Corpse Reviver #1 (Curious Bartender mix)

img_4162Every barman has a corpse reviver recipe: the drink they slide across the bar to the jaded customer without a word, just the unspoken understanding of what the client needs right now, right then. The recipes date back to the mid-C19th, served to young bucks who had over-indulged the night before, and now revived (if you will) for a modern generation of hungover clients.

The #2 mix is allegedly more popular these days, but this #1 mix relies of a swift punch to the kidneys with darker alcohols: brandy (or cognac) and calvados, that wonderful French apple brandy. I have mixed together the standard alcohol kick with Tristran Stephenson’s #1.1 beta recipe, found in his excellent Curious Bartender book, that uses an English apple brandy.

The drink is one you should drink swiftly. ‘While it is still smiling at you’, as they say.

Method:

30ml brandy or cognac

30ml calvados (I used Somerset apple brandy here)

30ml Italian vermouth (I used Vermut)

Stir well over ice, then strain into a cold coupe. No garnish is required – you don’t want to delay serving this drink to a customer in distress.

And in a slight, but I think important variant, I dropped a few spots of clove bitters (my recipe) into the centre of the drink. They settle to the bottom, adding a sudden & unexpected dimension as you drain the glass, and one that certainly opens the eyes. Stephenson says ‘add them if you want to break the rules’. I do & so I did.

 

 

Bitters (6) – grapefruit & friends

My trio of bitters
My trio of bitters

I have now bottled the latest batch of grapefruit bitters (named ‘Bg’). The use of the Italian strong alcohol has given the bitters a real kick, but the citrus of the grapefruit really shines through. The bitters are excellent in the Death in Florence cocktail, a variation I made on the original Death in Venice , invented by Tony Conigliaro. I changed the recipe to use Aperol, as I prefer the lighter, more orange flavour of this drink to the robust Campari of the original.

This flavour now completes the trio of bitters I have made: a ‘house’ bitter, made with sour cherries; a clove bitter with plenty of spices & the grapefruit bitters, with a strong citrus, sage & lavender flavours.