OK, I’m a convert. Gabrielle and I spent Friday afternoon taste-testing a variety of absinthe preparations (all using her homemade recipe), and I was pleasantly surprised to discover how delicious absinthe is. Gabrielle’s blend is refreshing, deeply herbal…almost like a mild, licorice-infused tea when prepared as described below. There’s a video coming in which Gabrielle explains the history of absinthe and dispels the many myths surrounding the stuff (it’s not illegal in the U.S., it doesn’t make you hallucinate, etc)…soon. The one I shot on Friday had less-than-great sound quality (I’m slowly learning that shooting outside with “equipment” like mine – an otherwise fabulous Canon PowerShot – is a bad idea).
All of the below recipes use 5 parts water (or other non-alcoholic liquid) for every 1 part absinthe; this stuff is strong, and is meant to be savored, not downed.
Using a large glass and a spoon (a regular old spoon works fine, but how much more fun would this be with a special absinthe spoon?), slowly pour 5 parts cold water for every 1 part absinthe over sugar until it dissolves.
In a large glass, muddle together absinthe, a touch of simple syrup (or some sugar), a few squeezes of lime juice (and maybe a dash of lemon, if you like), and a few mint leaves (or substitute a bit of loose peppermint tea, as we did here, if that’s all you have handy). Fill glass with sparkling water; garnish with a sprig of mint.
Absinthe “Egg Cream”
In a large glass, mix together absinthe, a little sugar, sparkling water, a couple of big spoonfuls of good-quality vanilla ice cream, and a touch of heavy cream. Die happy.
All of the above cocktails are especially delicious when paired with dark chocolate (I recommend brownies), white chocolate spiked with cardamom, or other strongly-flavored treats.