Absinthe the legendary liquor of nineteenth century Europe is back after being banned in most parts of Europe and North America. Today, absinthe recipes are most sought after recipes amongst all the alcoholic beverages. But before we discuss the different absinthe recipes, let us have a brief introduction of this legendary drink.
This fine liquor started out as a digestive tonic after it was first invented by the French doctor Dr Pierre Ordinaire in Switzerland in the eighteenth century. Absinthe soon became the most popular drink of the masses in Europe. The bohemian lifestyle of nineteenth century Europe embraced this drink and after that there was no looking back. So popular was absinthe that at one time it rivaled wine. Great artists and writers were very fond of absinthe and attributed their creative genius to its wonderful effects. Painters and writers like Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Oscar Wilde, and Hemmingway amongst many others, who revolutionized the art and literary scene of Europe, were smitten by the green fairy. Absinthe drink is prepared by an elaborate ritual. The traditional French ritual and the more modern Czech ritual are the two most well known rituals.
Both rituals involve special absinthe glasses and absinthe spoons along with ice-cold water. These rituals also add to absinthe’s charm and mystique. In the beginning of the twentieth century absinthe was banned due to certain misconceptions and unfounded rumors. However, since the beginning of this century most of the European countries have lifted the ban and now absinthe is easily accessible to lovers of “the green fairy”.
Absinthe preparation can be divided in two steps. The first step is maceration, in this step the herbs such as wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), green anise, fennel seed, angelica root, and star anise are soaked in a neutral spirit. The mixture is kept for a few days and then filtered and water is added to the mixture and distilled. Once the distillate is obtained, water is added and another set of herbs known as finish herbs are added, they include hyssop, melissa, and peppermint leaves. Two absinthe recipes are given below
Vodka or any neutral spirit 1.5 liters.
4gms of wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), 6gms of fennel seed, 8gms of green anise seeds, 2gms of angelica root, and 1gm of coriander are the herbs required for primary maceration. The herbs are all ground and soaked in the vodka and left in a cold dark place for a few days. During this time essential oils from the herbs gets discharged into the spirit. The container is periodically shaken. After a few days the mixture is filtered and 750 ml of water is added to it. After water is added the mixture is then distilled. The beginning and the end distillate is discarded and the remaining distillate is absinthe. Now finish herbs are added to the distillate 2gms of hyssop, and 3gms of melissa or lemon balm. The liquid is shaken periodically and left in a cool and dark place. After a few days the color of the absinthe turns green it is then filtered and all suspended particles removed and the absinthe is bottled.
Clear absinthe (Suisse La Bleue): in this type of absinthe the primary maceration procedure remains the same only the finish herbs are not added and the absinthe obtained is clear and colorless. The amount of neutral spirit is the same as Spanish absinthe only the quantity of the herbs is different. 4gms of wormwood, 6gms of fennel seed, 8gms of green anise, 4gms of star anise, 2gms of hyssop (this is used as a finish herb in Spanish absinthe), 2gms of angelica root and 3gms of peppermint leaves are added. The remaining procedure is the same only the last step of adding finish herbs is not required to get clear absinthe.
Well, these are just two recipes that we have mentioned different combination and quantity of herbs is required for French absinthe and Winston’s La Fee Verte. A note of caution absinthe has high alcohol content and it is advisable to consume it in moderation.
With a little bit of research you will find even more exciting absinthe recipes.