Drink of the Week: Corpse Reviver No. 2, the Royale

A few months ago an acquaintance told us about Cocktail Museum Sundays at the Royale. Bartender Robert Griffin dusts off the recipes for a half-dozen or so classic cocktails and offers them every Sunday night for several weeks, then he debuts a new batch of old drinks. On his visit to the Cocktail Museum, our acquaintance had sampled one called the Corpse Reviver.

We'd been meaning to attend one of these nights ever since, but in the marshy swampland that is our brain, we conflagrated the name of that particular cocktail with the name of the event. Bringing back long-dead cocktails -- Corpse Reviver, get it? Also, we remembered this as happening on Monday nights. So we showed up on a recent Monday night and, in a seasonally appropriate nod to "Who's on First?" had the following exchange with the bartender:

"What can I get for you?"

"Do you have a Corpse Reviver drink tonight?"

"You want me to make you a Corpse Reviver No. 2?"

"Well, what's in it?"

"Equal parts Plymouth gin, Lillet Blanc, Cointreau and lemon juice, with a splash of absinthe."

"OK, that's what I'll have."

It all turned out to be a happy accident. The bartender who managed to parse our strangely worded request was none other than Robert Griffin, who happens to work Monday nights as well. The Corpse Reviver No. 2 is a lovely drink, perfectly suited to a warm spring night relaxing in the Royale's courtyard.

Served up, in a cocktail glass, it is translucent, opalescent, seemingly lit from within rather than just reflecting the streetlamp. It tastes how it looks: light, clean, subtle. Griffin delivers more good news -- the Corpse Reviver No. 2 will be permanently resurrected with a spot on the Royale's soon-to-debut new cocktail menu.

The Cocktail Museum Sunday we missed by showing up a day late, "Exhibit #27: Land of the Egg, Home of the Brave," featured five drinks with eggs in them in honor of Easter, as well as the Income Tax Cocktail and the Millionaire, in a not to tax time.

If you want to check out Cocktail Museum Sundays, they are, in fact, on Sundays, starting at 9 p.m. The menu for #28 -- "Curse of the Undead - the Zombie!" -- is available on Griffin's Cocktail Museum blog.

Meantime, our companion is having a Corpse Reviver as well, although he keeps referring to it as a Corpse Revival. He has a way of getting things just a little bit wrong that we find totally endearing. His version of the expression "bringing up the rear" is especially hilarious. We recently overheard him singing along to Belinda Carlisle, "Voodoo heaven is a place on Earth." Every time he says Corpse Revival, we imagine a big tent in the Deep South, full of zombies clapping and singing with snakes crawling up their arms, a zombie preacher in a white suit, sweating profusely, shouting, laying his hands on a zombie follower, who is then able to throw down his crutches and walk, unassisted, back to his seat.

We are smiling at this image, smiling at our friend, sipping the cocktail we didn't know we wanted, skin tickled by the breeze. Voodoo heaven is a place on Earth.

The Royale
3132 South Kingshighway

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