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The Mayan Box from Dutch designer Benno Baatsen was inspired by Tomb Raider, the exotic themed video game. To toast this secret surprise and its talented maker I stuck to the Tomb Raider theme of plundering tombs and crypts with an apropos classic, the Corpse Reviver. The Corpse Reviver is actually a collection of cocktails dating back to the turn of the twentieth century and made famous by Harry Craddock in his uber cool Savoy Cocktail book from 1930 where he features versions “1” and “2”. The drinks were originally meant as restorative “hair of the dog” remedies, to be taken early after a tough night. Asking a bartender for a “Corpse Reviver” was like asking for a generic hangover cure, like a strong cup of coffee, but with something a bit stronger than that. It’s no surprise there are a few different variations that survived. Craddock’s No. 2, the most famous version of all, came with his commentary that “Four of these taken in quick succession will unrevive the corpse again.”

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I’ve actually featured the Corpse Reviver No. 2 before, along with a delightfully horrifying box from a wonderful craftsman who is sadly no longer with us now. Follow the link for more on that one and a look back at Phil Tomlinson’s Always Empty Box. I think it’s time to revisit the original, No. 1. This Corpse Reviver also came with a message from Harry Craddock, who explained it was “To be taken before 11 a.m., or whenever steam and energy are needed.” I’ll add a disclaimer that drinking at all, let alone a drink this strong, is not really the best idea for getting you through the day. But history calls, and we must answer! The Corpse Reviver No. 1 is a bracing mix of cognac, apple brandy, and sweet vermouth. To that I’ve added a bit of Becherovka, the delicious herbal liqueur from Carlsbad in the Czech Republic. Some describe this mysterious mix made from twenty herbs and botanicals as “Christmas in a glass”, so it adds a seasonal spin to this classic. Finally I added a dash of Bittermen’s Hellfire Bitters, for added kick. I’m sure Lara Croft would approve. Here’s to Mayan tombs, hidden treasures, reanimated corpses and resurrected recipes. Cheers!

Corpse Reviver No. 1 c. 1930

(Tomb Raider edition)


1 oz cognac

½ oz apple brandy

½ oz sweet vermouth

½ oz Becherovka

2 dashes Bittermen’s Hellfire Bitters

Stir ingredients with ice and strain into an undead chalice. Imbibe if you are out of extra lives…

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For more about the Tomb Raider inspired Mayan Box see:

Boxes and Booze: Mayan Mysteries