One of my favourite cocktails is the Corpse reviver. To make things tricky I know of at least 3 completly different recipes for this drink. They are usually marked #1 #2 #3.
Harry craddock in the superb "the Savoy cocktail book" gives the following recipes
#1 2 brandy, 1 calvados, 1 sweet vermouth. Looking at the ingredients (I've never had calvados around to try it) a "cough mixture" type of cocktail springs to mind.
#2 1 gin, 1 lemon, 1 contreau, 1 dry vermouth, dash absinthe. This I'm going to talk about a lot.
he doesn't give a number 3, but there are plenty of variations, the one I've encountered most is this
#3 1 brandy, 1 creme de menthe, 1 fernet branca. Several sources have this as a #1 due to the fernet its a wierd one to come across in the wild, but a well stocked bar reaching for the books may suprise you with this.
The point of corpse revivers is as a "hair of the dog", Harry has this to say about the #2 "4 of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again" This is it :-
What you don't get from Harry's recipe up there is the delicacy of making it. The dash of absinthe is usually best done as a rinse. Dash absinthe into the glass then swirl it to coat the sides and then dispose of any remaining absinthe how you see fit. All the ingredients then go into a well iced shaker and shake them hard. Depending on taste/provenance of the lemon juice you may want to double strain to get a good looking drink, honestly though a Hawthorne will do the job. Finally fish out a maraschino cherry with you bar spoon (retaining a little of the syrup) and drop it through the drink. You should end up with something like the picture to the left. Drink.
The taste is almost certainly not what you were expecting as this is real cocktail alchemy, which is the drink's weak point, get the mixing wrong and you end up with something at best less palatable, at worst unpalatable.
This time last year I was in Vegas, I'd done a fair bit of web-research on where the good cocktail bars were & what dress codes/door policies they had. I was delighted to find that EyeCandy in the mandalay bay had the corpse reviver #2 as their house drink, they even boasted of using real parisian absinthe (Absinthe has had an intreresting status in the US so its usally swapped for pastis, which isn't bitter enough). That boast is definately questionable in my experience, the whole thing was a sickly sweet mess, not by any means a reviver. In fact I did manage to get a good one, by handing the recipe on a cocktail napkin to a waitress in Aurora @ the Luxor. Thats it in the photograph, the bartender over there knows their chops.
I've also made it with dry ice, to see how it would work (I was going for seriously cold with no dilution) unfortunately I think I was a bit quick and should have let it stand for a couple of mintues. Still it was fun, just not as succesful as I'd have hoped.