fresh lime juice. Both in the body, the freshness. And we tasted it several days after as well. I don’t really know how it works beyond that, but it’s pretty cool. And it minimizes the waste from the bar, certainly.

T: And limes are still pretty expensive, right?

H: Yeah, they’ve gone down a little bit in price. The prices were pretty intense a few months ago. But not so bad at the moment. But still, in terms of just on a sustainability front and also maximizing your costs, keeping them low, it’s kind of a no-brainer if you like the end result of the process.

T: Nice.

H: So I encourage everyone to try it and at least give it a shot.

T: Sounds wonderful. Next question here; next ingredient, even. The orange liqueur, forgot about that. I mean, Cointreau tends to do very well in taste tests as well and is very popular. Is that where you’re going? Or are you going anywhere different on that front?

H: I’m going for Cointreau. I am, yeah. Again, you can totally mix and match with this cocktail. Brian Miller, my colleague, likes to talk about the Mr. Potato Head theory of cocktails, right? It’s your world and you can mix it up however you want based on what you prefer. But I certainly think Cointreau is the way to go. Combier could work as well. But I think it’s important for anybody to know that in my opinion, you’re looking for something dry, something sort of one-note and something relatively higher in ABV. I think other Curaçaos that are based in Cognac are great in certain applications. But this isn’t one of them for me; it just adds a little too much to the picture, and it muddies the water, so to speak.

T: Yeah. I bet it takes away from that brightness you were talking about earlier.

H: It does, yeah.

T: And probably kills the absinthe, too. Actually, absinthe. I didn’t have it on my notes here. That’s the next one. A couple things here. We will talk about the preparation, but how much are you using? How much do you want this to impact the cocktail? A rinse? Okay. That’s great. But a rinse is very… It’s not a very specific application. I know these days, a lot of bartenders prefer a mist of absinthe over it or whatever. What’s your thinking when it comes to this cocktail?

H: I like to dash absinthe into the cocktail, personally. I think a rinse is great for certain cocktails, and we can talk more about technique later. I personally don’t believe that a rinse makes sense in most shaken cocktails if it’s on the glass. Especially if the cocktails fill up the entire volume of the glass, you might as well just put it in the cocktail. I think a rinse makes more sense in a Sazerac, where you have part of the glass exposed that the absinthe can cling to.

T: That’s a great point, and something I never considered before. And also, why waste a step?

H: It’s going to end up in the cocktail. Yeah, exactly. It’s going to end up in the cocktail, and you might as well shake it, integrate it. And in the hopes of maybe aerosolizing it a little bit and having it kind of start to come up through the cocktail. So yeah, I put two relatively hefty dashes. A dash is sort of a complicated thing to measure sometimes. But yeah, I do two. Two hefty dashes.

T: I think, this might be wrong. If I’m remembering correctly, we had Neal Bodenheimer on Episode number… Maybe even No. 2 or No. 3, I want to say. I think it was No. 3, the Sazerac. They were talking about at Cure they use pipettes, and I want to say that one dash is seven drops by his math. I might be wrong there. I might be misremembering. Sorry if I am, Neal. But that gives you an idea, right. But the dash, it’s tough. But are you using fancy, the Japanese kind of, those ones for the…

H: Yeah, we use the Japanese dasher button. So that’s two dashes equals one, approximately, is what people say.

T: There’s more control there on those ones.

H: More control, yeah. I’ve heard with the pipette, some people say 11 drops.

T: 11. Okay. That might be, yeah.

H: Look, I don’t know. What I like to do is I do my two dashes from the bottle that I’m familiar with, and I straw test it before I shake. And if it tastes like what I remember it should taste like, then I’m happy.

T: Perfect. Absinthe brand? I was thinking about this the other day. Is it just that one that we all see? I know there’s other absinthe out there, and there are domestic ones that are great. But is it just that one that we see very commonly? Sometimes with Van Gogh on it, you see them in duty frees. I bought a bottle at duty free. Is that the one you’re using? Or any thoughts there? Are you thinking more about maybe cost when it comes to that?

