Since the legalization of Absinthe in many countries in the late 1980s and 90s, and 2007 in the USA for certain brands, many people have been wanting to know how to serve Absinthe to enjoy the perfect Green Fairy of history, the drink enjoyed by Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso and Oscar Wilde.
Firstly, you need to make sure that you have got a real Absinthe. Fake Absinthes and substitutes won’t taste right and won’t louche properly. Real Absinthe contains essential oils from herbs like wormwood, aniseed, fennel, hyssop and lemon balm. These oils are soluble in Absinthe alcohol but when the Absinthe is prepared in the correct way, with cold water, the Absinthe louches (becomes cloudy or milky) because the oils are not water soluble.
Make sure that the Absinthe you buy is called “Absinthe”, Absenta (from Spain) or “Absynthe” and that it contains real wormwood. If you find it difficult to find real wormwood Absinthe, you can make your own Absinthe using the special Absinthe essences sold by AbsintheKit.com. These essences are the same ones that the company sell to the Absinthe Industry and are specially made using top-quality herbs and carbon dioxide distillation. Simply mix some essence with vodka or Everclear to make your very own Absinthe.
AbsintheKit sell 20ml bottles of essence which make one 750ml bottle of Absinthe and they also sell kits which include enough essence to make 14 bottles of Absinthe, bottle labels and a handy measure. See their website for further details and a guide on how to make Absinthe using their essences.
How to Serve Absinthe
The correct culinary term for the cultural preparation of Absinthe is “The Ritual”. To be properly “cultured” you will require:-
– An Absinthe glass – antique or replica.
– An Absinthe slotted spoon (cuillere).
– Iced Water.
Pour a shot of Absinthe (25-50ml) of Absinthe into the glass. Rest the Absinthe spoon on the top of the glass and rest a cube of sugar on it. Using either an Absinthe fountain or a carafe with a steady hand, slowly drip or pour the water over the sugar. As the water mixes into the Absinthe the drink will louche. This effect can be quite dramatic depending on the Absinthe and the concentration of essential oils. The ratio of water to Absinthe liquor should be between 3:1 and 5:1. Stir the drink once all the water has dripped in and then enjoy your Absinthe.
Remember to drink Absinthe in moderation, it is a very strong spirit. Many people comment on the very different type of drunkenness they experience when drinking Absinthe. It has been described as a “clear headed” or “lucid” drunkenness. This could be caused by the blend of herbs used in Absinthe production – some have a sedative effect while others act as stimulants, very strange!
Enjoy learning how to serve Absinthe using the ritual.