I won't tell you which drink I chose. You'll find that out at the end. And as an added bonus, you'll find the recipe for the cocktail I used after the story.
“He’s dead, Jim.”
They never got tired of that line. “Yeah, I’m a doctor not a street sweeper. Ha freakin’ ha.”
The man in the black trench coat chuckled. “Bet you hear that a lot.”
Turning, Jim stared at the body sprawled in the alleyway. “Why this one?”
Trench Coat raised an eyebrow. “All the years you’ve been doing this, and you still want to know?”
“Got a right to know.” He shrugged. “Like to know what I’m working with.”
A long sigh. “Not a nice guy, this one, but brilliant. Writes mathematical theories, has an idea about folding space and time. Interstellar travel.”
“Will it happen?”
The drizzle became rain, hazing over the distant orange of streetlights. Jim studied the gangly corpse before crouching down to see the face. Twenty-something, sharp cheekbones, buggy eyes, wire glasses, crooked nose with a slanted look. His skin was losing the flush of life. He stank of alcohol, vomit, excretions. A kid, supposedly worth the risk, maybe a world changer. He’d seen too many of them fail, even with another chance.
Trench Coat shuffled in a puddle. “Get to it, doc.”
Jim grunted. “Yeah, sure.”
He grasped the shoulders, heaved the body over, looked into the dull hue of blue irises. He took the jaw into his hand, forced the mouth open, tried not to gag at the stench. One deep breath…he leaned closer, parted his lips, breathed out.
Tingling started in his scalp, traveled along his neck, spread like bubbling water to his throat, torso, feet. Energy searched for escape. It found its way from Jim, surging in blue pulses, rushing into the inert body. Jim’s world grayed, shimmered, slammed back in a hard squall of reality, his signal to tear away.
The body jerked, muscles taut, the heart kick-started. Jim rocked back, covered his eyes with his palms, pressed them against the sockets, reached for equilibrium. He ignored the scuttle-scrape of Trench Coat, the slosh of the revival in the gutter. Pull the energy back, rebuild one pulse at a time, store it for the next call.
“Wh…where…?” Hoarse, confused, reeking.
“You’ll be all right.” Trench Coat knelt beside them. “Here, let me help you up.”
Standing, thanks, leaving all happened in a staccato deception. The boy would be used because of possibilities, enslaved by the signature of the thing that had saved him.
“See ya around, doc.”
Scoffing laughter, a head shake of denial. “I’m not a doctor.”
A snort of derision, shuffling of hard soles over wet pavement. Then he was abandoned, left alone to renew his depletion. He hated the miracle, hated his absorption of the experiment he’d agreed to. A handful of them as saviors; so noble, so righteous, so wrong. Recover the lost; some went crazy, some screamed to get back. Some didn’t remember. Those were the scariest.
He wanted his life back; girlfriend, friends, career…but he’d given them up. What he’d said was true; he wasn’t a doctor anymore. He was a corpse reviver.
The Corpse Reviver is actually a cocktail that's been around for quite a while. Here’s a little more detail about the origins of this drink. After I read exactly what this cocktail is supposed to do, and how it was/is used, I was pleasantly surprised to realized just how well the drink fit in with the story that was forming in my head. The site is also where I found the recipe roundup of both the original Corpse Reviver as well as the Corpse Reviver 2. Yep, it was so good they made another one. Enjoy!
To make a Corpse Reviver, you’ll need:
- 1 ½ ounce brandy or Cognac (for recipe 1)
- ¾ ounce apple brandy or Calvados (for recipe 1)
- ¾ ounce sweet vermouth (for recipe 1)
- 1 ounce gin (for recipe 2)
- 1/2 ounce Cointreau (for recipe 2)
- 1/2 ounce Lillet Blonde (for recipe 2)
- 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice (for recipe 2)
- Dash of Absente or Absinthe (for recipe 2) (optional)
- Cocktail shaker
- Cocktail glass
- A stirrer (for recipe 1)
- 1 cup ice
- Maraschino cherry (optional)
- Before you make a Corpse Reviver, decide which recipe to use. Harry Craddock’s “The Savoy Cocktail Book” dubbed the two recipes that have survived as #1 and #2, and that’s how bartenders commonly refer to them today. While the first recipe is considered less popular than the second, both recipes make powerful, balanced cocktails. Choose the one that best suits your mood–or the one that sounds least nauseating when you have to prepare it.
- To make a Corpse Reviver #1, chill a cocktail glass. Combine 1 ½ ounces of brandy, ¾ ounce of apple brandy, and 3/4 ounce of sweet vermouth in a cocktail shaker. Add 1 cup of ice, stir the Corpse Reviver with a stirrer for at least 30 seconds. When it’s cold, strain it into the cocktail glass and serve it immediately.
- To make Corpse Reviver that’s a bit more potent, make a Corpse Reviver #2. In a cocktail shaker, combine 1 ounce of gin, 1/2 ounce of Cointreau, ½ ounce of Lillet Blanc, ¾ ounce lemon juice, a dash of absinthe (if you have it on hand), and 1 cup of ice. Place the lid on the shaker and vigorously shake the mixture for about 30 seconds, until it is well chilled. Strain the drink into a cocktail glass and garnish it with a maraschino cherry. Serve your Corpse Reviver cold.
- Feel free to experiment to make your own Corpse Reviver. This family of drinks used to include innumerable variations that didn’t stand the test of time. Since any hard and fast rules also died out, make your own Corpse Reviver using any concoction of liquors or liqueurs that make you feel a little more alive the morning after.