Absinthe spoons, Absinthe glasses, fountains, drippers and brouillers are all collectively known as Absinthiana and are the accoutrements used in the preparation of Absinthe. Original items are now highly valued by collectors and you see such antiques and collectibles being sold for quite substantial amount of money.
If you cannot afford original Absinthiana then you can buy replicas from companies such as AbsintheKit.com to help you prepare the perfect Absinthe in style.
Types of Absinthe Spoons
Absinthe spoons, cuilleres, were introduced in the 1880s to make Absinthe preparation easier. Previously perforated cups over Absinthe glasses had been used. These spoons were pierced or slotted to allow sugar and water to drip through into the absinthe.
Absinthe spoons, or cuilleres, come in many different shapes and sizes and are also made out of many different kinds of metal including silver, nickel and chrome. Marie-Claude Delahaye, a historian specializing in Absinthe history, has concluded that there are over 375 different types of Absinthe spoon.
The most common type of spoon is shaped like a trowel and is called the French Pelle and this group of cuilleres includes the pretty “les feuilles d’Absinthe” which have got Absinthe foliage designs on them. Also in this group is the famous spoon design featuring the Eiffel Tower which was designed to commemorate the opening of the Eiffel Tower in 1889.
The second group of Absinthe spoons is the group of “les Grilles” or “Les Grillagees” meaning lattice. The third and final group is called “Les cuilleres” and includes designs with a long handle and a cradle to hold the cube of sugar.
Some of the most famous Absinthe spoons are “Les Cuilleres de Poilus”. A Poilu was a French soldier from the Great War and these Cuillere spoons were fashioned by soldiers at war using materials which were close at hand – shell casings, aluminum, tin and brass. These spoons were only made at the start of the war because Absinthe was banned in France in 1915. Soldiers designed these spoons to fit their own drinking cups. These beautiful and unique spoons are now highly collectible antiques.
Absinthe was banned because of the alleged psychedelic and psychoactive effects of thujone, the chemical found in the herb wormwood which is a major ingredient in Absinthe. Absinthe was legalized in most countries in the 1990s after it was noted that it was no more harmful than any other strong liquor and contained only minute amounts of thujone.
The Absinthe Ritual
There is a ritual to be followed by lovers of the Green Fairy (Absinthe). To make the perfect Absinthe you need:-
– Iced Water
Some people would also say that an Absinthe fountain, brouiller or carafe should be used for the water.
To prepare the Absinthe:-
– Pour approximately 25-50ml of Absinthe into your glass.
– Rest your Absinthe spoon (cuillere) on the glass and place a cube of sugar on it.
– Pour the iced water slowly onto the sugar cube. You should begin to see the louche happening from the bottom of the glass.
Louching, or clouding, happens because the essential oils from the herbs are not soluble in water. The finished drink should be milky or cloudy looking.
The correct ratio of water and Absinthe is between 3:1 (Water to Absinthe) and 5:1 depending on taste.
Using Absinthe spoons and other Absinthiana will help you to fully enjoy the Absinthe ritual.