The Absinthe spoon is an important part of the Absinthe Ritual known sometimes as La Louche. Absinthe equipment is known as Absinthiana which includes articles like Asbinthe glasses and glassware (such as carafes and fountains), drippers, brouillers and spoons or cuilleres. It is possible to buy antique items or to purchase replica absinthiana. Absinthiana allows you to enjoy drinking your Absinthe in style, in the traditional way.
Absinthe is an anise flavored alcohol made with herbs including wormwood, aniseed and fennel. Absinthe was banned in the early 1900s due to its thujone content and claims that it caused hallucinations and drove people insane. There are many references to Absinthe in the paintings and writings of many famous people including Oscar Wilde, Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway.
Absinthe is now legal in many countries and claims that it is dangerous and toxic have been disproved.
Types of Absinthe Spoon
Cuilleres, or Absinthe spoons, started to be used in Absinthe preparation in the 1880s to replace perforated cups that had previously been used to allow the sugar to dissolve in the water before dripping into the Absinthe. Absinthe spoons are perforated or slotted with holes or slots and are designed to rest on the top of an Absinthe glass.
The spoons came in a variety of sizes and were usually made out of silver, silver plate, nickel or chrome. Replicas today tend to be made from stainless steel. According to the Absinthe historian Marie-Claude Delahaye, owner of an Absinthe museum, there are more than 375 different Absinthe spoons which include:-
– The French Pelle – This spoon is shaped like a trowel and the most famous spoons in this group are the pretty “Les Feuilles d’Absinthe”, with their lovely Absinthe plant foliage designs, and the Eiffel Tower spoons which were designed to commemorate the opening of the Eiffel tower in 1889. The Pelle group of spoons is by far the most common group of spoons.
– Les Grilles or Les Grillages meaning “lattice” – This group of spoons is recognized by its lattice work designs.
– Les Cuilleres – This third group includes designs with a long handle and a cradle to hold the cube of sugar.
Absinthe was a popular drink with French soldiers, in fact French soldiers had been supplied with Absinthe in the 19th century to treat malaria. Soldiers in the Great War made Absinthe spoons from materials which were close at hand – aluminum, shell casings, tin and brass. These spoons are known as “Les Cuilleres de Poilus”, a Poilu being a French soldier. These unique spoons are highly collectible antiques because they were only made at the start of the war – Absinthe was banned in France in 1915. These spoons are beautiful and are all different because they were designed by soldiers for their own personal cup.
The Use of the Absinthe Spoon in the Ritual
The Ritual, or La Louche, is the name given to preparing Absinthe. In an Absinthe bar in the Green Hour, L’heure verte, Absinthe would be served by a waiter or bar man in a large Absinthe glass. The waiter would rest a sugar cube on a slotted Absinthe spoon and use a fountain or carafe to drip iced water over the Absinthe. Once the water mixed in to the Absinthe the essential oils in the Absinthe caused the drink to louche, become cloudy. This is because the oils are soluble in alcohol but not in water.
Replica Absinthe spoons and glasses can be purchased online at AbsintheKit.com along with additional items such as essences to make your very own traditional wormwood Absinthe.