How To Make Absinthe
Knowing how to make the perfect Absinthe is important and you need to learn and follow the “Absinthe Ritual” or recipe, but you first need to make sure that you have the perfect ingredients and that means buying quality Absinthe.
There are many low quality or even fake Absinthes available from suppliers especially those who are selling to the USA. The reason for this is that Absinthe contains the chemical thujone which comes from the herb wormwood, the main ingredient in real Absinthe along with anise and fennel. The safety of thujone was brought into question in the early 20th century. It was thought to be psychoactive and have psychedelic effects like those caused by THC in cannabis. Drinking the Green Fairy, the nickname for Absinthe, was thought to drive you insane! Absinthe was therefore banned for sale and made illegal in many countries in the early 1900s.
In the 1990s there was an Absinthe revival as Absinthe was made legal in most countries. Studies had shown that Absinthe was no more harmful than any other strong liquor and that it only contained minute quanitities of thujone. EU guidelines mean that Absinthe sold bottled in the EU may only contain up to 10mg/kg of thujone and the USA will only allow trace amounts. Most people believe that real Absinthe should contain 35mg/kg of thujone.
There is a bewildering array of Absinthe for sale online so here is some help and some tips for buying quality Absinthe:-
- Make sure that it actually contains wormwood. The botanical name for wormwood is Artemisia Absinthium. Wormwood gives Absinthe its thujone and its characteristic bitter taste. If the Absinthe on sale does not contain wormwood then it is not Absinthe!
- Make sure that it also contains aniseed and fennel which are the other 2 key ingredients. Other herbal ingrediants may include lemon balm, star anise, hyssop, sweet flag, juniper, petite wormwood, coriander and angelica roots.
- Look at the Alcohol By Volume. Absinthe is a strong alcoholic beverage, twice as strong as spirits such as whisky and vodka. Absinthe should contain between 45-75% ABV. Real Absinthe is a 100% distilled herbal beverage.
- Use Absinthe essences to make your own bottled Absinthe. Absinthe essence containing real Wormwood are supplied by companies like AbsintheKit.com who also supply these essences to the Absinthe distilleries. Using these essences you can make your own top-quality traditional Absinthe containing the proper amount of thujone, 35mg/kg and save yourself some money.
How to Make Absinthe using the Ritual
There are video tutorials on the Internet to help you make the perfect Absinthe drink but it really is quite simple. Patience is the key as well as using the correct equipment or “Absinthiana”.
You will need:-
- An Absinthe glass.
- An Absinthe spoon (cuillere).
- Quality Absinthe.
- Iced Water.
- A cube of sugar.
Pour the required amount of Absinthe, about 25-50ml, into the glass. Rest the Absinthe spoon over the top of the glass and place the sugar cube on the spoon. Pour the iced water slowly over the sugar. This is when you need patience because you really need to let the water drip onto the sugar slowly. An Absinthe fountain can be used which allows the water to drip out slowly onto the sugar.
As the water and sugar solution mixes into the Absinthe, the essential herbal oils cause the Absinthe to louche, become cloudy. This effect can be quite dramatic if the water is dripped in slowly – it is fascinating to watch.
The ratio of water to Absinthe should be between 3:1 and 5:1 depending on your taste. Once the water has dripped through the spoon, you can stir the Absinthe and enjoy your drink.
As you can see it is easy to learn how to make Absinthe and you should enjoy the experience of making and drinking this wonderful mythical and mysterious drink.