Last Call

Revealing the Secrets of Absinthe

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See Also: How to Make the Best Manhattan How to Make a Royal Daiquiri

The absinthe craze ended at the turn of the 20th century thanks to two strange bedfellows. The temperance movement saw absinthe as an especially evil spirit, and French wine makers saw absinthe as a genuine threat to their profits. All manner of sensational rumors were spread about the dangers of the Green Fairy. The breaking point came when a Swiss farmer reportedly drank absinthe, then killed his family and tried to kill himself. Never mind the copious amounts of wine and brandy he already had that day; it was the two glasses of absinthe that did it.

Now that cooler heads prevail, the bans worldwide have been lifted, and the product today is similar to the pre-ban ones. The questionable compound in wormwood, thujone, never was as big a part of absinthe as it was made out to be. Moreover, it won't cause hallucinations; it will induce muscle spasms, but you'd have to drink so much absinthe that you'd be literally dead of alcohol poisoning before it happened.

Now that you know the history, let's drink. If you've seen the movie Moulin Rouge!, your first instinct with absinthe will likely be to have shots like they do at the start of the movie. Don't. The very high proof of absinthe (most are around 120 to 130 proof) means absinthe served neat is firewater. The most basic (many would argue best) way to prepare absinthe is a traditional Absinthe Drip.

To prepare an Absinthe Drip, all you do is slowly pour water over a sugar cube into a glass that holds a shot of absinthe. There are all manner of gorgeous Art Nouveau accessories to make this easier. While absinthe enthusiasts covet these fabulously expensive tools (yours truly definitely included), I have a couple of simple hacks that will produce an excellent Absinthe Drip without having to blow major coin.

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JK Grence
Contact: JK Grence