The name of this beautiful drink is pretty misleading. The Necromancer cocktail is as far from the dark image of someone practicing black magic and talking to the dead as it possibly can.
At least almost. Absinthe was banned until the mid-2000s because it was said to be dangerous and hallucinogenic. Considering that, the name of the cocktail somehow fits, after all.
Ingredients of the Necromancer Cocktail
Besides Absinthe, the Necromancer recipe asks for Elderflower liqueur, Gin, fresh lemon juice, Lillet Blanc, and a lemon twist.
When you stick to the recipe and pay attention to its details, you will get the perfect Necromancer.
Absinthe usually is a green-colored anise-flavored, overproof spirit surrounded by myths and stories. The other two key components of the Green Fairy apart from anise are wormwood and fennel.
For more than 100 years, people believed it caused psychedelic side effects and was dangerous. The unusual color and the high alcohol content of up to 85% ABV did the rest.
However, the Necromancer cocktail does not require the usual green-colored Absinthe. The original recipe is made with white Absinthe, also called la Bleue.
The la Bleue version of Absinthe is colorless and tastes different from the original. It misses the flavors of the herbs responsible for the green color and has a more licorice-forward taste.
See if you can get a bottle of Tenneyson Absinthe Royale. Otherwise, use the green version. Or you could even try Ouzo instead.
Head over to this overview for more cocktails with Absinthe.
Elderflower liqueur has a sweet, delicate, and floral taste with some very subtle notes of citrus and pear. Its consistency is thick and syrupy, and it has a pale yellow color.
The most renowned and one of the best Elderflower liqueurs is St. Germain. Alternatively, you can try the product from Pür Likör (sometimes spelled Pur Likor).
If neither of the above is an option, check out this list of possible substitutes for St. Germain.
The most important thing here is to use freshly squeezed lemon juice. Bottled juice -or, even worse- citrus aroma from the supermarket won't deliver the natural, zesty lemon flavor this cocktail deserves.
If you don't like the acidic bite from freshly squeezed lemon juice, you can let it age for a few hours. The Lemonin in the juice takes away from the sour edge if you give it some time to develop its magic.
If you want to read more about the juice from fresh lemons, read this guide on lemon juice for cocktails.
Gin for the Necromancer
The Gin used for the Necromancer Cocktail is London Dry Gin. It's one of the most popular types of Gin and also one of the most regulated ones.
London Dry Gins are known for their very juniper-forward taste and the low sweetness level. Try the Sipsmith London Dry with this cocktail, as it goes perfectly with the floral notes from the elderflower liqueur.
Lillet is an aromatized and fortified French aperitif wine with 17% vol. It comes in three different versions, one white (Blanc), one red (Rouge), and one rose.
The base for Lillet is white wine, usually Sauvignon Blanc, and a citrus liqueur made from orange peels. -Neither Triple Sec nor Blue Curaçao, though. The result is a sweet and strong wine with 17% ABV.
Lillet Blanc is the best-known and most sold version. And it is also what we need for the Necromancer. It is sweet but still refreshing with a hint of citrus and spices.
Garnish for the Necromancer Cocktail
The official garnish of the Necromancer cocktail is a lemon twist. You can either place it at the rim of your glass or let it float on the drink.
If you live in an area where elder trees grow, you can add a few fragrant elderflowers. The floral scent is a beautiful addition, and floral garnishes are a fantastic way to improve the visuals of your drinks.
History of the Necromancer Cocktail
The history of the Necromancer cocktail does not go back very far. Yet, that means it is well documented.
Mayur Subbarao, a New York City mixologist and former bartender at Louro in West Village, invented this riff on the Corpse Reviver No. 2. His variation of the drink gives the Absinthe a little more room to shine.
Once the ban on Absinthe was finally lifted in the US in 2007, the situation literally cried for a new interpretation of classics with the mystic spirit. And the Necromancer is a beautiful, contemporary example of that.
The Louro restaurant has since closed its doors for good. However, the Necromancer survived and continues to gain traction.
- ¾ oz Absinthe la Bleue
- ¾ oz elderflower liqueur
- ¾ oz lemon juice
- ¾ oz Lillet Blanc
- 1 dash Gin
- 1 lemon twist and elderflower blossom for garnish
- Cool your coupe glass with ice for a few minutes. (optional)
- Add Absinthe, elderflower liqueur, Gin, and lemon juice into your shaker with plenty of ice. Shake until your shaker feels cold outside.¾ oz Absinthe, ¾ oz elderflower liqueur, ¾ oz lemon juice, 1 dash Gin, ¾ oz Lillet Blanc
- Remove the ice from your glass and strain your drink into it.
- Garnish with a lemon twist and elderflower blossom.1 lemon twist and elderflower blossom