Recession Eats: Make the Best Absinthe Drip in Your Own Home!

June 15, 2012 3:55 PM EDT | By Anthony Smith
Absinthe Drip
We'll show you how to make a no-frills absinthe drip in your own home without spending hundreds of dollars on the necessary equipment. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Recession Eats: Drink Absinthe!

by Anthony Smith

Is there any liquor in the world more motley than the impossibly green absinthe, an evil spirit with herbal notes that make the illicit act of imbibing it seem somehow tame and familiar. Most recently popularized by Moulin Rouge, where a gang of bohemians led by Ewan McGregor take a shot of it to the face and hallucinate Kylie Minogue with Ozzy Osborne's voice doing the can-can (we kid you not), absinthe has been regarded as an addictive, dangerous, psychoactive drug that ruined lives and is illegal to this day.

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A quick visit to any of the legally operating and widely popular absinthe bars in this country debunks the vast majority of this myth, but where in the heck did it come from in the first place? The chemical thujone, a ketone and monoterpene that causes hallucinations, does occur naturally in absinthe. However, it does so in amounts so minuscule that they'd be harmless to any human. The truth is that no one knows why the dangerous effects of absinthe were so exaggerated: it may have had something to do with imperfections in the distillation process that were common to all alcohols in the early 20th century.

One thing is certain: at a whopping 148-Proof, absinthe is a deadly little drink. That's why the best and most traditional way to serve it up is dilluted with water, in a gentleperson's cocktail lovingly named an absinthe drip. The bartenders who make it boast about how tricky it is, and to an extent, they're absolutely right: you can taste all the care, every little step and every idiosyncratic nuance particular to the person who made it for you. Chances are they're using an absinthe spoon and an absinthe fountain to make it for you, both of which are expensive instruments that, impractically, can only really be used to make one type of cocktail for one type of spirit.

In this article, we'll show you how to make an absinthe drip without spending hundreds of dollars on equipment. All you'll need is a bottle of absinthe, a sugar cube, a pasta strainer, and a leaky faucet. And in the tradition of all of those Bohemians who made being poor just about the trendiest thing you can do, we'll be serving this cocktail up to all of our comrades and drinking our way through unemployment!

1. Choose Your Absinthe

We like St. George for this. It's an American absinthe that's easy to find on the East and West coast. It's also quite affordable, as a little bit goes a very long way. But use whatever absinthe you like here. You really can't go wrong.

2. Choose Your Sugar Cube

The nicer the sugar cube, the more nuanced the taste. A Dominos sugar cube would do in a pinch, but absinthe experts agree: splurging on a ten-dollar bag of Mauritius brand sugar cubes makes a world of difference in the long run. But since you won't know what you're missing, a visit to the local supermarket will still produce a fine end-product. It's my humble opinion that absinthe drip technique more than makes up for little shortcuts here and there-- but this is where many and I diverge.

3. Get Your Leaky Faucet Ready

That endless drip coming out of your kitchen sink is good for more than keeping you up and night and destroying the environment: it makes more an exceptional cup of absinthe.

Absinthe Drips are all about introducing sweetened water to the spirit as slowly as possible, which is what a combination of the absinthe spoon and the absinthe fountain allow you regulate. Without those, here's how you do it:

A. Put a shot of absinthe in a glass.

B. Place a pasta strainer over the glass

C. Place the sugar cube on the pasta strainer and over the glass

D. Run your faucet on cold till it's nice and icy.

E. Turn the water pressure down until it's just a little stronger than a drip.

F. Run the drip of water over the sugar cube. It should drip through the strainer and into the absinthe below.

G. After the absinthe is diluted enough, drop the wet sugar cube into the cocktail.




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