AbsintheLet’s start off with a couple points of information about absinthe. You’ve probably heard stories about artists hallucinating on the Green Fairy and not much else about it. That’s because it has been legal in the USA for less than a decade and has yet to become very popular. While it will not make you hallucinate, absinthe has a high alcohol content, so if you aren’t careful, it’ll get you silly drunk quickly.

If you want to learn more, here’s a great informational video. (I recommend stopping when you get to them tasting the absinthe. The host gets a bit annoying.)

Several months ago I didn’t have all this information. Fiance and I were at a nice liquor store and, on a whim, he insisted we buy some absinthe. I was heartily against it. The bottle is expensive ($60 for 750 mL), we already had a large collection of alcohol, we would be moving in a six months, and I frankly doubted I would like it. Additionally, I think some prejudice against the Green Fairy lingered somewhere in my mind.

I won that battle and we left with only a four pack of ginger beer, but the idea had been planted in Fiance’s head, and he was determined to get a bottle.

When we next went to a liquor store to buy wine for a friend, Fiance came armed with research and marched directly over the the small selection of absinthe. Seeing a name he recognized, Pernod, he seized it and promptly walked to the counter, where I met him with the wine.

I still had very little interest in absinthe and still complained about our lack of space, but I knew that there was little I could do. So, we made our purchases and on the way home I did research about how to use this spirit.

As you might guess by this post’s existence, my experience with absinthe brought me around. Fiance was certainly more enthusiastic about it than I was, but there was something soothing about the process of louching and I found that I quite enjoyed absinthe as part of a mixed drink.

In the three months we’ve had it, I’ve experimented quite a bit. These are the favorite preparations of those who happened to be in my house as I experimented.

Louching Absinthe

Louched

Okay, this wasn’t actually anyone’s favorite, but it is preferred by many absinthe enthusiasts, so I felt compelled to add it.

1.5 oz absinthe
Ice water
A water carafe, sports bottle, or if you want to invest in the experience, absinthe fountain

  1. Measure 1.5 oz of absinthe into a cocktail glass.
  2. Slowly drip ice water into the absinthe. As you add the water, the essential oils bind with it, which creates a cloudy effect. This is the louche.
  3. Continue adding water to your preferred dilution. The ratio is typically around 1:3 absinthe to water.

Absinthe with Sugar

Louched with sugar

The addition of sugar went over very well in my house. In addition to being a facinating and almost hypnotic ritual, the sweetness is certainly pleasant.

1.5 oz absinthe
1 sugar cube
1 absinthe spoon
Ice water
A water carafe, sports bottle, or absinthe fountain

  1. Measure 1.5 oz of absinthe into a cocktail glass.
  2. Place the absinthe spoon over the cocktail glass so the notch is resting on the lip of the glass.
  3. Put the sugar cube on the spoon and drip a couple drops of water on it. Allow it to sit for 30 seconds to loosen up.
  4. Slowly drip ice water over the sugar cube and into the absinthe. Try to time it so that the sugar cube is dissolved as you reach your desired dilution.
  5. Stir any remaining sugar into the drink.

Death in the Afternoon

Death in the Afternoon

This cocktail is the simplest and fastest use of absinthe I tried. It makes a great celebratory drink that, between the bubbles and high alcohol content, will start the party pretty quickly.Death in the Afternoon Bubbles

1.5 oz absinthe
3 oz champagne

  1. Fill a champagne glass 1/4 full of absinthe.
  2. Add champagne until the bubbles reach the top of the glass.

*The louche on this cocktail make the bubbles much less visable, but they still have the mouth feel.

Absinthe Julep

Absinthe Julep

This was by far Fiance’s favorite preparation. It takes a bit of work if, like me, you have to crack your ice by hand, but the result is an amazingly refreshing drink that would be perfect for a summer afternoon.

Mint
1 teaspoon sugar
1 oz absinte
2 oz gin
Lots of cracked ice
Prechilled julep cup or old fashioned glass

  1. Rub a mint leaf around the rim of the prechilled glass.
  2. Place 5 tender mint leaves and sugar in the bottom of the prepared glass.
  3. Lightly crush with a muddler.
  4. Fill glass with finely cracked ice. Add absinthe and gin.
  5. Stir until the glass frosts.
  6. Top with ice and 3 more mint leaves.

Sazerac 2

Sazerac

I was thrilled to finally try this classic drink. I’m a big fan of rye, so this drink really stood out to me. A special note, it might seem wasteful to toss the excess absinthe, but I know from experience even a little bit extra really changes the flavor of the drink.

1 sugar cube
2 1/2 oz rye whisky
2 dashes  Peychaud’s bitters
1 dash  Angostura bitters
Absinthe
(Garnish) lemon peel

  1. Roll a few drops of absinthe in an old fashioned glass until thoroughly coated. Pour off the excess.
  2. In a second old fashioned glass, muddle the sugar cube with the bitters.
  3. Add ice and the rye and stir until well chilled.
  4. Strain into the prepared old fashioned glass and garnish with the lemon peel.*

*I like to gently rub the outer part of the lemon peel around the rim of the glass to add more of its scent to the experience.

Green Lady

Green Lady

I probably jumped into trying to create my own drinks with absinthe a bit to quickly, but I’m quite happy with this result. A play off of a pink lady, I thought this would be an excellent use of absinthe.

1.5 oz gin
.25 oz absinthe
.5 oz simple syrup
1 egg white

  1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake without ice for 1 minute.
  2. Add ice and shake for one minute.
  3. Strain into a cocktail glass.

If you’re a absinthe virgin, hopefully this post will inspire you to try out this fascinating drink. If you’re a sage absinthe enthusiast, hopefully I gave you some new ideas.

Let me know what you think!

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