Discover how an absenta
Absinthe is an alcoholic beverage made from wormwood and a mixture of herbs. It is known as the Green Fairy, as it was believed to cause hallucinations, which is why it was banned for a long time. In addition, unlike other drinks, absinthe has a whole consumption ritual that is interesting to know.
Absinthe is a drink full of mysticism, from its formulation based on wormwood, fennel and anise, which in ancient medical treatises was called The Holy Trinity. It was first distilled for sale in 1792 by the French physician Pierre Ordinaire, as a remedy for fever and stomach aches suffered by soldiers in the trenches.
The drink was marketed throughout Europe and in France it became so famous that cabarets included among their shows the so-called l’heure verd, the Green Hour in which only the best absinthe was drunk (by clicking on this link you can find some options to buy). Absinthe became so popular that it appeared in paintings by famous painters, such as the one dedicated to it by Degas and in which you can see that “green fairy” sitting next to the drinker.
In its time, the drink of absinthe carried with it a whole ritual and in this article we want to explain how absinthe should be drunk, to fully enjoy this drink, which was the favorite of bohemians and artists such as Van Gogh, Hemingway or Wilde.
Czech or modern bohemian
Bohemia is an area of the Czech Republic, from which the term bohemian comes, which is applied to artists and people who abandon themselves to the pleasures of the world. To drink absinthe in the traditional style of this region, the absinthe is first poured into a glass, which should be wide at the top and narrow at the bottom. Then a spoon is placed on the edge, and on it a sugar cube.
You can then either dip the sugar cube in the absinthe or you can pour some absinthe over it. The important thing in this step is that the lump is completely soaked in liquor. When it is well soaked, set the sugar on fire and let it burn for about a minute or until you see that it begins to caramelize. The sugar must not be burned, as this will ruin the taste of the absinthe, and it must not be allowed to drip into the glass either, as the absinthe is highly flammable and could ignite, shattering the glass.
When the sugar starts to turn golden and caramelizes, pour ice water over it and let it all pour into the glass. At this point, the absinthe should take on a milky color, this is due to the effect of the anise with the water. Stir and enjoy.
the french method
The French method is the traditional one, which was used in France in the 18th and 19th centuries. It consists of pouring about 30 ml of absinthe into a glass. You can use any glass, although the most purists use glasses with an ancient design or even special glasses for absinthe, which are also called reservoir pontarlier or simply reservoir glasses, since they have a bulb-shaped hole in the lower part, which It is where the absinthe is poured and it is called a reservoir.
A flat, perforated spoon is then placed on the top edge. These spoons are also known as absinthe spoons. Place a sugar cube on the perforated part of the spoon. This part is optional, although sugar was traditionally used to balance the bitter taste of wormwood.
Ice water is poured very little by little over the sugar. This is the most important part of the ritual and should be done whether or not you have used sugar. The water must be very cold or ice cold so that the sugar dissolves very slowly. In contact with water and sugar, the absinthe should begin to take on a milky color.
To finish, stir the drink with the spoon. Some prefer to add a couple of ice cubes to improve the flavor of the absinthe, although this practice is not very well seen among the most purists, since the ice, when melted, will water down the liquor a little and take away from its flavor.
glass within glass
This is a modern way of drinking absinthe that involves putting a shot glass (about 30 ml) inside a larger glass, which can be a whiskey glass or a beer mug. Next, drip very cold or ice water into the shot glass, so that the contents spill out into the tall glass.
Between 90 and 120 ml of cold water should be added, depending on the glass you have chosen. At the end, the large glass will contain a mixture of absinthe and fresh water. Remove the small glass, the result should have a milky appearance, which shows that the absinthe is of quality.
This is a modern method and a bit dangerous, as it involves lighting the absinthe so that it flames and requires drinking the absinthe in one gulp, without diluting or mixing it, so being such a strong liquor, it can be dangerous.
First, fill a shot glass three-quarters full with absinthe. You must be careful not to fill the glass to the top and make sure that you can hold the glass comfortably in the palm of your hand. If the glass is bigger than your hand, you won’t be able to backdraft and you could get burned.
Set the absinthe on fire using a match or lighter. This liquor has a lot of alcohol, so it will catch fire quickly. Don’t let it burn too long, as this can make the glass too hot and the absinthe will lose its herbal flavors.
Quickly place your hand on the rim of the glass. Don’t worry, you won’t get burned, because the hand covers the oxygen inlet and the flame is immediately extinguished. You will notice that the shot sticks to your hand. Bring your hand close to your face and gradually remove it from the glass, inhale the alcohol vapors produced by the combustion.
To finish, take the shot in one gulp or enjoy it little by little, whichever you prefer.