Wet Bar Wednesday – Absinthe Minded

I purchased my first bottle of absinthe today.  This stuff is *not* cheap, so it’s fortunate that is mostly used very sparingly in drinks, so that this bottle should last quite a long time!  But I needed something to help me forget the pain of Tax Day, and I thought a visit from the Green Fairy (the traditional nickname for absinthe) might just do the trick.  Incidentally, I learned today that while most popular variations of absinthe are green, the liquor can also come in a clear form.

The bottle I picked up is powerful stuff – 138 proof, almost 70% alcohol content!  That’s pretty potent – no wonder folks were hallucinating with it!  For that reason absinthe on its own is traditionally diluted with water (or fire) to some degree or another, mostly dependent on personal taste.  Traditionally a sugar cube is slowly dissolved into the absinthe with dripping water.  This helps dilute the drink, sweeten it, and also might have the tendency to cause the liquid to cloud up, something I encountered two years ago when in Israel and sampling a popular regional liquor, arak.  The clouding effect is due to high concentrations of botanical infusions that don’t do well at remaining in suspension in water.

I opted for an absinthe cocktail, and these are becoming popular at hip bars now that the liquor is available again and public curiosity is piqued.  The one I found is called the Absinthe Minded Martini.  Once again I am reminded that I don’t like gin, and inviting the Green Fairy to take a bath in it does not change this fact.

Absinthe Minded Martini

  • 3 parts gin
  • 1/2 part absinthe
  • 1/2 part dry vermouth
  • 1/2 part Grand Marnier
  • Orange peel

Begin by chilling the glass you’re going to serve this drink in.  Traditionally this is done by filling said glass with ice and setting it aside while you prepare the drink.  You can also stick the glass in the freezer for a few minutes.

Mix the gin and the absinthe in a shaker and stir/shake.  The better the gin, the better the drink.  I used Bombay Sapphire which is nice stuff.  But it’s still gin.  The absinthe is very pale green.

Get the chilled serving glass out.  Empty out the ice (or put the ice in the shaker with the gin & absinthe if you want to dilute it a bit).  Shake out any water in the serving glass.  Then pour a little of the dry vermouth (no more than 1/2 oz, and probably more like 1/4 oz) into the glass and swirl it around so that it coats all the sides of the glass.  Toss out (or drink) the remaining dry vermouth.

Pour the gin/absinthe into the glass.  Lightly pour (“float”)  the Grand Marnier on the top.  Place the orange peel twist in the glass and serve.

Again, I didn’t personally care for this drink because of the overpowering taste of gin.  But if gin is your thing, give this a try and let me know what you think.  Enjoy!

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