H: No. So it’s sort of tough. I think you can go a lot of different directions, and especially because it’s only two dashes, it’s hard to say. I have tested it with a few different ones, and I think I prefer it with Vieux Pontarlier myself. First of all, it’s very traditional in terms of its flavor profile, and it also has somewhat of a methylated quality to me, which I think really works well in that cocktail, and it just helps it shine a little bit more, and it’s sharp and it’s dry. But yeah, there are tons of different absinthe out there. It’s something you can explore with. Definitely something that, because there’s so little in the cocktail, I think you have more room to explore, rather than swapping out different Curaçaos or swapping out… To not to say that my recipe is, by any means the gold standard, but it’s not going to make a tremendous impact on the cocktail, I don’t believe.

T: I’m just blown away by this concept of putting it in the shaker there with the other ingredients. And also, I think it’s going to do more than just save labor. Like you said, exposing it to air and directly with dilution, rather than kind of secondary dilution with a cocktail. Yeah. I feel like that’s probably better for the ingredient.

H: Yeah, I agree. There’s so many things that we do in bartending because of tradition, or because of visual appeal. And some of those things are good in certain applications, but I think in this case, an absinthe rinse, it’s key for a Sazerac, it’s key for a number of other different cocktails. But if you want the cocktail to be consistent, and if you want it to really shine through as you sip it in a shaken cocktail, I think you put it in a shaker, for sure.

T: Speaking of the old rinse there as well, reminds me, during Dale DeGroff’s episode on the 50/50 Martini, he brought up a cocktail, the Flame of Love, invented for Dean Martin, and has the vermouth rinse. It was funnily enough, we made a video of it here at VinePair for our social media, and we had an article about the cocktail itself, and we put it out there. And I want to say we got an amazing response to the video online, but there were a few people there in the comments being very… There were hating on the rinse, and discarding the vermouth. There were some haters out there, so not everyone out there enjoys a rinse. Just putting that one out there.

H: That is true.

How to Make Harrison Snow’s Corpse Reviver No. 2

T: All right, then. Let’s talk about the preparation here. Speak us through the cocktail as if you were making it here in the studio today, including your recipe, your ratios. And also, you can go into the specifics of the shaker, the ice, everything. We want to hear it all.

H: All right. Let’s get nerdy, I guess. So if we want to get really, really specific, I’m using a Cocktail Kingdom Kariko, two-piece metal shaker tin, and I’m building in my small tin.

T: Good.

H: Yeah. And so measuring in a jigger, three-quarters of ounce of each ingredient, starting with your least expensive ingredient first, so that if you mess up, you can dump it out and not waste your fancy expensive alcohol, and then a 50/50 blend of my Cocchi Americano and my Kina L’Aero d’Or, three-quarters of ounce of that as well. Three-quarters of an ounce of my Cointreau, and then three-quarters of say, my Tanqueray No. 10 or whatever London Dry gin you may have available.

T: So you’re going for that three-quarter. You’re not going for the one?

H: I’m not going for the one.

T: Okay.

H: I’m going for the three-quarter.

T: Three-quarter Tanq.

H: Certainly.

T: Nice.

H: And then I would also add about three drops of saline solution to that cocktail. Or you could do a very, very small pinch of salt. I think that this is a cocktail that really benefits from a little bit of salt. And two hefty dashes of my Vieux Pontarlier absinthe.

T: Nice.

H: Yep. I’m adding some high-quality ice.

T: Kold Draft?

H: Kold Draft. If you’re at home, something large-format from the freezer and then maybe a small cube to contribute some dilution, shaking it for about 10 to 12 seconds. And I am fine straining it into a preferably chilled Nick and Nora glass.

T: Nick and Nora, huh?

