How to Drink Absinthe

Learn the various ways you can drink absinthe.

A famous and controversial spirit drink called absinthe, made from Artemisia absinthium and other herbs, can actually be enjoyed in many ways.  But before we go about the description of the different ways to enjoy absinthe, let us dab a little on its history and find out how it became really famous and controversial.

Absinthe – An Overview

Absinthe is also known as the “Green Fairy” and it had a very colorful reputation of inducing hallucinations after consumption. Known artists and writers such as Ernest Hemmingway, Vince Van Gogh and Pablo Picasso were avid drinkers of absinthe and they even came up with several works that featured the drink. Artists and writers during their time claimed that the drink helped heighten their clarity of mind and vision thus inspiring their work and creation. However, modern tests have proven that the small amount of thujone found in wormwood from the Artemisia absinthium, is not enough to cause such hallucinations. Researchers say the cause could be due to the impurities in the mixture or improper bottling. These reports were the reasons why the ban of absinthe was lifted.

Methods for Drinking Absinthe

Most absintheurs drink absinthe the traditional way which is mixed with water and a cube of white sugar. Others drink absinthe poured over sugar which is then set alight; while there are a few who drink it pure. During the time of the absinthe fever, the drink was always mixed with water and sweetened with sugar. They place the cube of sugar on a punctured spoon on top of a glass which already contains pure absinthe. Then they slowly pour chilled water on the sugar until it dissolves. They even make use of special absinthe fountains to dispense water so that the right amount of water is dispensed into the glass of pure absinthe.

The other way to drink absinthe mentioned earlier is by setting it alight. The pouring of the absinthe itself onto the sugar is a recent method on how to enjoy the drink. As described, the absinthe is poured onto the sugar, instead of water, and the absinthe-soaked sugar cube is then set afire. The sugar cube dissolves and the emerald liquor itself is set on fire. However, purists and absintheurs highly disagree with this method. They say that absinthe must never be taken in like that, maybe because it does deny the drinker the full experience of absinthe wherein it was traditionally consumed with just water.

The few who drink absinthe straight up are most probably those who are drinking it for the first time. Absinthe has a very strong taste which is why it is rarely consumed straight up, just like whiskey, scotch or brandy. Take note that it does have very high alcohol content at about 50-70 per cent which is way higher than a normal scotch being at 40 per cent. This is why most people dilute it in water, however, how you take your absinthe is really up to you.