Fairy tales: how to drink absinthe the proper way

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Absinthe

Absinthe is one of those spirits that people don’t forget trying for the first time. They remember the bar, the city, the house, as it is a fabled drink whose reputation precedes it.

With this in mind, there are numerous ways you can drink the spirit to ensure you have the best first experience. Let’s take a look at some of these methods below so that your first absinthe experience is a most enjoyable one:

The ritual

This spirit – as you well know by now – can be incredibly high proof, ranging from 90 to 148. Therefore, the typical ritual involves drinking it with water and sugar to help take away the burn that comes with such a high-proof alcohol.

This traditional recipe was first enjoyed in France and goes as follows:

  • The spirit itself
  • Sugar
  • Slotted spoon
  • Ice-cold water

The water is used to make the spirit tastier while the sugar helps alleviate the burn. All you have to do is put the spirit into a glass up to the lowest point or to fill the bubble.

Next, place a slotted spoon above the glass before placing a sugar cube on top of the spoon. Place your glass under the absinthe fountain before slowly turning on the water to drip through the sugar.

Once the sugar has dissolved you can turn up the fountain pressure until the water reaches the second line in the glass. Most people like to enjoy their spirit with three to four equal water measures as this helps maximise the spirit’s flavour.

Mix it all together and enjoy the world famous ritual.

Note: You don’t need to have an absinthe fountain to enjoy the spirit this way – you can simply use a water jug and pour it over the sugar slowly to ensure you don’t ruin the drink!

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Other methods:

There are other fabulous ways of drinking this famed spirit, and you may find them equally as enjoyable. These methods include:

  • The Czech ritual: Another hugely popular method is the Czech ritual, which involves pouring the spirit onto the sugar cube before placing the cube onto the slotted spoon before igniting the sugar and allowing it to drip into the glass, putting out the flame with cold water or sparkling water. Stir in the liquid and add ice if you like.

    Note: It’s important to be careful with any flaming alcohol beverage, ensuring you have water and even a fire extinguisher handy if you intend to light the spirit on fire. It’s not recommended that you attempt to light the spirit if you are already inebriated as this can be incredibly dangerous.
  • The cold water or syrup technique: You don’t have to get all fancy with your technique, especially if you just want to enjoy a couple of quiet drinks without all the fancy build up. Instead, simply add one ounce a quarter of the spirit before slowly adding cold water to your desired level. 
  • In cocktails: The spirit can be used in a range of different cocktails to create something completely different to the traditional ways of drinking it. It can be used in the following cocktails:
  • Death in the Afternoon
  • The Corpse Reviver No 2
  • Sazerac
  • La Louisiane

And more. It often comes as a surprise to people just how versatile this legendary spirit actually is, as it can be used in a wide array of cocktails that step far away from the traditional drinking method that made it famous.

Enjoy your beverages in moderation – we all know how strong it is, and focus on the fine taste and texture when enjoying this fabulous drink.

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