How to drink Absinthe

By Sina Torner / Last updated on April 9, 2023

Since the ban on Absinthe was lifted in the early 2000s, the spirit has become increasingly popular. Still, few know how to drink the Green Fairy properly.
How to drink Absinthe

Ah, Absinthe, the green fairy! There are many ways to drink in this potent elixir:

  • Traditional way to drink Absinthe: Carefully louching the liquid with ice-cold water and a sugar cube on an Absinthe spoon using a water fountain. 
  • Absinthe Flambé: For a more adventurous option, you can ignite the Absinthe to create a fiery spectacle before enjoying the heady libation. -This is the preferred method to drink macerated Absinthe.
  • Absinthe cocktails: The green sprit offers endless possibilities for creative mixing. Some classic Absinthe drinks inckude the Sazerac and Monkey Gland cocktail. 

Absinthe is an anise-flavored, quite bitter, and overproof spirit. On average, a bottle of this green liquid has an alcohol content between 55% and 75%. That's too much to enjoy it neat. -At least, for most. Therefore, you have to dilute it, which you can do in many different ways. If you want to know more about the Green Fairy in general, you can find all you need to know in this article about Absinthe.

Now, if you want to know the best ways to drink Absinthe, you have come to the right place.

Absinthe Drip -the French ritual

The French ritual is the original and traditional way to consume Absinthe. 

First, make sure you have a swiss-style Absinthe in front of you. The Czech Republic made their own version of the green spirit, which is less herbal and not well-suited for the French ritual.

Absinthe French Ritual

Pour about 1 oz of Absinthe into a glass, and place a spoon with a sugar cube on top. There are specifically designed Absinthe spoons for this, which you should consider buying. They facilitate the process and look great.

Then, slowly drip cold water on the spoon until the sugar cube has dissolved. The final ratio of Absinthe to water should be approximately 3:1 - 3 oz water to 1 oz Absinthe.

It's crucial that the water drips slowly for this ritual to create the perfect louche - the effect that makes the spirit turn cloudy. The sugar will then balance the bitterness from the Absinthe, while the water lowers its overall ABV.

Absinthe French Ritual

You can use a small pitcher or jug to pour the water. Or, if you intend to perform the French ritual more often, you can get yourself an Absinthe fountain. 

Drink Bohemian Absinthe the Czech way

The Czech ritual - or modern way- is intended for Czech Absinthe only. That's because Absinthe had no legal definition of the spirit, and the Czech went and made their own version. 

Apart from the woodworm, the green color, and the high ABV, it is quite different from traditional Absinthe. It's less herbal and usually not very enjoyable when preparing it the French way.

Absinthe Czech ritual

For the Czech ritual, dip a sugar cube in the Absinthe and put it on your Absinthe spoon. Then, you ignite the soaked sugar, which will caramelize and drip into the Absinthe. 

After a few drops (3 to 5) you can fling the remaining sugar cube into the Absinthe and use the spoon to stir the mix. 

With the Czech ritual, the Absinthe will be warm and still have the same ABV as prior. Keep that in mind and drink responsibly. Also, a glass of water on the side is highly recommended.

Absinthe Czech ritual

Prepare it glass-in-glass

The glass-in-glass method is another way to prepare a serving of Absinthe. It's not traditional, but it's fun.

Place a small shot glass - it should hold 1 oz only- filled with Absinthe into a larger, empty glass. Then slowly dribble about 4 oz of cold, pure water into the small glass. 

Once you have poured in the water, you should have a small glass with water and a big glass with a water-Absinthe mix. Remove the small glass and enjoy your Absinthe.

Please note, that there is no sweetening component here to take away from the bitterness. Hence, this method only works with Absinthe of high quality. 

Drink Absinthe in cocktails

If the pure taste of Absinthe is not for you, you can also mix it into cocktails. And even though Absinthe is not the most common cocktail ingredient, there's still a whole variety of combinations to choose from.

Necromancer cocktail

You can try classics like the Tuxedo cocktail and the Death in the Afternoon, or modern creations like the Necromancer. For a better overview, check out these 10 best Absinthe drinks

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