H: Yeah. I like it in Nick and Nora. Anything of that build, three-quarter, three-quarter, three- quarter, I think Nick and Nora is really nice. If you were doing a coupe and you had a little bit more room in the glass, I think that maybe you could justify your absinthe rinse. And then garnish-wise, I don’t garnish this cocktail. I think some people argue that a lemon swath expressed over the top of the cocktail works. I personally think that that sort of overtakes my aromatic experience of the absinthe. And so if you were to do that, my suggestion to you would be to also aromatize some absinthe over the top in addition to that lemon oil.

T: Nice.

H: Which, those two things work really well together, as we know from our Sazerac. So that can work as well. And then I would serve it to my guest, or drink it, preferably, myself.

T: And then proceeds to make and drink three more in quick succession, so that you’re hitting Craddock’s rules there.

H: Got to hit Craddock’s rules. Those are the rules I live by.

T: I got to say, when you were talking about the garnish there, it occurred to me… Maybe I’m just a curmudgeon. But less and less these days do I enjoy a lemon garnish in anything that’s served up in a kind of coupe. I do like an express and discard where necessary. I don’t know. I’m kind of over it for now. I go through phases. How do you feel about that?

H: I don’t know, I wouldn’t say I’m over it myself.

T: I’m not trying to bring you on board with this.

H: No, I understand what you’re saying. As I was going through my recipe for this cocktail, I was trained to garnish it with a lemon peel. And I think also, a lot of times, we recognize that a cocktail might look pretty with a garnish. And if that garnish is a peel, we just automatically assume that we’re going to express it. And we don’t always think about the implications that might have on the cocktail. Also, you see bartenders oftentimes over-expressing their peels, and it really can totally ruin a drink, particularly for those first few sips. So it depends on the drink. There are some drinks that I’ve had, or that I’ve worked on with peers where I will just be missing something, and I can’t quite figure out what it is. And this actually happened relatively recently with Brian Miller. When we were coming up with cocktails for a pop-up we were doing in Paris, and we couldn’t get this one down. And then he was like, “Give me a minute.” Made a version, put it right in front of me. I was like, “This is amazing. What did you do?” Lemon peel, express, discard.

T: Express and discard. Miller, a man after my own heart. Friend of the show. All right, I’m going to throw you a tough one here.

H: Throw me a tough one.

T: A curve ball. Name me a cocktail of this ilk, of this style that we’re talking about here, that is actively improved by placing the peel garnish in it.

H: Of this style, placing garnish in it?

T: So shaken or stirred, served up in a coupe-style glass or a Nick and Nora.

H: Shaken or stirred?

T: Shaken or stirred.

H: That’s a good question. You know what? And this is a very controversial opinion that I have. I believe… But you’re saying stirred up, is served up in a coupe glass. I was going to say a Sazerac, so that doesn’t quite fit the…

T: No, so that’s why I’m saying that specifically. Because I want this in my Sazerac, or on the edge.

H: Yeah. Miller does not.

T: Really?

H: He doesn’t. Yes. We’ve had a lot of conversations about this.

T: Geez.

H: I know. I think I would argue a Martini. I do like it in my Martini.

T: Yeah?

H: I know you don’t.

T: I like it expressed. I don’t know, it’s the curmudgeon, I don’t know what it is. While we’re on these takes, in speaking about rocks glass versus up, we may have spoken about this offline at some point or maybe not: the Boulevardier. I’m only ever again drinking Boulevardiers up in a coupe. I know that’s how Toby Cecchini does it down in Long Island Bar. I had this for the first time recently in New Orleans. Blew my mind. Never going back.

H: Yeah. I agree. I prefer the Boulevardier up as well. I also think because I mean, my recipe for a Boulevardier personally is one and a half, three-quarter, three-quarter. And I think because it’s showcasing and highlighting the main spirit a little bit more, for some reason, it makes more sense to me that it’s up. But I do serve my Negroni on the rocks. And I don’t really understand necessarily why, on an intricate level, those things are that much different. Because a Negroni can be great up. So it just works better, doesn’t it?

