I’ve always been taken with the 1992 version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, especially the scene where Gary Oldman as Dracula seduces Mina (Winona Ryder), the apple of his eye, with a drink of Absinthe, reciting the following lines as he takes young Mina’s mortality: “Absinthe is the aphrodisiac of the self. The Green Fairy who lives in the Absinthe wants your soul. But you are safe with me.”
Sure Gary (I mean Dracula), we believe you….
Absinthe is a highly alcoholic spirit made from various herbs with a natural green color (hence the moniker “green fairy”). It has the distinct taste of anise (licorice) and is classically served diluted with water and a sugar cube.
You may have heard about the hallucinogenic Absinthe of the Van Gogh era, often called the “green fairy” because it supposedly made people see things that weren’t actually there. In the 1800 and 1900s, Absinthe was made with an additive called wormwood; this was what caused it to be a hallucinogenic. Because of its mind-altering effects, this spirit of lore came to be banned in the early 1900s, worldwide.
Today’s Absinthe no longer contains wormwood. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, many European countries began legalizing the production and sale of Absinthe and the United States followed suit in 2007. In recent years, Absinthe has reincarnated itself as a new and highly sought spirit in the cocktail world and has become a premium alcohol in the current cocktail craze. Old-style and Prohibition Era cocktails are wildly en vogue.
Absinthe can be mixed with other spirits or flavors like Champagne, Vodka, elderflower, grapefruit juice or ginger, among many other combinations. When preparing an Absinthe cocktail, remember that it has an incredibly strong anise flavor, so mix accordingly.
To serve authentically, you will need a traditional Absinthe spoon, cold water, a sugar cube, and of course a glass filled with Absinthe. To serve you simply rest the spoon on the glass of Absinthe, place the sugar cube on the spoon and drip the cold water over the sugar cube so that the water melts the sugar and it flows into the Absinthe, making it cloudy and slightly diluted.
Here are a few, sip-sational, Absinthe cocktails……
ABSINTHE CURACAO FRAPPE
1 shot Absinthe Original
1/2 shot Curacao
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons orange juice
1 thin slice of orange
Stir ingredients and pour over crushed ice in a deep-saucer champagne glass. Add orange slice.
1 part of Absinthe Original
1/2 part of Jack Daniels
1/2 of gin
1/4 of Archers Peach Schnapps
1 part of Red Bull
Drop of cranberry juice.
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into ice filled collins glass.
1 part of white rum
1 part of Grenadine
1 part of Absinthe Original
1 part of Apricot brandy
3 parts of orange juice
Mix with crushed ice and top it up with absinthe.
3 oz Bombay Sapphire gin
1/2 oz Absinthe Original
1/2 oz Grand Marnier orange liqueur
1 orange peel
Properly chill 1 cocktail glass. In mixing glass with ice, pour gin and absinthe, and stir. In your cocktail glass, roll 1/2 oz of dry vermouth and throw away the excess. Strain other ingredients into cocktail glass and float 1/2 oz of Grand Marnier over top. Garnish with orange peel.
My suggestion? Try one on a stormy, rainy night while watching the Dracula DVD!