Absinthe In One Hand…Now What?


(This post is actually the second in the series, the first beingA Lesson In Absinthe”  If you have not read that post yet, I would humbly ask that you click that link first.  Thankee.)

So, you now have this absinthe in front of you.  You went to the store, or perhaps went online to find your absinthe and had it shipped to you.  Maybe a friend brought you a bottle because they know that you like interesting spirits…but the outcome is the same:  There is it.  What in the world does one DO with it?

Well,… First of all, you of course can make a Sazerac Cocktail.  That’s a good idea.  At least then, with your Sazerac as company you will have time to leisurely contemplate your absinthe and decide what in the world to do with the rest of the bottle.

Here – assuming that you have some other ingredients on hand is the Sazerac Cocktail:

  • 2oz Rye Whiskey
  • .25oz Absinthe
  • .25oz Simple Syrup
  • 1 dash Peychaud’s Bitters

I’ll let the experts describe this one:

Coat chilled old fashioned glass with Absinthe substitute (Herbsaint, Pernod…). Pour out most of what remains, perhaps leaving a small puddle in the bottom of the glass. Add bitters and syrup. You can use a single sugar cube instead of simple syrup, in which case you would now muddle this to dissolve. Add Whiskey.

Those instructions come courtesy of Drinkboy himself – Robert Hess, my appeal to authority in this case.  And, if you don’t believe me, well…this video of Mr. Drinkboy hisself will transport you to proof positive.

OK.  Well?  What in the world should you do with the Absinthe now?  You have made a Saz, but that is really not enough.  This is absinthe after all.  This is the liquid of legend – the muse to the arts.

To do this correctly – and by ‘do this’, I mean – to make absinthe of course, you’ll need a few things.  If Toulouse Lautrec can do it, then by all means so should and can you.

But, you’ll need a these few things:

  1. The Absinthe is at arm’s length, so you have the most important part achieved.
  2. You will need a glass – an Absinthe glass if possible
  3. You will need an Absinthe spoon, if possible.
  4. You will need a sugar cube, no doubt.
  5. You will need an Absinthe Fountain, of course.


The rest is exactly as you imagine it:  Pour about an ounce and a half of absinthe in the glass, add spoon to sit on the glass and the sugar cube to spoon and move glass underneath the absinth fountain’s spigot, positioned perfectly as to allow the water from the fountain to drip directly on the sugar cube.  Of course, I am assuming that you have filled or will fill your absinthe fountain up with lots of ice and water in order to allow for that water to drip on the sugar cube.  So – with that assumption behind us – slowly open up the spigot and drip that water on to the sugar cube and through the spoon, dripping about one drip per second.  At this rate, the water will act as solvent, and the sugar cube will break apart and drip into the absinthe.

Here’s the cool part:  The absinthe will become cloudy, it will become opaque…as if by magic.  The magic of chemistry.  What happens is that the cold water will act upon the oil of the anise in the absinthe and will cause what is called ‘louching’, pronounced “luːʃ-ing”, or “lo͞oshing”.    This is because the oil is soluable in alcohol – louch_1but not water.  So, with the addition of water – especially cold water – the oil separates from the mixture in a manner that creates the louching, and if you watch it closely, carefully – it’s quite beautiful, actually.

Now, there’s a lot of debate about how much water to put in the glass.  Some say 3 – 1, some enjoy 5 -1, but this is really a taster’s choice moment for you.  I’d say start at 3 – 1 and stop the drippity-drop from the fountain at this point.  This is when you will find that the ‘spoon’ part of the absinthe spoon will come in handy:  Stir up that absinthe and keep stirring until as few sugar granules are easily seen as possible.  Now, put the absinthe spoon to the side and take a taste.

What do you think?

Next:  What different Absinthes are out there?

(Sadly, my computer pretty much died, so I have not been able to finish this post, but will in the near future…)

5 Responses to “Absinthe In One Hand…Now What?”

  1. […] A Hands On Study Of Alcohol « An Art Divergence… Absinthe In One Hand…Now What? […]

  2. My current favorite is the Monkey Gland, also a classic absinthe cocktail. I have a 1948 edition of the Trader Vic’s cocktail book that oddly enough, is dotted with cocktail recipes that still call for absinthe.

    Monkey Gland Cocktail

    Dash or two of Absinthe [splash, dash… what the hell]
    Heavy splash of Grenadine [less than the tsp. called for in a lot of recipes]
    1 oz. fresh squeezed Orange Juice
    2 oz. Gin

    Fill a cocktail shaker two-thirds full of ice and add all of the
    ingredients. Shake for approximately 15 seconds and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

    The one below is from Chris Hannah of Arnaud’s French 75 bar in New Orleans using Sub Rosa Spirits’ Tarragon vodka.


    Fairy Tarragon

    1 1/2 oz Sub Rosa Tarragon Vodka
    1/2 oz lemon juice
    1/4 oz Absinthe
    1 oz Galliano
    1 dash Peychaud’s bitters

    Shaken, strained into chilled Martini glass

  3. It’s not cool to swipe other peoples pictures without crediting them sir. Tsk. Tsk.

    • alcohology Says:

      I’m a bad, bad man. I mean, what’r the chances of doing a search for ‘absinthe drip’ and your picture is the first one on Google images? Frick’n hell!

  4. Comment for Jamie: Waaaaa, Waaaaa (sound of a tiny baby)

    For alcohology: Great article and you gotta luv your comment to JB,



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