Halloween is just about here and I can’t think of a better time to do yet another in the long series of drinks known as Corpse Reviver. This is my fifth entry in what amounts to a veritable cocktail subgenre — you can see the others here, here, here, and here — and also the third in a recent series of drinks stolen straight from Robert Hess, video star and author of “The Essential Bartender’s Guide.” (See the other two here, and here!)
The Corpse Reviver #3 is perhaps the least well known drink bearing the name, which originally meant that these were originally considered to be appropriate morning hangover “cures.” Indeed, Hess on his Drinkboy website admits that he isn’t even sure where he first saw this recipe. It’s not in “The Savoy Cocktail Book,” which features three other corpse reviving recipes. You will also find radically differing drinks,also claiming to be Corpse Reviver #3 around the Interwebs.
I might eventually get around to looking at those, but this recipe is the one that got my attention, and I think it’s pretty dandy. It’s reddish, on the sweet side, but balanced out with bitter and tart flavors, so I think it’s a pretty appropriate Halloween treat while your watching scary movies, trying not to be embarrassed about your “Sexy Donald Trump” costume, or what have you.
The Corpse Reviver #3
1 ounce brandy
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce triple sec, Cointreau or Grand Marnier
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
Combine the ingredient in a cocktail shaker, shake very vigorously, and strain into a well-chilled cocktail glass. If it turns out well, savor the drink. After all, corpse revivers that actually work are not in abundance.
This is a drink that can work really well, but watch your choice of ingredients. I really enjoyed my Corpse Reviver #3 when it was made with Reynal brandy, my not-quite-Cognac default brew. I experimented twice with an Armenian brand that’s easy to find in my North Hollywood neighborhood, Ararat. It seemed fine the first time, but a second experiment found that the more complex, harsher and sweeter brew threw off the balance of the drink.
I had more luck making high end substitutions for the triple sec called for in Hess’s recipe. Both Cointreau and Grand Marnier added a bit of additional bitterness to the drink that I think a lot of people would prefer and I certainly didn’t mind.
In any case, every version of the drink I made came out nice and reddish and, when shaken enough, really cold which I think is kind of essential for this one. As for being a hangover cure, I wouldn’t know, though let’s say I have my doubts. Now, excuse me while I try to revive the corpse of classical Hollywood horror.