T: Yeah. It must be like you say. I mean, the only difference of course is the spirit. I think it’s probably that, and it’s something to do with that. But yeah. Well we do digress, but we enjoy doing so. Any final thoughts on the Corpse Reviver No. 2, before we head into the final section of the show?

H: No, I mean, I think my only other notes are that I think it’s important to find your own recipes. I mean, my recipe, I think is great and I’ve tested it a lot, but like I said, I don’t think it’s the golden rule. And everybody has different preferences. It’s definitely a cocktail where you can do a lot of experimenting, and you can experiment with a number of different gins. There are certainly other gins that work well in it that are not of a London Dry style. You can even get really weird and use Monkey 47 or Apostoles Mate, and introduce some new flavors into the mix. So I don’t know. That’s the fun thing about this stuff, right, is you could make, I don’t know, thousands of different versions of this cocktail really, and enjoy quite a few of them.

T: That’s wonderful. Might as well throw another hot take out there while we’re at. It just reminded me there. I think Monkey 47 is a wonderful product, and I particularly enjoy the select distillers batch series, the limited-edition ones they do. I don’t think it’s a great cocktail gin, though.

H: It’s definitely a tricky cocktail gin. That’s for sure. It doesn’t work in everything. And it also is going to fundamentally change pretty much any cocktail you put it in, isn’t it? If you’re looking for any that resembles a standard gin. But I think it’s fun to play around with.

T: But I’ll tell you this. So every year for VinePair, when we do the annual, I do different roundups tasting for our column. When I’m doing the gin roundup, I always leave that tasting, thinking, “I’m going to drink more neat gin,” because gin really does work well neat if it’s good enough, and we just don’t do it. And then when I get home, if I’m drinking neat spirits, I’m drinking whiskey. So I never do it, I never follow that. But I will say, Monkey 47 is one of three, five bottles I have on my shelf that I would consider drinking neat. Most of them I’m not going to, but it’s great for that.

H: Yeah. Here’s another hot take. I think if you believe that a gin is a viable option to be consumed neat, I think that there is a Martini recipe out there for that gin.

T: Yes. Yes. Fair enough. Fair enough. That’s a good point.

H: That is what I believe.

T: Yeah. No, that’s a good point.

H: Yeah. But it’s tricky. Monkey 47 is definitely tricky. I had a lot of fun working with products at the gin bar that I worked at, particularly because part of that job was introducing people to what gin was and what it could be. And it was always fun to introduce maybe a slightly more experienced drinker who’s like, “Okay, I know my London Dry. I know that.” But they hadn’t had Monkey 47. Put that in a cocktail, and they’re like, “Whoa, what is going on?” Right? So I think it’s fun.

Getting to Know Harrison Snow.

T: It’s great. Yeah. All right then, we’re doing it. We’re going into the final questions of the show. The five quick hits. Doesn’t need to be that quick, but the five final questions of the show.

H: All right.

T: Starting with No. 1: What style or category of spirit typically enjoys the most real estate on your back bar?

H: So for me, typically, it’s going to be gin, as we’ve discussed thoroughly throughout this podcast. But currently at Lullaby, it is by far rum.

T: And I wonder why that is.

H: I know. Yeah. He’s snuck it in somehow. But that’s been really fun, the process of rediscovering rum and learning more about it with Brian who’s just so absolutely in love with and enchanted by it. It’s very cool. So currently it’s rum, but typically it would absolutely be gin for me.

T: Amazing. Brian Miller there, just in case anyone needs reminding. Friend of the show appeared on Episode No. 5, I want to say. Mai Tai — check that out after as well. A lot of listening to do after this one. People are doing the Vesper, they’re doing Mai Tai. Hope you got a lot of stuff lined up to do while you’re listening to these. Anyway, question No. 2: What ingredient or tool is the most undervalued in a bartender’s arsenal?

H: Salt.

