French absinthe ritual


Absinthe Ritual, French Method

  • 1 ounce absinthe
  • 1 sugar cube
  • cold water

Pour absinthe into glass, preferably a traditional absinthe glass. Rest a slotted spoon across the glass and place sugar cube in the center. Drip four to six parts cold water over the sugar and into the glass and stir. The absinthe should turn cloudy, or “louche“.

The bottle pictured is one of the two we brought back from Prague last year. This year it’s now legal to sell absinthe in the US as long as it contains less than ten parts-per-million thujone, a chemical occurring in artemisia absinthium, grand wormwood, and allegedly the cause of the hallucinogenic effect of the spirit. But from what I gather, absinthe does not contain nearly enough thujone to create a noticeable effect consumed in reasonable amounts. It is toxic, but you’ll die of alcohol poisoning long before your thujone levels get high enough to have an adverse effect.

The Czech method is another variant on the absinthe ritual.


Absintheur says:


The words Horka Lihovina indicate that it is an Amer and has >10mg thujone. Actually it has a reported level of about 28mg/l

Absinthium 1792 has a strong anise note and this means that it will louche to iced water. I find it a little too sweet for my taste, and prefer the complex wormwood rich
flavours of others.

How did you like it? I have a comment box on my blog for tasting notes :-)

Kenn Christ says:

Thanks. I’ve only had a few different types of absinthe over the years and I’ve never done a side-by-side comparison. I just picked out the 1792 at random at a supermarket in Smíchov before heading to the airport, so I didn’t do any research before buying.

I’d like to do some comparisons but I’m not a big absinthe drinker and so don’t really see myself buying multiple bottles at once. Maybe I’ll do it at a bar the next time I’m in Praha. Sadly, this type of thing is difficult to do in the US.

Larry says:

In almost every article I’ve read it’s said that absinthe has no particular mind altering effect other than inebriation. If that is so, then what was the great outcry against it at the end of the 19th century all about, and why was it banned? No, there is obviously more to the story. In my opinion people in the 21st century ought to just leave it alone and not go experimenting with something that obviously caused so much misery more than a century ago. I think the painting by degas, “L’asbsinthe”, should be taken seriously because the poor girl’s face was carefully portrayed by the artist to illustrate the actual situation that existed then. Drinking absinthe in this day and age is almost as nutty as Van Gogh eating his paint from the tubes in order to get God knows what satisfaction. Turpentine is outright poison, and wormwood is only slightly more subtle poison, and what is the sense of inflicting brain damage on oneself, which is what Van Gogh did.

Kenn Christ says:

On the other hand, we in the 21st century have more information at our disposal than those in the 19th century did and are better able to make informed decisions.