Absinthe cocktails are on the rise. And that's despite Absinthe being the most controversial and misunderstood alcoholic beverage of modern times. For a long time, it had the reputation of being evil, dangerous, and potentially making you blind and causing hallucinations.
In the early 1900s, Absinthe got banned in almost every western country. Only the Czech Republic and Spain allowed production and consumption.
However, about 15 years ago, governments conceded that Absinthe isn't more dangerous than any other spirit, and the ban was gradually lifted everywhere. The general opinion on the green spirit shifted, and Absinthe made its way into cocktail bars.
What is Absinthe?
Absinthe is an anise-flavored spirit with an alcohol content between 45 and 75% vol. Because of its green color and because people believed for a long time it could cause hallucinations, Absinthe got the nickname the Green Fairy.
Absinthe is made with various plants and herbs, among which the most common are Grande Wormwood, Sweet Fennel, and, of course, green anise. The exact composition does, however, vary depending on the brand.
The origin of the green-colored spirit is in Switzerland and made its way from there across the whole of Europe. It was widely popular among bohemians - the most prominent probably being Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, and Van Gogh.
If you want to experience Absinthe and chase the fairy, the Czech Republic is the place to go. The country is famous for the green spirit, and especially the Bars in Prague celebrate Absinthe.
Cocktails with Absinthe
Since not everyone has the chance to hop onto the next plane, train, etc., and visit Prague, the best alternative is to make some delicious drinks with Absinthe yourself.
So grab your shaker and try one of our favorite, best Absinthe cocktails.
This cocktail made its first appearance in the namesake Tuxedo Park in New York in the 1880s.
The menswear one usually thinks of when hearing the word Tuxedo has its origin in that same area around the same time. The Tuxedo cocktail is an elegant and classy mix of Gin, Dry Vermouth, Maraschino Liqueur, Absinthe, and orange bitters.
Like the Sazerac, which also secured a spot on this list, it is on the boozy side.
Dark Fairy Cream
Unlike most cocktails containing Absinthe, which ask for just a small amount of the anise-flavored ingredient, the Fairy Cream is full-on based on the green spirit. -Even if one might not guess that by looking at it.
The Fairy cream is a smooth, sweet, chocolaty cocktail that makes for a fantastic after-dinner drink. It's Absinthe combined with half-n-half, dark creme de cacao, and white creme de cacao.
Corpse Reviver No. 2
The Corpse Reviver No. 2 is a classic cocktail featuring Absinthe.
You probably wouldn't have guessed it from the bright yellow color, but the recipe from the pro-prohibition era does ask for some Absinthe.
The other ingredients of the Corpse Reviver #2 are Gin, Lillet, Triple Sec, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
The Monkey Gland is a drink made with Gin, grenadine, orange juice, and Absinthe.
It has an intense orange color, and you need to pay attention to detail to get it right. Sticking to the exact measurements is vital in this case.
Also, it has absolutely nothing to do with the testicles. The name is a reference to misguided surgical procedures performed in France in the 1920s.
Some people tried to prove that transplanting testicles of monkeys into the human scrotum would extend that person's life. Thankfully, that nonsense didn't last long, and only the cocktail prevailed.
The Flying Frenchman really is a twist on the Espresso Martini -itself a riff on the classic Martini. It was created at the London Cocktail Club for the Absinthe from La Fée Parisienne.
The original recipe was a blend of Absinthe, coffee liqueur, hot espresso, and simple syrup. It evolved into a less sweet version without the syrup, though.
However, if you should have a sweet tooth, you can add 0.5 oz of simple syrup to the recipe.
The Sazerac is another cocktail classic invented before the Green Fairy was officially banned. It combines Absinthe with Cognac, Rye, Bourbon, simple syrup, and a few drops of Peychaud's bitters.
This cocktail is quite a boozy concoction that requires quite a specific and unique way of preparation to turn out perfect. So distinct, indeed, that the technique is often referred to as Sazerac-style.
Death in the Afternoon
The Death in the Afternoon is a beautiful combination of champagne, Absinthe, and a teaspoon of simple syrup to balance the alcohol and dryness.
It's a rare mix of Absinthe with bubbly and definitely worth trying. It's also currently one of the most popular Absinthe cocktails.
The name of this cocktail implies that it must be something quite potent, with a lot of alcohol and a dry and sharp flavor.
While there certainly is a good amount of alcohol involved, it's actually a smooth, refined, and a little sweet drink.
The Necromancer is an elegant composition of Absinthe, elderflower liqueur, Lillet, Gin, and lemon juice.
Believe it or not, this "girlish" drink from the 90s, known to be a favorite of Alan Harper from Two and a half men, can come with a couple of dashes of Absinthe.
The Absinthe blends in perfectly with the mix of Vodka, apple schnapps, citrus, and syrup.
If you never considered trying the extremely easy-to-drink cocktail because of its reputation, perhaps a little dust from the Green Fairy will convince you otherwise.
The classic Absinthe Drip
That's not actually a cocktail, but a way of consuming Absinthe. Since some cocktails above only contain little of the potent, overproof spirit, you cannot fully experience all its characteristics.
So, if you really want to get to know this unique and somehow still mysterious spirit, drink it the traditional way. All you need is Absinthe, water, and a sugar cube.
Place the sugar cube on a spoon on a glass partially filled with Absinthe. Let water slowly drip over that spoon into the glass until the sugar is fully dissolved. The final ratio of water to Absinthe should be about 3:1.
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