Here is your new, old-fashioned way to enjoy Absinthe. Our next Kiosk-Cocktail takes on a refreshing serve of the Green Fairy… well, not quite, but what’s certain is that the Absinthe Frappé is an easily-shaken, powerful pick-me-up that can be served right from your kitchen counter.
Absinthe has rinsed quite a few of our recipes this month, as the supporting role in many New Orleans cocktails. It spritzed our glasses as we sipped on Sazeracs, while lending itself to balance out the boozy bitterness of the De La Louisiane. It’s about time absinthe took centre stage as the main character in our final tipple of the edit.
So, whilst you prepare your glass and crushed ice – we’ll look at a brief, inebriated history of the Absinthe Frappé.
Tippled History: Origins of the Absinthe Frappé
Absinthe was considered to be a high-proof, refreshing aperitif, before the U.S pushed for the spirit’s notorious ban in 1912. What was thought to be the culprit of Absinthe’s unfortunate reputation, pointed to its most prominent botanical – wormwood.
Beliefs and fabrications of schizophrenia and hallucinations associated with the aperitif, instigated the spirit’s lengthy prohibition. It wasn’t until 2007 that the Green Fairy arrived back in the States and reappeared on NOLA’s most cherished cocktail menus.
The Absinthe Frappé, a beloved concoction in itself, was created by bartender Cayetano Ferrer at Aleix’s Coffee House in 1874, soon becoming The Old Absinthe House, because of the cocktail’s refreshing notoriety. This fresh, herbaceous, and to be quite frank, piquant drink was initially intended to be served as a morning pick-me-up…
I think I’ll stick to coffee for my 9AM elixir, but let’s crack on as there’s nothing stopping us from shaking up a diverting concoction for tonight’s drink.
Recipe Time - How to Make the Absinthe Frappé
Our recipe leans into the drink’s apparent freshness by introducing the mint into the shaker from the get-go, as opposed to a last-minute dash for a garnish. Throwing the mint in with the shake, is a fantastic way to make the spirit more approachable, if this is your first encounter with absinthe – as well as an opportunity to use up any excess mint you have lying around.
4-6 Mint Leaves
30ml Absinthe / Anisette Liqueur
5ml Sugar Syrup (or to taste)
Top with Soda Water
Add the mint, absinthe, and sugar into your cocktail shaker with ice.
Hard, vigorous shake until there is a good coating of frost on the outside of the shaker.
Strain into a chilled frappé glass or highball with fresh crushed ice.
Gently and slowly top with soda water, to retain the bubbles.
Garnish with a mint sprig.
Stepping up your Serve - How to Make a Better Drink
Absinthe – There are two options for your lead spirit: an authentic, high-proof, good quality absinthe or a lower ABV anisette liqueur. For this recipe we opted for the higher-proof choice such as La Fée Absinthe Parisienne or Pernod Absinthe - both sitting at 68% ABV. We strongly suggest avoiding any absinthes with an artificial, neon green hue. The beauty of the Absinthe Frappé is that it’s simple, easy, and naturally refreshing. No novelties needed.
La Fée Absinthe Parisienne is great for those seeking a no-nonsense, classic absinthe experience, with herbal Artemisia aromas backed by anise, fennel, and spicy coriander. Pernod Absinthe is inspired by Pernod’s original Fils recipe with a herbal bitterness, lifted by lemon balm. Many however, still do opt for an aniseed aperitif like Pernod Anise that sits at 40% ABV. A fantastic replacement for the once banned absinthe.
Shaking – This is a cocktail that can take a beating. So don’t shy away from spending a tad bit longer than normal in the shaking stage. This is a cocktail that needs the sufficient dilution to make the drink stand out – so shake away!
Water – Some opt for soda water, others side with the addition of chilled still water in the shaker. Absinthe shines when there is something to bring down the ABV of the drink. If you do choose to add soda water, use a barspoon to gently introduce the bubbles to the serve, this will retain the cocktail’s refreshing nature.
Remember, home cocktails are all about adapting your serve to your taste. Throw in some lemon peels whilst you shake, if the oily citrus flavour of the absinthe is more you. Change your glassware if you prefer a longer serve. Or even stick with the mint as a garnish if you’re only after the aroma. Do what suits you, you’re at home!