The Savoy Cocktail Book is one of a handful of antiquated tomes that continue to push the classic cocktail movement forward. Seventy years it was first published, Harry Craddock's bible of drinks, which he and his staff crafted at the American Bar in London's Savoy Hotel, is a staple on any serious cocktail spot's back bar.
Along with countless other great American bartenders, Craddock moved to London after Prohibition was instituted, essentially marking the death of the American cocktail. Decades later, books like The Savoy are the primary source for resurrecting American classics, and ironically, no Savoy cocktail has garnered more attention than the Corpse Reviver #2.
The Corpse Reviver #2
Shake with ice and strain into a cocktail glass.
This amazing cocktail is wonderfully refreshing, but full of flavor. It is great for those interested in trying a drink with absinthe, as the anisette characteristics are light and tolerable. The Corpse Reviver #2 is responsible for indoctrinating countless people who previously abstained from the use of these flavors in cocktails.
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As stellar as this cocktail is, it can now be even better. The Lillet Blanc used in Craddock's cocktails was actually known as Kina Lillet until 1968 and was significantly less sweet until 1986, when the quinine content in the recipe was drastically cut. Kina Lillet and Lillet Blanc, which are classified as quinquinas, both are sweeter fortified wines containing quinine, but today's Lillet is often too sweet for cocktails that originally used Kina Lillet. Fortunately, Haus Alpenz, a small importer who focuses on importing previously unavailable spirits and liqueurs once used in classic cocktails, is finally bringing Cocchi Americano to Texas.
Cocchi Americano is a quinquina that is more similar in sweetness and quinine content to the original-formula Kina Lillet, and it makes the best Corpse Reviver #2 Texas has ever seen. Haus Alpenz also imports other important spirits and liqueurs once impossible to get in the U.S. such as crème de violette, the Dolin vermouths, Batavia Arrack, Smith & Cross (an incredible traditional small batch pot-still Jamaican rum) and countless additional bottles critical to resurrecting any number of great classic cocktails. Like the Cocchi Americano, these spirits and liqueurs are elevating the classics from their once undisturbed graves.
With all these great products now available in Texas, one needs only to seek out books, like The Savoy Cocktail Book, to begin tinkering with the once-famous cocktails forged by artisans like Harry Craddock. Fortunately, Cocktail Kingdom, a publishing company and boutique bar-supply provider, has been reissuing previously out-of-print cocktail books like The Savoy, some of which were only available to those willing to shell out hundreds of dollars to buy what had essentially become collectors' items.
There has never been a better time to be a fan of the classics. We have more products at our disposal to make incredible drinks than at any other point since the onset of Prohibition. The corpse of the once-dead American cocktail is being revived by importers, publishers, bartenders and enthusiasts who care about resurrecting the legacy of the cocktail in America. Harry Craddock himself would toast a Corpse Reviver #2 to the new American cocktail scene.