Make Distilled Absinthe

This week, we're bringing you a three-part blog series on absinthe, which will cover how to make distilled absinthe, how to make absinthe from kits, and where to buy the best absinthe. 

Since the 18th century, absinthe, aka the "Green Fairy," has been a popular and potent drink among Bohemians and liquor snobs. This herbal spirit has such a reputation for intoxication (it can be anywhere from 110 to 144 proof) that until 2007, it was illegal in the US.

Thankfully, absinthe is now back on the market in the US, and several different brands are available for sale at high-end liquor stores. But if you subscribe to the adage "If you want something done right, do it yourself," we'll show you how to make your own.

It's not easy, but it can be done. The most difficult part of the process is distillation, which is why we're going to give the basics, but leave the rest to the experts.

Some people have permits from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to distill alcohol for ethanol vehicle fuel, but without said permits, it's illegal to distill anything in the United States. That being said, you can buy a still at, or learn how to make your own at

So you have your still. Now, you're just eight steps away from drinking your own absinthe. Here's a list of the herbal ingredients you'll need to finish the job (all of these should be available at local herbal shops like Chakra 4 Herbs and Chinese Medicine Herb):

(all ingredient amounts are per one liter of booze)
Common variety wormwood, 19 grams
Roman wormwood, 23 grams
Fennel, 22 grams
Star anise, 30 grams
Coriander seeds, 4 grams
Hyssop, 8 grams
Angelica root, 5 grams
Mint leaves, 5 grams
Melissa leaves, 2 grams
Liquorice root, 5 grams

You will also need a funnel, two steeping containers with air-tight lids, a stainless steel mesh, and purified water.

Step 1: Pour ethyl alcohol (at least 170 proof) into one of the steeping containers. Add all of the herbs listed above except for the Melissa leaves, mint leaves, and licorice root.
Step 2: Seal the container and store it a dark place (like a closet) for a month. Gently shake the vessel every now and then.
Step 3: Put the stainless steel mesh into your funnel and insert the funnel into your still. Pour the steeped herbs and alcohol you've been storing into the funnel.
Step 4: Pour purified water through the herbs still stuck in the stainless steel mesh. Don't fill the still past ¾ capacity. Afterwards, discard any herbs remaining in the steel mesh.
Step 5: Distill the contents of your still (visit for instructions on how to do this).
Step 6: Take the freshly-distilled alcohol and add the mint leaves, Melissa leaves, and licorice root. Let the herbs steep for about a week.
Step 7: Take the steeped mixture and pour it through the stainless steel mesh and funnel into a new container. Pour purified water through the funnel until the absinthe is diluted to your liking.
Step 8: Get your drink on (sugar cubes optional).

If you'd like to make your own absinthe but don't want to mess with distilling, check back with us tomorrow to learn how to make absinthe via filtration and with absinthe kits.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea