May 23, 2024
This comprehensive guide will provide you with everything you need to know on how to drink absinthe. From the basics to cocktails, all the way to its history and culture, this article explores all the different ways to enjoy this unique and versatile spirit.


Absinthe, a popular anise-flavored spirit, is both mysterious and alluring. Known for its supposed hallucinogenic properties, it’s no surprise that drinking absinthe can be intimidating. Fear not, as this comprehensive guide will provide you with everything you need to know on how to drink absinthe.

The Art of Absinthe Drinking: A Beginner’s Guide

Absinthe is a distilled spirit made from wormwood, green anise, sweet fennel, and other herbs. When properly diluted, it creates a louche effect that brings out the flavor. For beginners, the first step is to prepare the glass:

  1. Fill an absinthe glass with one serving (usually one ounce) of absinthe.
  2. Place an absinthe spoon over the glass, with a sugar cube on top of the spoon.
  3. Slowly drip cold water over the sugar cube until it dissolves into the glass, usually in a 1:3 ratio of absinthe to water.

Once the water is added, observe the louche effect. Absinthe is meant to be sipped and savored, so take small sips and enjoy its unique flavor.

The Absinthe Ritual: How to Drink Like the Pros

The traditional absinthe ritual involves a more elaborate process of ice-cold water, a slotted spoon, and a sugar cube. This ritual is meant for the true absinthe connoisseur and is not necessary for beginners.

Here are the steps to the traditional absinthe ritual:

  1. Place a sugar cube on an absinthe spoon.
  2. Place the spoon on the rim of the absinthe glass.
  3. Pour ice-cold water over the sugar cube and through the spoon to dissolve the sugar and dilute the absinthe.
  4. Once the louche effect occurs, stir the absinthe with the spoon, and enjoy.

Absinthe Cocktails: A Twist on Tradition

Absinthe cocktails provide a twist on traditional absinthe drinking. Here are three tasty recipes:

The Sazerac


  • 3 oz rye whiskey
  • 1 tsp absinthe
  • A few dashes of Peychaud’s bitters
  • 1 sugar cube


  1. In a mixing glass, muddle the sugar cube, bitters, and a few drops of water.
  2. Fill the glass with ice and add the rye whiskey.
  3. Stir for about 30 seconds, until fully chilled.
  4. Coat a chilled rocks glass with absinthe and pour out the excess.
  5. Strain the cocktail into the prepared glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

The Green Beast


  • 1 1/2 oz absinthe
  • 3/4 oz fresh lime juice
  • 3/4 oz simple syrup
  • 5 oz sparkling water


  1. Fill a Collins glass with ice.
  2. Combine the absinthe, lime juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice.
  3. Shake until chilled, then strain into the prepared glass.
  4. Top with sparkling water and garnish with a lime wheel.

The Corpse Reviver #2


  • 3/4 oz gin
  • 3/4 oz Cointreau
  • 3/4 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 dash absinthe


  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add all ingredients and shake until chilled.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a lemon twist.

It’s important to note that absinthe cocktails are not meant to be diluted or louched like traditional absinthe. Instead, simply mix the ingredients together and enjoy.

The Dos and Don’ts of Drinking Absinthe

Here are some important tips to keep in mind when drinking absinthe:


  • Use a slow drip of cold water when preparing traditional absinthe.
  • Buy quality absinthe from a reputable distiller.
  • Take small sips and savor the flavor.
  • Drink absinthe in moderation.
  • Use an absinthe spoon and glass.


  • Burn absinthe, as this is a fire hazard and not traditional absinthe drinking.
  • Drink absinthe straight without dilution.
  • Use a regular spoon or tumbler for traditional absinthe drinking.
  • Consume absinthe if you have a medical condition or are taking medication that may interact with it.

Absinthe Pairings: What to Eat and Drink With Your Absinthe

While absinthe can be enjoyed on its own, it also pairs well with certain foods and drinks. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Desserts: chocolate, macaroons, and lemon bars
  • Cheeses: Swiss, blue cheese, and goat cheese
  • Meats: smoked salmon, oysters, and grilled pork
  • Mixer: cold water, soda water, or ginger ale
  • Other liquors: gin, rye whiskey, and Amaro

The best way to enjoy absinthe is to experiment with different pairings and see what works best for you.

Absinthe History and Culture: An In-Depth Look at This Timeless Beverage

Absinthe’s origins date back to Switzerland in the late 18th century. It became especially popular in France in the 19th century, with artists and bohemians embracing it as their go-to beverage. In the early 20th century, absinthe was banned in many countries due to its supposed hallucinogenic properties, which have since been debunked.

Today, absinthe is legal in most countries and has regained popularity as a unique and intriguing spirit. Its place in history and cultural significance is a testament to its timeless appeal.

Sipping vs. Shooting: How to Best Enjoy Absinthe

Sipping absinthe is the traditional way of enjoying the beverage. However, some prefer to shoot their absinthe as a quick, enjoyable shot. Ultimately, the best way to enjoy absinthe is up to personal preference.

If you prefer sipping your absinthe, try different types and brands until you find one you like. And if you prefer shots, mix it with cold water and enjoy.


Absinthe is a unique and versatile spirit that is steeped in history and culture. With this comprehensive guide, you now have all the knowledge and tools to enjoy absinthe in your preferred way. Whether you sip it slowly or shoot it back, remember to always drink absinthe responsibly.

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