Absinthe, the mysterious Green Fairy, is making a big comeback at the moment because various brands of Absinthe were legalized for sale in the United States in 2007. During this time of Absinthe Revival, we really need to know how to prepare the perfect Absinthe drink and what to dilute Absinthe with.
Absinthe is a strong liquor which is high proof but is usually diluted with water in a method known as La Louche or The Ritual. Henri-Louise Pernod used a wine alcohol base to make his exclusive Absinthe and flavored it with natural herbs such as wormwood, aniseed, fennel, hyssop and lemon balm.
The wormwood used in Absinthe production is grande wormwood, or Artemisia Absinthium, and this wormwood contains chemicals called thujones. It was the thujone content of Absinthe that was the cause of Absinthe’s ban in many countries around the world in the early 1900s. Thujone was thought to be similar to THC in cannabis and to be psychoactive and to cause psychedelic effects. We now know that Absinthe only contains very small amounts of thujone and does not cause hallucinations. Absinthe is now legal in most countries.
What to Dilute Absinthe With
The traditional way to dilute Absinthe is with iced water. Here are instructions on how to prepare the perfect Absinthe using The Ritual:-
You will need:-
- Absinthe – Use a quality Absinthe containing essential oils like wormwood and anise. You could even make your own by using essences from AbsintheKit.com. A quality Absinthe will ensure that the drink louches and tastes good.
- An Absinthe glass or large glass.
- A slotted Absinthe spoon.
- A sugar lump or sugar cube.
- A carafe or Absinthe fountain of iced water.
Pour a shot of Absinthe into the glass.
Place the sugar on the spoon and rest the spoon over the rim of the glass.
Slowly drip the iced water over the sugar and into the Absinthe.
As the water mixes with the Absinthe, the oils in the alcohol will cause the drink to louche, or become cloudy or milky, because the oils are not water soluble.
Stir your Absinthe drink and enjoy.
The ratio of water to Absinthe is usually between 3:1 and 5:1.
The modern Czech or Bohemian Method is similar to the Ritual but the sugar cube is first soaked in the Absinthe before being set alight on the spoon with a match. The sugar caramelizes and melts into the drink. Water is then added.
Absinthe can also be used in cocktails. Famous Absinthe cocktails include the New Orleans Sazerac and Ernest Hemingway’s Death in the Afternoon. Death in the Afternoon is made by mixing 1 part Absinthe to 5 parts champagne.
New Orleans Sazerac
1 teaspoon of a good quality Absinthe
A sugar cube or 1 teaspoon of sugar.
1 ½ ounces of Rye whisky (not bourbon)
3 dashes of angostura bitters
1 Lemon peel twist
Freeze a glass in your freezer.
Swirl the Absinthe around the glass to coat the sides and bottom of the glass. Discard (or drink!) the excess.
Put the other ingredients in a cocktail shaker or mixer and shake for about ½ a minute.
Pour into the glass, adding the lemon peel.
Absinthe can also be diluted or mixed with mixers like lemonade or cherryade. Experiment with what to dilute Absinthe with and you could come up with your very own Absinthe cocktail.