Absinthe -- Forget What You Heard About This Liqueur!
Hardly anybody you know has ever lifted a shot of absinthe. Absinthe and The Green Fairy -- Are the stories even real? Here’s what’s true: there’s probably no other spirit that’s been as controversial as absinthe.
What is Absinthe?
Absinthe is a neutral grain spirit with splendid similarities with gin and vodka. It shares the same purity and quality of liquor, most especially if absinthe is created using distillation technique. The flavours of absinthe are also rendered to the spirit in much the same way as gins and vodkas are flavour-infused.
Custom dictates that absinthe is infused with Wormwood. Wormwood in Absinthe is responsible for its bad reputation associated with causing hallucinations -- the kind that gave rise to myths associating absinthe with drinker seeing the famed Green Fairy or driving them to become violent and wild.
This bad rep caused absinthe to be banned in the 1900s in the US and many countries in Europe. Over a century later, experts finally tied the hallucinogenic effect of absinthe to thujone, a substance naturally found in wormwood. As a result, the ban on absinthe was finally lifted. In the US, the ban was removed only in 2007.
Absinthe is traditionally infused with two other botanicals combined with wormwood: fennel and anise. Other herbs and botanicals may be added further to give the absinthe liqueur fuller, more standout flavour and colour.
While whiskies typically contain 40% ABV, absinthe is bottled at 50% ABV up to 70% ABV. This gives it more kick per drop and it will be wise to know the proper way to take this spirit which is characterised for its bitterness accompanied by a strong anise and herbal flavour profile.
How To Drink Absinthe
As you may be now convinced, it’s about time you settle the score and finally separate fact from fiction. How to drink absinthe? Absinthe has a strong flavour. Due to this and its high alcohol content, it is not recommended for neat or straight drinking.
Other than adding absinthe to your favourite cocktail, another way to take it is by diluting it with water. Here’s how the so-called “absinthe ritual” is done:
First, pour 1 part of absinthe into a ball glass or any glass that can hold up to about 6 ounces of liquid.
- Second, take an absinthe spoon and place on top of the glass. It’s not absolutely necessary but, for the sake of completing this ritual in style, you should get one.
- Third, top the absinthe spoon with a sugar cube.
- Fourth, pour about 5 to 6 parts of ice cold water over the sugar cube.
- Fifth, rest the liquid and stir in any remaining sugar into your drink.
The sugar neutralizes the bitterness while the water brings down the alcohol concentration which make the absinthe more palatable and easier to drink. The only thing left to do is to enjoy your absinthe! Remember to take small sips at a time.
Since you only need a small serving of absinthe to make a glass, consider sampling the mystifying character of absinthe with an absinthe miniature. Here are two brands for you to check out:
- Trenet Absinthe. This is a French spirit bottled at 60% ABV. It is flavour-infused with wormwood, star anise, peppermint cloves, and cinnamon. The overall flavour profile is characterised to be spicy, bittersweet.
- La Fee Absinthe. This drink is also manufactured in France. Bottled at 68% ABV, the formula is derived from a traditional absinthe recipe concocted in the 1800s. It is surprisingly delicate and subtly flavoured with anise, liquorice, fennel, coriander, angelica, and mint.
Try these drinks using the absinthe ritual or fix into an enchanted glass of a broad range of absinthe cocktails.