An exquisite botanical-forward cocktail that’s boozy yet beautifully balanced. This classic cocktail is a must-try!

What is a Corpse Reviver Cocktail?

There’s an entire succession of corpse reviver cocktails all of which were developed in the 19th century by English bartenders.

The original Corpse Reviver (no. 1) is an apple-infused brandy cocktail while the Corpse Reviver no. 2 is a lighter, yet just as boozy, botanical cocktail. In general, this string of cocktails were served with a purpose of bringing he drinker back from the dead, or curing their hangover.

Both versions of the Corpse Reviver were largely popularized by the Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock, in which he heed this warning about the Corpse Reviver no. 2, “Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.”

The best type of Gin for Corpse Reviver

An old-school london-dry gin with pronounced notes of juniper is the best type of gin for the Corpse Reviver no. 2. 

yellow cocktail in a coupe glass set on a white coaster

Ingredients in a Corpse Reviver 

London Dry Gin: I prefer Bombay Sapphire, Beefeater, Plymouth Gin, Tanqueray, or Hendrick’s are great options. 

Orange Liqueur: such as Cointreau (traditional) Gran Marnier, Gran Gala, or Triple Sec. 

Lillet Blanc: Kina Lillet was traditionally used but in 1986 it was dropped from production and Lillet Blanc was introduced in its place.  Lillet blanc is floral and honey-forward with notes of citrus and apricot.

Absinthe: only two dashes of absinthe is used here, which might be a temptation to skip it, but the favor and essence of absinthe can’t be missed. I like to pour a tiny (and i mean tiny) splash of Absinthe into a bar spoon, then add it to the coupe glass and swirl it to coat the inside of the glass. So little should be used that the absinthe through coat the glass and not pool in the bottom. 

Fresh Lemon Juice

yellow cocktail in a coupe glass set on a white coaster

What is Lillet Blanc?

Lillet blanc is an aperitif wine (type of vermouth) made combining wine with fruit liqueur. Th fruit liqueur is made by macerating sweet oranges from Spain, bitter oranges from Haiti, green oranges from Morocco, and quinine from Peru with brandy. 

Lillet blanc is also used in famous cocktails such as the Vesper Dry Martini, Tabernacle Crush, and Sweet Basil.

Substitutes for Lillet Blanc

Dry Vermouth is a convenient and reasonable fortified wine substitute. 

Cocchi Americano is considered to be the closest product to Kina Lillet (the original fortified wine used in the Corpse Reviver). Cocchi Americano is a perfect substitute for Lillet Blanc if you’re looking to make the original cocktail.

What is Absinthe?

Absinthe is a bitter green liquor distilled with anise, fennel, wormwood and other herbs. It’s very herbal and has a strong fennel and black licorice flavor.

Absinthe was banned in the US and most European countries for the majority of the 20th century because it was believed to be hallucinogenic. It was also unfoundedly linked to a string of violent crimes in Switzerland. In 2007, the US lifted the ban due to new research proving it was no less safe than any other alcohol. Though it is important to note that absinthe is very strong—usually ranging between 60% and 85% alcohol.

Absinthe is popular in a variety of cocktail recipes including the Sazerac, Flying Frenchman, Green Swizzle, and Absinthe Makes My Heart Grow Fonder

Absinthe is often used in such small amounts that a bottle will last even the most adventurous cocktail drinker a while. If you have pernod on hand, that makes a great substitute (and is delicious splashed into this seafood soup!).

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yellow cocktail in a coupe glass set on a white coaster

Corpse Reviver No. 2 Cocktail

  • Author: Lauren Grant
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 cocktail 1x
  • Category: Drinks


An exquisite botanical-forward cocktail that’s boozy yet beautifully balanced. This classic cocktail is a must-try!


  • 2 dashes absinthe
  • ¾ ounce london-dry gin
  • ¾ ounce orange liqueur, such as Cointreau
  • ¾ ounce Lillet blanc
  • ¾ ounce fresh lemon juice
  • Lemon peel for garnish, optional


  1. Pour the absinthe into a coupe cocktail glass and swirl to coat the glass (absinthe should coat glass, if it pools you have too much and should pour some out).
  2. Add gin, orange liqueur, Lillet blanc and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Secure lid and shake vigorously until well-chilled. Strain into coupe glass and garnish with lemon peel.

Keywords: corpse reviver, corpse reviver 2, corpse reviver no 2

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About The Author

Lauren Grant is a professional culinary food scientist, food writer, recipe developer, and food photographer. Lauren is a previous magazine editor and test kitchen developer and has had work published in major national publications including Diabetic Living Magazine, Midwest Living Magazine, Cuisine at Home Magazine,,, and more.

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