An Essential Guide to Absinthe: Not History

Floris Absinthe Bar. Source:  Sheridan

Floris Absinthe Bar. Source: Sheridan

History is cool but I should talk about the other things too. Absinthe is really strong. Like my perfectly chiseled abs. And, it tastes great! Like my perfectly chiseled abs. Absinthe has a great licorice-like, herbal flavor. Its alcohol content is anywhere between 90-148 proof. This is an insane amount of alcohol. Your typical whisky will only be about 80 proof. 

The process of making absinthe is fairly simple. You put anise, fennel, wormwood, and other herbs into a huge pool of alcohol. The mixture is distilled, which causes the alcohol and herbal oils to evaporate and separate from the water. This intense liquid is diluted to create the finishing product. As it is, the absinthe is clear but manufacturers will add some herbs to give the absinthe its unique, green color.

Absinthe. Source:  Jack Newton

Absinthe. Source: Jack Newton

What time is it? It's SCIENCE TIME. Many people know absinthe due to its reputation as a hallucinogen. The chemical in absinthe rumored to cause hallucinations is called thujone. In high doses, thujone can block gamma-aminobutyric acid receptors in the brain, which can lead to convulsions. So scientific!!! Recent studies have shown that absinthe has too little thujone to cause any psychedelic effects. Today's analysis of absinthe shows that absinthe-related deaths are most likely due to alcoholism, alcohol poisoning, or drinking fake absinthe from illegitimate sources. Lesson of the Day: Never take absinthe from strangers! But always take absinthe from friends.

There are many ways to drink absinthe. One of the most popular ways is the classic french way. Take a glass and put an ounce or two of absinthe in it. Take a flat, perforated spoon and place a sugar cube on it. Slowly pour ice cold water over the sugar cube until it dissolves into the absinthe. Drink and enjoy. Other ways involve setting the ice cube on fire. That's cool too. Click here for more precise instructions on how to drink absinthe. 

Absinthe Brands. Source:  Kenn Wilson

Absinthe Brands. Source: Kenn Wilson

If you're looking to try some absinthe, here are some recommendations based on what I found online. Never tried any of these, but hopefully I can soon! Pernod Absinthe seems to be one of the top brands. It's an established brand with a strong foundation since 1805. This is the brand that all the french people loved in the 1860's. You can't go wrong with this. The Vieux Pontarlier, another classic french absinthe, is also very popular. St. George Absinthe Verte is a good domestic absinthe. Not as classic but it's still worth a try. All three of these brands should come out to be around $60-$70 USD. 

Some of the best absinthe cocktails I've read about: The Hobnob, The Green Beast, Sazerac, L'arc de Triomphe, Death at Dusk, Death in the Afternoon, Black Fairy, and the Absinthe Drip. Someone should come up with a cool absinthe cocktail called "The Hulk" because it's strong and green. Just saying...

If you're interested in trying absinthe cocktails or drinks in New York, check out Maison Premiere in Brooklyn. It's an oyster bar with absinthe drinks. It's legit. You can also try William Barnacle Tavern in St. Marks. They use a bomb ass absinthe fountain. If you want to get some good bar food with some awesome absinthe drinks go to The Dead Rabbit in Fidi. It's a small place but it has some fairly delicious bar food dishes. Here is their absinthe menu

Check out my other absinthe post to learn about the history of absinthe.

Extra stuff:

  • Learn how to drink absinthe: YouTube

  • Why would you eat that? Absinthe: YouTube

  • 6 ways to drink absinthe: Link

  • Famous absinthe drinkers: Link

  • Absinthe Cocktails: Link

After the first glass of absinthe you see things as you wish they were. After the second you see them as they are not. Finally you see things as they really are, and that is the most horrible thing in the world
— Oscar Wilde
Flaming Absinthe. Source:  Koglin

Flaming Absinthe. Source: Koglin