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ABSINTHE
Glass of absinthe Absinthe drip cocktail

Cleared of their notorious and controversial reputation, absinthe liqueurs close to the original vintage ones have been experiencing a bit of a renaissance here in Europe since the 1990s.

Picture on right: Pontarlier-type absinthe glass with a lower reservoir helping to measure the correct amount of absinthe.

The traditional way to serve absinthe is to slowly dilute it with cold water, which makes it turn cloudy, a phenomenon called the louche effect.

In addition, the drink is usually sweetened with a small amount of sugar.

Bottle of French absinthe To prepare a classic absinthe drip cocktail there is no need to own all the paraphernalia associated with the ritual, but it is certainly fun to play with it, if you have some :-)

4 cl (1 part) traditional, good-quality French or Swiss absinthe (alcohol content about 68 % by volume)
12 - 16 cl (3 - 4 parts) of fresh, iced water
lump sugar
ice cubes
equipment:
absinthe glass (or a large and sturdy, preferably short-stemmed wine glass)
water jug or carafe

absinthe spoon (or tea sieve or other small, flat strainer)
or
absinthe dripper (brouilleur)

"Louching" absinthe using an absinthe spoon:

    Absinthe glass and spoon
  1. Chill some water in a jug with ice beforehand.
  2. Pour the measure of absinthe in the glass.
  3. Rest an absinthe spoon across the rim of the glass.
  4. Place one (or two) sugar cube(s) on the perforated part of the spoon.
  5. Measure out the correct amount of ice-cold water in a carafe and start to drip it slowly, drop by drop, on the sugar cube and to the glass below. The sugar will slowly dissolve and drip into the absinthe along with the drops of water.
  6. As soon as the absinthe has been diluted and its milky opalescence (louche) has developed, it is ready to be served.

Instead of absinthe spoon, you can use a tea sieve or other small strainer.

Alternatively, you can use an absinthe dripper (brouilleur) if you have one:

"Louching" absinthe using an absinthe dripper:

    Absinthe glasses topped with a dripper
  1. Chill some water in a jug with ice beforehand.
  2. Pour the measure of absinthe in the glass.
  3. Place an absinthe dripper on the rim of the glass.
  4. Place one (or two) sugar cube(s) in the dripper (or in its bottom container if it consists of two parts).
  5. Fill the dripper (or its top container if it consists of two parts) with ice cubes.
  6. Measure out the correct amount of ice-cold water in a carafe and start pouring it in small doses over the sugar cube and ice. The sugar will slowly dissolve and drip into the absinthe glass along with the drops of water from both the melting ice and water poured in the dripper.
  7. As soon as the absinthe has been diluted and its milky opalescence (louche) has developed, it is ready to be served.

Absinthe fountain Serves 1.

In order to prepare absinthe drinks simultaneously for a larger party, it would be more convenient to use an absinthe fountain with several spigots for dripping water, although a fountain usually is a somewhat expensive buy.

Picture on right: absinthe fountain in an absinthe bar.

Recipe source: traditional recipe.


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