Absinthe cocktail

Submitted by John on Wed, 08/22/2018 - 03:07
absinthe cocktail

I think no drink has more romantic lore than the Absinthe Cocktail! There's a lot of romance and mystery to poke through here to get to the simple truth that foodies need, so:

  • Absinthe is legal in the USA
  • There's a lot of untraditional absinthe available, with great marketing behind it. Lucid is a good example of a sweetened non-traditional absinthe.
  • True absinthe is high-proof and very bitter, not sweet at all
  • That's because it's supposed to be used in the fashion of this cocktail
  • In the late 19th century, a Swiss farmer drank a liter of straight absinthe, then he killed his family with an axe. 
  • It wasn't the wormwood in the absithe, it was the insanely high blood-alcohol content plus whatever domestic, familial, and congenital issues he was burdened with
  • BUT Pernod et fils and other makers of Marc and Pastis, losing market share to "the Green Fairy", pounced upon their disorganized, home-grown rival, with bought politicians
  • So for a century people thought that the wormwood in absinthe makes you mad, when the truth of the matter is that any dope who starts his day with a liter of high-proof alcohol and a history of domestic abuse is not your typical consumer. 
OK, so it's legal now and it won't make you murder your family with an axe (I HATE when that happens). But the Green Fairy is still a bitter sister, so let's work through a little therapy. What do we have to work with? Absinthe is a high-octane distillate of alpine herbs, including the notorious wormwood. Wormwood, despite its unappetizing name, is no more special than St John's Wort or other over-the-counter herbs/drugs. It's distilled into absinthe by any number of makers with their own family recipes, but it's all about making a high-octane herby product. Suppose your Absinthe were gin. You'd still have an herby base spirit that normal folk in polite society mix rather than drink straight.The difference here is that Absinthe has traditionally not been normalized to 80 or 90 proof. It's bottled strong and unapologetic, without excuses. It's up to the drinker to wield this power-tool correctly.This is where the force of convention and good taste saves us from disaster and fratricide. The combination of the sugar cube and the water turn the undiluted bitter absinthe into a classic cocktail.  
1 Servings
Preparation time
5 minutes