Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Absinthe Drip

My first cocktail as part of the 100 Cocktail Bucket List project is one of the simplest to make, but also has a lot of history and intrigue attached to it. Absinthe was banned in the United States and most European countries by 1915 because of fears that one of the chemical properties contained in wormwood (thujone) was a dangerous psychoactive drug. Commercial production started again in Europe in the 1990's, and production in the United States was authorized beginning in 2007.

Because absinthe is typically a very high proof spirit, it is typically consumed as a cocktail by adding ice cold water which is dripped over a sugar cube held over the glass by a special slotted absinthe spoon, The resulting cocktail will turn a milky white, called the "louche," which opens up all of the other herbal notes in the drink that would have otherwise been overpowered by the anise flavor and/or the alcohol content.

I had purchased some Le Tourment Vert (LTV) absinthe some time ago, based almost exclusively on the very cool looking bottle. Having read up on the subject some more in the intervening months, I opted to purchase Lucid brand absinthe, which is generally considered to be very good (unlike LTV ), and which is, unlike some of the other highly regarded absinthe brands, readily available within a block of where I work.

Unlike LTV, which had yielded very poor results when trying to use it to create an Absinthe Drip (no louche, so real difference in the flavor profile once water was added), the Lucid produced a lovely, milky cocktail which tasted of a generous assortment of herbs (not just anise).

All in all, a great start to this project. 99 more to go!

Absinthe Drip

2 oz absinthe (Lucid)
sugar cube
4 oz ice cold water

Pour absinthe into cocktail glass or special absinthe glass (these glasses generally have a bulbous bottom with a flared top - the absinthe should be filled to the line between to two halves of the glass). Place an absinthe spoon (or other slotted spoon) over the glass, and place sugar cube on the spoon. SLOWLY drop the ice water over the sugar, dissolving the sugar into the absinthe. The absinthe should go from a clear spirit to a milky white (the louche).

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