Rhubarb pickle corpse reviver no. 2 cocktail is a pickle twist on Harry Craddock’s classic corpse reviver no. 2 cocktail recipe appearing in the Savoy Cocktail Book (1930, 2018 reprint: 671) – equal parts gin, Cointreau, Lillet blanc, lemon juice – and a dash of absinthe. My rhubarb pickle corpse reviver no. 2 cocktail retains the gin, Lillet and orange liqueur but includes rhubarb quick pickle brine and pickle and rhubarb bitters in place of the lemon juice and absinthe respectively and is garnished with a rhubarb ribbon and rhubarb quick pickle. I have used a locally made Poor Tom’s strawberry gin to add a note of sweet fruit that complements the tartness of the rhubarb pickle and bitters. The idea of a corpse reviver cocktail is that it is meant as a pick me up or hangover cure.
This rhubarb version I have fondly called the Cathy from Wuthering Heights as the Kate Bush lyric,
‘Heathcliff, it’s me I’m Cathy, I’ve come home, and I’m so cold, let me in at your window’
was going around and around in my head along with this recipe and lots of love for red rhubarb and my vintage copies of Wuthering Heights which also happen to be red. The book and the rhubarb feature in the photos for this cocktail. I like to imagine that my rhubarb pickle corpse reviver no. 2 cocktail could possibly revive the ghost like Cathy with its’ warmth from spice, chocolate and rhubarb that turns this drink ruby red both due to the rhubarb quick pickle and the rhubarb bitters. As Craddock (1930, 2018 reprint: 666) writes in The Savoy Cocktail Book the corpse reviver no. 1 consisting of vermouth, apple brandy and brandy is:
“To be taken before 11a.m., or whenever steam and energy are needed.”
Whereas is relation to the corpse reviver no. 2 Craddock (1930, 2018 reprint: 666-667) in The Savoy Cocktail Book says:
“Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.”
The pickle brine features ginger, orange peel, pink pepper, raw organic honey and cinnamon myrtle and adds a sour note and a depth of flavour that is balanced by the sweetness of the orange Cointreau liqueur and the orange notes in the Lillet. I have used Poor Tom’s strawberry gin which adds another note of sweetness and fruit complementing the tartness of the rhubarb. Swirling beneath all this is the chocolate and deep earthy toastiness of wattleseed paired with piquant rhubarb in my rhubarb cacao bitters with wattleseed which marries together the tartness of the rhubarb and pickle brine with the sweetness and orange notes of the Lillet and Cointreau. The rhubarb quick pickle garnish adds a lovely tart spiced crunch to the end of the cocktail and as the pickle sits in the drink it takes on some of the strawberry and orange notes of the gin, Lillet and Cointreau. The rhubarb ribbon garnish adds colour and an ethereal spiral of wonderful tart perfume to the drink.
I invite you to dust off your Kate Bush vinyl, drop the needle onto Wuthering Heights and make yourself a Rhubarb pickle corpse reviver no. 2. You will need to make some preparations first, create some rhubarb cacao bitters with wattle seed and some rhubarb quick pickle. Once those preparations are taken care of the recipe is easy to make and to remember being equal parts of gin, Cointreau, Lillet and rhubarb quick pickle brine, and a couple of dashes of rhubarb bitters, garnished with rhubarb quick pickle and a rhubarb ribbon. Just don’t have 4 or you will revert to a zombie like state and need to make a corpse reviver no. 1 to pick yourself up again.
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Rhubarb pickle corpse reviver no. 2 cocktailPrint Recipe
Prepare the garnish by peeling an even strip of rhubarb from a rhubarb spear with a vegetable peeler or pairing knife
Wind the strip up tightly into a spiral and place a weight such as the end of a knife onto the wound spiral to hold it in place, allow to sit for 5-10 minutes and then gently release
Hang the rhubarb ribbon carefully on the side of your glass
Add a small sliver of rhubarb quick pickle to the base of the glass
Add all ingredients to a cocktail tin except the garnishes
Shake vigorously until very cold and well combined
Strain into a prepared glass and serve
~Inspiration~ Harry Craddock (1930, 2018 reprint). The Savoy Cocktail Book Dover Publications: New York.
~More online corpse reviver no. 2 recipes~
~History~See Simon Difford (2019) on the history and recipes for the family of corpse reviver drinks Corpse reviver cocktails – recipes & history
~Savoy recipe~For the Savoy recipe see Difford (2019) Corpse reviver no. 2 (Savoy recipe) in Difford’s Guide, Corpse Revive No. 2 in Saveur and Corpse Reviver #2 in Imbibe: Liquid Culture, October 29, 2018.
~Modern twist~ For a lovely modern twist using fennel see Fennel gin cocktail: a variation on a corpse reviver #2 in The Boozy Oyster: food & cocktail ideas for the adventurous home cook, January 31 2019., October 29, 2018.