Here are the top classic absinthe cocktails! This outlawed liquor is now back in good graces, giving reason to try these famous drinks.
There’s no liquor with more intrigue than absinthe. Called the “Green Fairy,” this black licorice-flavored liqueur has been ripe with controversy since the early 1900’s. Picasso painted it, and Hemingway created drinks with it. In fact, it was banned in the US and Europe until 2007! Turns out it’s perfectly safe, not unlike any other liquor like gin, vodka, whiskey or tequila. But even today, its aura of mystery still holds.
Here are the top classic absinthe cocktails to make, each with its own unique history and place in the cocktail lexicon. The flavors are as varied as can be, from a sweet tart sours to bubbly champagne cocktails to a boozy drinks from New Orleans. Ready to get sipping?
And now…4 classic absinthe cocktails!
More about absinthe
Absinthe is quite the controversial liquor. In fact, it was illegal in the US for almost 100 years! It was so iconic that famous painters even immortalized it in their paintings (like Picasso). But never fear: scientists of today have determined that absinthe is perfectly safe consumed in moderation. Here’s what to know before grabbing a bottle of absinthe:
- Absinthe is a green anise-flavored liqueur made from botanicals: wormwood, anise, fennel and other herbs. What does it taste like? It’s herbal with a strong black licorice finish.
- When was absinthe banned? It was illegal in the US from 1912 to 2007.
- Is absinthe hallucinogenic? No! But this is why it was illegal in Europe and the US for almost 100 years. It became popular in the 1840s, but started to be mistakenly associated with violent crimes. People started to believe it and had absinthe banned. Modern research has confirmed absinthe is no more harmful than any other alcohol.
- Why did people claim it was hallucinogenic? It’s possible that cheap, poorly made versions of the drink were responsible for it (source). But it’s a bogus claim that was quickly bolstered by the temperance movement in the 1920’s.
Death in the Afternoon is a must-try absinthe cocktail credited to Ernest Hemingway! This easy drink is bubbly with a black licorice finish.
- 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) absinthe
- 1 teaspoon simple syrup
- 4 ounces (1/2 cup) Champagne or Prosecco
- Pour the absinthe and simple syrup into a cocktail glass. Top it off with the sparkling wine.
- Category: Drink
- Method: Poured
- Cuisine: Cocktails
Keywords: Absinthe cocktails
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.