T: Salt? You snuck it in there in the recipe as well.

H: I think it’s salt, I really do. And that is not by any means a revelation coming out of my mouth, because I think the person who really popularized this recently is Dave Arnold. But it still baffles me how many cocktail bars I’ve worked in, and also how many places I see that just don’t… Not only don’t have salt in any of their classics, but they don’t even have saline solution made or available nearby.

T: What dilution are you typically going to do with your saline solution?

H: I’m doing four parts water to one part salt.

T: Got it.

H: Yeah. I think it really, just as another tool in your arsenal is so essential. And for anybody who hasn’t worked with it, just try it out in a few cocktails, a few classics, Daiquiri, and see what you think.

T: Have your mind blown.

H: Yeah, really.

T: This really reminds me again of this theory I have. People think that cooking and bartending are very similar. I would say that, yes, that’s true to a certain extent, but pastry chefs, patisserie is more—

H: Baking.

T: Yeah, baking. That’s much more similar to bartending and making cocktails than working in the hot kitchen. And so often in pastry as well, pastry chefs don’t use salt and need to. They don’t realize that they need a little bit in their sauces or whatever. And it just transforms a recipe.

H: Right. And I also think people don’t even really think about, you’re following your basic recipe for cookies or something like that, and it’s a teaspoon of salt. You just put it in. You’re like, “Oh, because it’s in the recipe.” Well, why is it in there? It’s in there because it’s salt, right?

T: We need it. We need it to enhance flavors.

H: Exactly. Yeah.

T: And also at one point, give people their worth, their salary. Question No. 3: What’s the most important piece of advice you’ve received while working in this industry?

H: Yikes, that’s a tough one. “You’re not a mixologist; you’re just a bartender.”

T: Okay.

H: Honestly. I think sometimes we take ourselves a little too seriously in this industry, and we forget that we are just slinging drinks and getting people drunk, and trying to show people a good time. And I think I really try to wear that on my sleeve as much as possible and just constantly remind myself of that fact. Because it’s easy to just take ourselves seriously. We’re not scientists. We’re not chefs, for that matter. We are bartenders. And we certainly serve a very important role, and I think that what we do is very important and very valuable. But at the end of the day, we know what it is we’re doing here. Right? And it’s not that complicated.

T: That’s good. I like it. It’s good advice there. Question No. 4: If you could only visit one last bar in your life, what would it be?

H: Bar Marsella in Barcelona for a traditional absinthe.

T: Okay. Final question today: If you knew that the next cocktail you drank was going to be your last, what would you order or make?

H: Martini.

T: How are you having your Martini?

H: We don’t have to get into that, but it would definitely be a Martini.

T: Dry?

H: Dry. Well, maybe dry, maybe wet. I don’t know.

T: Uh oh.

H: No, it really depends on my mood. But I mean, that Old King Cole Martini we had the other day at Maison Premiere was really, really sensational.

T: It’s a showstopper.

H: And hey, shameless plug, but the Martini at Lullaby is quite fantastic as well.

T: I can confirm, it is a wonderful Martini at Lullaby. I always start my visit there with that. Well, it’s been a blast. Harrison, thank you so much for joining us today on “Cocktail College.” Let’s go make some Corpse Revivers.

H: Likewise, Tim. Thank you very much. Cheers.

Okay, that was a lot of info, but here’s the good news. Every single episode of VinePair’s Cocktail College is also published on VinePair.com as a transcript. So you can check it out there all over again.

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Now, for the credits. “Cocktail College” is recorded and produced in New York City by myself and Keith Beavers, VinePair’s tastings director and all-around podcast guru. Of course, I want to give a huge shout-out to everyone on the VinePair team. Too many awesome people to mention. They know who they are. I want to give some credit here to Danielle Grinberg, art director at VinePair, for designing the awesome show logo. And listen to that music. That’s a Darbi Cicci original. Finally, thank you, listener, for making it this far and for giving this whole thing a purpose. Until next time.