If you want to know how to drink Absinthe you first need to know what Absinthe is. Absinthe is a mysterious and mythical distilled liquor made from an alcohol base, such as wine, and flavored with herbs including common wormwood (artemisia absinthium), fennel and aniseed. It has an an anise flavor and is usually green in color, although La Bleue styles are clear.
Absinthe is very strong, up to 75% ABV and about twice as strong as spirits such as vodka or whisky. It was famously banned in the early 1900s due to its thujone content. Thujone, in wormwood, was thought to be like THC in cannabis, and to be psychoactive and cause psychedelic effects. It is now known that Absinthe only contains very small amounts of thujone and is perfectly safe to drink in moderation.
Absinthe devotees include Van Gogh, Degas, Gauguin, Oscar Wilde and Ernest Hemingway who famously invented an Absinthe cocktail called “Death in the Afternoon” – a mix of Absinthe and champagne. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, it is claimed, drank a “Tremblement de Terre” (Earthquake) which was 1 part Absinthe mixed with 1 part cognac!
How to Drink Absinthe at Home
In Absinthe bars your Absinthe will be prepared for you and your waiter may use an Absinthe fountain to prepare your drink, but you will want to know how to prepare your own Absinthe at home.
Firstly, you will need to buy a quality Absinthe. Here are some tips and some help for buying a decent Absinthe:-
– Look online or in a liquor shop for Absinthes which contain real wormwood and have a thujone content. Wormwood gives Absinthe its characteristic bitter taste. Absinthe just is not Absinthe without wormwood, but there are many Absinthe substitutes or fake Absinthes which do not contain wormwood or contain southernwood instead.
– If the Absinthe lists its herbal ingredients, look for the ingredients aniseed and fennel, in addition to the wormwood, and other herbs such as lemon balm, star anise, angelica, hyssop and dittany.
– Look at the ABV (alcohol by volume). It should be between 45 and 75%.
– Make your very own real Absinthe from essences. These distilled herbal Absinthe essences are available from AbsintheKit.com who supply essences to Absinthe distilleries. The essences contain wormwood and are easy to use – simply mix with a neutral alcohol base such as Everclear or vodka. A very economical way to make real Absinthe.
Once you have your Absinthe you will need to use “The Ritual” (the name for the art of making a good Absinthe) to prepare your Absinthe for drinking. To prepare your Absinthe you will need:-
Pour 25-50ml of Absinthe into the glass and rest the Absinthe spoon over the top of the glass. Place a sugar cube on the spoon and either use an Absinthe fountain to drip the iced water over the sugar cube or use a steady hand to slowly pour or drip the water over. As the sugar and water solution mixes into the Absinthe, the essential oils in the herbs will separate, because they are not water soluble, and will cause the drink to louche, or go cloudy. This louching is the desired effect and if your Absinthe does not louche then you have not got a top-quality Absinthe.
The ratio of water to Absinthe should be between 3:1 and 5:1 depending on your taste. Stir the drink when all of the water has been added and sit back and enjoy the experience.
These instructions on how to drink Absinthe will help you to make the perfect Absinthe every time.