Old habits die hard. They just keep coming back, no matter how hard you try to leave them in the past. It’s not like I don’t know better. I have been there before, done that, got the t-shirt and other scars to prove it. I know the score, but like Pacino says, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!” To be fair, I am at least partly to blame. I was feeling tired, kinda down, so when I piled up on the sofa and hit Netflix, I was already in a less than ideal state. I guess that is why , when I saw the “new episodes” tag, I clicked on it and, in spite of knowing better, and began watching the most recent season of The Walking Dead. So, with a nod to giving in to guilty pleasures, even when you know better, won’t you join me now as we stand and make the Corpse Reviver #2.
Don’t get me wrong, The Walking Dead was a great comic and a wonderful show and I have nothing particularly ill to say about it. Sure it jumped the shark several seasons ago, and it keeps jettisoning the interesting characters, but you kind of know that going in. My only real issue with getting sucked back in to the half story arc episodes, half flashback episodes format it has evolved into is that I have a sneaky feeling that the fans care way more about the show than some of the production team at this point, but hey it’s a living. As we slogged through yet another deep dive into the backstory of yet another character, which I am sure is supposed to give us deeper insight into how they evolved to be the good/bad/ indifferent person that they are today, I couldn’t help feeling that this new formula sure does end up with a lot of filler episodes. So, I decided to have a suitably themed drink.
The Corpse Reviver #2 first appears in Harry Craddock’s The Savoy Cocktail Book in 1930. It’s an equal parts wonder that was said to raise the dead, though Craddock noted that “Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.” There is actually a whole family of drinks known as “Corpse Revivers” going all the way back to England in 1861, but #2 is the only one that still graces menus with much regularity. The original recipe calls for Kina Lillet, which is no longer made, many sub in Cocchi Americano in its place, but I am going with Lillet Blanc, because I prefer it and I have a fresh bottle in the fridge just waiting for a cocktail.
Before you make the drink, grab a chilled coupe and wash it with absinthe. I use a spritzer filled with Corsair Red Absinthe to spray the inside of the glass, before spinning it a bit for full coverage. That done, grab your tins and pop in 3/4 of an ounce each of dry gin, I went with Corsair American; Cointreau, Lillet Blanc and freshly squeezed lemon juice. Add some artisanal ice and give it a good shake to “Time of the Season” by The Zombies, naturally. Double strain into your prepared coupe and garnish with a single Luxardo cherry sunk in the glass.
I had not enjoyed one of these in a long time and it is even better than I remembered. Honestly, I recall not particularly liking the one I had before, but I think that had more to do with the quality of the gin selected by the bar than the drink itself. Which brings up a good point. Drink good alcohol. Just like in cooking, your drinks usually have a lot more to do with the quality of the ingredients than the skill of the preparer. Sure, having your technique down is important, but cheap gin, will always be cheap gin, no matter how masterfully you measure and shake it. Made with quality ingredients this is an excellent drink, the sort of glass that will disappear after your wife takes a sample sip. That’s usually a good sign. I love the way the gin and that Lillet Blanc aromatized wine play together, finding each others counterpoints. The orange from the Cointreau sort of floats over the top tying everything together. A damned fine drink, I can see why one would be tempted to have four or more.
It was with a certain dread that we started watching this season of The Walking Red and having a Corpse Reviver #2 in hand made things a little easier. You see, we are veterans of this particular apocalypse and we know what is coming. We will fall in love with characters and watch them die, we will wonder when Rick will come parachuting back in bringing all the Deus Ex Machina you can stand, we will not worry about Darryl at all, because he has the thickest plot armor in the history of moving pictures. Face it, the producers, writers and that dude down at the gas station all know we are only watching for Darryl and Carole at this point. So, against my better judgement, I hit play and we got to watch those old friends walk through a story filled with all the also ran characters that survived the seasonal purges. I was happily surprised to see old Neegan kicking it in the garden. That guy gets it and having him serving as the spiritual center of the series just feels right somehow, kinda like a chilled coupe in one hand, with the other wrapped around your special lady friend. Yeah, they are all guilty pleasures, and I am ok with that. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.