The art of drinking absinthe


When should I drink absinthe?

As long as you enjoy absinthe moderately, you can drink it whenever you feel like it. We'd just like to recommend that if you're planning on drinking other spirits as well, you should drink the absinthe first so you can appreciate it best. During the 19th Century, absinthe used to be served as an aperitif before dinner - widely known as “l'Heure Verte” - the green hour - between 5pm and 7pm.

Should I burn my Absinthe before drinking it?

No.

Even though you may often see people setting absinthe or the sugar cube on fire, this was never practiced in the past, and is the result of a marketing strategy to make absinthe more appealing, developed in clubs in the Czech Repulic during the 1990s. Although it might be fun drinking absinthe like this, it actually burns all the good flavours and aromas of our favourite drink.

If you are interested in experiencing all the aromas and flavours absinthe has to offer, you are better off diluting absinthe with ice cold water, and maybe adding a sugar cube.

Should I have my absinthe with sugar?

According to historic adverts and texts, absinthe was enjoyed with sugar from about 1850, if not before. Sugar helps to ease the bitter taste of absinthe, and can enhance certain flavours. However, most absinthe lovers prefer to enjoy their absinthe without any sugar - yet again, this is entirely up to you and your personal preferences! Some absinthes 'need' sugar because of their strong taste, others don't simply because they're already smooth enough. Learn more about whether or not to add sugar to your absinthe.

Why is it best to pour the water slowly?

Decanters, brouilles and absinthe fountains were invented for one particular purpose: to enable you to pour the water into your absinthe glass as gently as possible – ideally, drop by drop – especially at the begining, when the absinthe starts to louche. There are two main reasons for pouring the water carefully:
• The louche is even more beautiful. • The different aromas of your absinthe develop more slowly, and can become much more complex and interesting. (Chemistry helps to understand this phenomenon: each essential oil precipitates at a different dilution, and pouring the water slowly enables the aromas to develop one after the other).

Why does absinthe turn cloudy when I add water?

One of the herbs used to make Absinthe is anise, which contains an essential oil: anethole. Anethole completely dissolves in alcohol, but not in water. So, when you add water to your absinthe, the alcohol level decreases, and the anethole precipitates. This is what we experience as the explosive reaction of absinthe turning cloudy, when water is added.

How should I store my absinthe?

Although Absinthe does keep well, there are a few steps to take, so that neither the alcohol, nor the chlorophyll escapes:
• You should store it with the bottle standing up, away from light, and at a temperature that does not rise above 30°C, to protect the chlorophyll. • You should use a cork stopper, rather than a metal or a plastic, so that the alcohol doesn't evaporate, and so the absinthe doesn't lose its flavour. If you wish to store your absinthe for longer than six months after you opened it, you should change over to a cork stopper if you're not already using one. • When your bottle is more than half empty, you should fill it into a smaller bottle, so that the surrounding air inside the bottle doesn't influence the taste.

Perhaps you would also like to know, that if you just opened a bottle, you should let it air for a bit. Furthermore, some absinthes age very well, so you should not hesitate to store your favourite ones in the cellar for a few years!