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Absinthe... I WANT to enjoy it.

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Top 75 Contributor
29 Posts
MrCharters posted on 21 Feb 2015 12:24 PM

Last year I bought a bottle of Absinthe, something which I have long wanted to try because of all the lore around it.


I knew it would not produce visions of green fairies, goblins, or technicolor dreams.  But I still wanted to try it.

From my first sip - NOT FOR ME!  I think I just sipped it straight.  I also tried pouring it over sugar.  Still didn't care much for that.

I have no interest in purchasing an Absinthe fountain.

Is there some way I can enjoy this drink?  Is there some step I am missing.  I don't want to go to too much trouble with it, but I have a 90% full bottle sitting in my liquor cabinet and would like to serve it to guests when the weather warms up.

Any ideas?

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Top 25 Contributor
144 Posts

Do you enjoy ANY liqueurs or amaros straight? It's very, very rare that I do either. They are often too strongly flavored for me straight. And absinthe is the worst of the lot for me. I even have a bottle of Spanish Serpis red without anise, and still... no.

In small doses though, absinthe is fantastic. Just think of it as part of your liquor spice cabinet. If you get bored of a drink, try a half-spoon of absinthe in it to give it a fresh spin. Doesn't work all the time, but in basic spiritous drinks (spirit and vermouth) without a lot of other, competing flavoring ingredients it's a great and simple twist.

Or hey, just use it in a spritz. Very light and summery.

And I may get jumped on for this, but there's not a whole lot, technique-wise, that will drastically change the flavor for you. The fountain and all of that is a wonderful ritual, but with all ingedients and measurements the same, you'll still basically end up with the same liquid.


Top 10 Contributor
445 Posts

To ask the obvious question, which absinthe (brand/product) did you acquire?

Top 25 Contributor
143 Posts

If you don't like the anise family of flavors, you'll never like absinthe. For a gentle introduction, try a Corpse Reviver #2.  |  Cocktail recipe database for professionals and enthusiasts |  Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

Top 25 Contributor
145 Posts

I know your pain on that one.  I simply do not like Absinthe.  On it's own that is.  When mixed in cocktails though, in small amounts I do enjoy it.  However I do LOVE Bercherovka and Meletti amaro on their own.  I think with a lot of liqueurs it simply comes down to what you like and what you don't like.

Top 25 Contributor
144 Posts

Martin Doudoroff:
To ask the obvious question, which absinthe (brand/product) did you acquire?

Oof. Very true. Lots of bad, bad absinthe out there...

Top 10 Contributor
445 Posts


Here’s my prescription, MrCharters,

1. head over to, look up whatever this bottle of absinthe is you purchased, and find out what you’ve actually got. If you’ve got bogus absinthe, pour it down the drain and go pick up a bottle of the real stuff. (But do just enough research before making any more purchases—again, the Wormwood Society will not steer you wrong.)

2. prepare some filtered ice water

3. in a glass, dilute a measure of absinthe to around 13% ABV—about the same as table wine—with your ice water (the amount of water you add depends on the ABV of the absinthe you purchased); no need to add sugar

Enjoy. (As Dan Chadwick pointed out, if you dislike anise, this may all be futile, although there is merit in acquiring the taste.)

4. try making a Third Degree (dry Martini with a few dashes of absinthe) and a Death in the Afternoon (champagne, with a little absinthe)


Top 25 Contributor
143 Posts

I had forgotten about the Wormwood Society. Alas, they are a server error at the moment when you attempt to read the absinthe reviews. I've alerted the site owner. EDIT: The Woodwood Society is functioning again.

And I agree about acquiring tastes. Aquavit is in a similar category.  |  Cocktail recipe database for professionals and enthusiasts |  Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

Top 10 Contributor
1,174 Posts

I agree with all that has already been said here, the issues can be boiled down to three things:

1. You may have purchased a bad absinthe

There are lots of bad absinthe (aka: "fauxsinthe") out there. One problem is that most of the great absinthe is pretty expensive, so the uninformed purchaser might decide to test drive using a cheaper brand. I think probably the least expensive "descent" absinthe out there (which I'm sure others will disagree with me on) is Lucid. Marteau, Pacifique, and any of the "Jade" line are top-notch.

If you are hesitant to throw down $70+ dollars on "another" bottle, you should instead try to find a bar near you that might have some good stuff, and know how to serve it properly (if they even "think" about getting a fire anywhere near it, run away!).

2. You may have prepared it wrong

As indicated by others, absinthe isn't to be taken straight! Not only is it very intense in flavor, but it also is very high proof. Martin provided a great description of the right process. And here is my video on it which was filmed just before Absinthe was able to come back on the market.

3. You may not like Absinthe

Do you like Pernod? How about Star Anise? Fennel? Licorice? All of these are in the same flavor family. If you like all of these, then the problem you had is #1 or #2. If you don't like these flavors then nothing will help :->

We'd love to hear back from you to find out how things turned out!


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