Enter the romantic world of absinthe with Curiada delivery to your door.
No spirit is more storied than absinthe. The "green fairy" has been a fixture of European literature since the 1700s. From Ernest Hemingway to Lewis Carroll, it has inspired, tickled, and pleased many an adventurous drinker looking to explore its unique flavor in cocktails and concoctions. Give these bottles a try to take your cocktailing to a new place.
What is absinthe?
Absinthe is a highly alcoholic spirit (45-74% ABV) distilled from botanicals like grande wormwood, green anise, and florence fennel. Nicknamed 'the Green Fairy', its anise flavor and emerald hue caused a stir in 19th century France and beyond.
Traditionally bottled without added sugar, it develops a louche effect when water is added - the liquid turns cloudy as essential oils precipitate. It originated in Switzerland in the late 1700s and rose to popularity through the Belle Époque period in France.
What are the different types of absinthe?
There are a few main styles of absinthe distinguished by their production method:
- Distilled - The base botanicals are macerated and distilled to create the spirit.
- Cold mixed - Oils are extracted from herbs then blended with neutral spirits.
- Aged - After distillation, it rests in wood, which adds complexity.
Based on the varieties of botanicals used, absinthe flavors can range from floral and herbal to spicy, citrusy or earthy. Common descriptors include licorice, vermouth, mint, coriander, parsley, fennel and black pepper.
How is absinthe made?
Authentic absinthe begins by distilling neutral alcohol from grapes or grains. The neutral spirit gets flavored through distillation or maceration of herbs.
Botanicals like wormwood, green anise, fennel and often coriander, give it its characteristic licorice flavor. Other herbs add complexity like hyssop, lemon balm, tarragon and petite wormwood. Distilled absinthe involves two steps. First, the herbs soak in neutral spirits, then distill it again with more herbs. This double distillation concentrates the deep, complex herbal essence. For cold mixed absinthe, botanical essences are extracted through distillation, then blended into a neutral spirit. Quality cold mixed absinthes use the same herbs as distilled but without a second distillation. Finally, some absinthes get aged in oak barrels or casks, acquiring subtle tannins and oxidized 'rancio' notes that enhance the woody, earthy flavors. Bottling proof typically ranges from 45 to 74% ABV. Sugar is not added.
How should I drink absinthe?
Absinthe should be enjoyed slowly and deliberately as a meditative experience. The traditional French method involves pouring 1-5 parts cold water into a glass with 1 part absinthe. The water unlocks aromas and flavors as the drink louches.
Higher quality absinthe warrants drinking slowly diluted with water. But simple granite distilled absinthes can work well in cocktails in place of other anise liqueurs like pastis or ouzo. Sip it slowly to experience its spectrum of herbaceous, floral and spicy flavors. Allowing the vegetal aromas to open up before each sip is an important part of the experience.
How does absinthe taste, smell and look?
Nosing it, expect aromatic herbs, black licorice, fennel and pine. The flavor evolves remarkably with water from spirity and burning to mellow green fruit, mint, coriander, vermouth and lingering numbing phenols.
A good absinthe coats the tongue before fading to black pepper and lemon on the finish. Its natural color ranges from cloudy white to amber red and bright emerald green depending on the botanicals. Diluting with ice water transforms its stark green into an opalescent pastel louche. Swirling unleashes floral, vegetal and cinnamon aromas for a complex nosing experience before sipping.
How do I mix absinthe into amazing cocktails?
Explore some of our most interesting absinthe cocktails.
Absinthe's strong, bitter herbal taste commands respect in cocktails. Here are tips for using it effectively:
- Substitute it for vermouth in vintage cocktails like the Sazerac or Martinez for a licorice twist.
- Rinse chilled glassware with it before building cocktails for subtle herbal aroma.
- Use sparingly and pair with fruit - a dash pairs wonderfully with citrus, pears, apples, plums.
- Stir with agave or simple syrup to offset bitterness.
- Sprinkle a sugar cube over it and slowly drip cold water for a show-stopping cocktail presentation.
- Pour into a coupe and top with Champagne for an eye-catching upgrade on classic Champagne cocktails.
What is the history of absinthe?
Absinthe originated in Couvet, Switzerland around 1792, home of Dr. Pierre Ordinaire, who created it as a digestif and health tonic using wormwood and other herbs.
Its anise flavor came from the addition of green anise, Florence fennel, and star anise. This gave absinthe its distinctive black licorice taste and opaque green color. It rose to popularity through the late 1800s Belle Époque period in France. Captivating artists and writers, it became a Bohemian symbol of creativity. By 1910, the Green Fairy had been demonized as a dangerous, addictive drug.
The temperance movement lobbied for its ban around 1915, accusing absinthe of psychedelic effects. This was likely overstated, as the high proof rather than wormwood caused inebriation. But vivid hallucinations captured in art fueled its mystic allure. Through the 20th century, bans persisted in Europe and the USA. There was a revival after quality standards and debunked myths allowed legal production again in the 1990s. Today, fine absinthes provide a nuanced herbal experience without reported psychotropic effects.
Why shop Curiada's selection of absinthe?
Curiada offers absinthes that capture the full experience of this legendary spirit. Get them delivered to your door in 1-7 days to explore a new world!
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