For a bartender, being steeped in classic cocktails isn’t a bad place to be as there are countless creative tipples dating back to the early 1800s. It’s also a safe place to be. Creating a new cocktail that will hold its own over the next 100 to 200 years is a prodigious challenge.
In fact, the last “classic” to achieve this is The Cosmopolitan, created in the mid-’80s at Manhattan’s Odeon. Before that, the Mai Tai came to fame in the ’40s. Given the craft cocktail explosion of the last decade, a new classic is bound to take hold sooner than later, but you can see that it isn’t an easy task.
Ryan Hembree, my chef and part-time bartender at Capitol Bar, who we lovingly refer to as the “Flavor Ninja,” intently studies flavor profiles daily. He writes it all down in what he calls his “rhyme book,” and as I was flipping through it recently, I came across a drink of his called the Bartender’s Reviver. It’s a twist on an old classic called the Corpse Reviver, which is actually a family of cocktails made up of three different and varied recipes meant to be consumed after a long night of consuming. A sort of hair of the dog that, to be honest, actually works.
The Corpse Reviver No. 2, which contains Lillet, Cointreau, Pernod and gin, has been a personal favorite of mine, but Mr. Flavor Ninja’s Bartender’s Reviver is quite delicious and one that could take hold as a possible Corpse Reviver No. 4 given time.
Great cocktails are all about balance of flavors, and this little number has that. Keep in mind that the expressed lemon over the top of the drink is just as integral a component as any other ingredient. I hope this one is around in 2117.
Kevin Hopper slings classic cocktails all night long at Northwest Boise’s Capitol Bar at 6100 W. State Street.
1 ounce gin (try Plymouth or Botanist)
1 ounce Campari
1 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
1/2 ounce lemon juice
Place two dashes of orange bitters into a cocktail glass, swirl around and pour out. In a cocktail shaker, add gin, Campari, St. Germain and lemon juice. Give it a good shake and strain into the orange bitters-rinsed glass. Express lemon peel over the top and sip slowly and deliberately.