Drink of the Week: The Kentucky Corpse Reviver

The Kentucky Corpse Reviver.If you’ve really been VERY paying close attention to this blog — or if you know me in real life — you might understand why matters very literally of life and death have been on my mind more usual for the last half a year or so. Never mind that. We all know that none of us are going to live forever and that once you’re dead, you’re pretty much going to stay that way, at least on any visible plane of existence — and any other planes of existence are doing a pretty good job of keeping to themselves these days. That’s why I’ve never found ghosts particularly frightening. A ghost would be proof of live after death, and that would be the opposite of frightening for me.

Still, the ability to cheat death as Lazarus did with a little divine help in the New Testament, has obviously been an earthly dream for as long as man has lived. And, for as long as man has drunk to excess, an easy cure for the dreaded hangover has also been sought. You’d think that would be easier than actually reviving a corpse, but the real problem seems to be that humans persist in the idea that you can cure a hangover by, well, drinking some more.

On the other hand, while this neo-classical bourbon-based variation on the most famous of the illustrious corpse reviver family of drinks is far more likely to cause a hangover than cure it, it is a very lovely way to go.

The Kentucky Corpse Reviver

3/4 ounce bourbon
3/4 ounce Cointreau or orange curacao
3/4 ounce Lillet Blanc
3/4 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 sprig of fresh mint (garnish)

Combine the bourbon, Lillet Blanc, Cointreau/curacao, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with enough ice to keep the carcass of a deceased woolly mammoth fresh and wholesome. Shake like you’re trying to wake the corpse of the rational faction of the Republican Party, and strain into a glass so cold that, uh, it’s extremely cold. (Sorry, ran out of obvious metaphors.) At this point, you should drink this concoction. It won’t cure anything, but it’s sure tasty.


One reason I decided to adapt this drink from a recipe that’s been credited to a New York City restaurant called Peel’s was that I already had all the ingredients on hand. In particular, I’ve got bourbon coming out of my proverbial ears thanks to recent gifts from the good folks at Kentucky favorite son Jim Beam’s small batch division.

I tried this drink a few different ways. Using Baker’s 107 proof brew and Hiram Walker orange curacao, this was a very pleasant libation indeed — the Baker’s was tamed just enough by the other ingredients to sing pretty sweetly. Though I was too lazy and too cheap to go out and buy the Pierre Ferrand dry curacao used in the original recipe, I did try using the suggested alternative of Cointreau together with some merely 100 proof Knob Creek. The result wasn’t anything like a resurrection, but it was sort of heavenly.


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