Happy Bohemian New Year!
Transcript: (Closed Captions version HERE)
Absinthe is unique. Whether you are pouring an intimate glass to privately court the muse or throwing a wild Bohemian party, the mysterious absinthe ritual stimulates all the senses and is a special gift to your guests.
For a perfect café style pour by hand, fill the bulb of the glass with absinthe. (I’m using a blanche absinthe for this demonstration) Lay a slotted spoon across the mouth of the glass and place a sugar cube on the spoon. Now gently drizzle ice cold water over the sugar cube, through the spoon, and into the glass. The absinthe will “louche” into a swirling opalescent cloud releasing the flavors and aromas trapped in the alcohol. Keep adding water until all the the absinthe has reacted. You’ll know you’ve added enough water when you can no longer see a meniscus or “skin” of alcohol on the surface. You can continue to add water to taste (or to get the alcohol dilution you want) but don’t under-pour. You want all the plant oils that are dissolved in the alcohol to be completely precipitated out by the water. And there it is… artistic inspiration in a glass. Viva la fee!
For an absinthe party, you might try getting your hands on an absinthe fountain for a more dramatic presentation. I’m pouring a vert absinthe here. Like before, only fill the reservoir. If you don’t have a pontarlier glass, you can use a white wine glass instead. Just pour about a tablespoon and a half of absinthe into the bottom. Like the hand poured method, you lay a slotted spoon across the glass and put a sugar cube on the spoon. I have a collection of proper absinthe spoons but any slotted spoon or even the tines of a fork will work. (After all, the bohemians resented bourgeois vanities like fancy spoons, right?) Position the glass under one of the fountain spigots and open the stopcock to a drizzle. The water will fall over the sugar, through the spoon and into the glass. My fountain serves 4 Bohemians at a time. I think it’s more egalitarian that way, no aristocratic rank dictating who gets served first. Be patient and enjoy the chemistry show as the oils beautifully precipitate out of their alcohol solution. Inhale the sweet fennel and herb aromas, listen to the water tap-dance over the spoon into the glass. When you drink, you will feel the icy cold sip play over your tongue. The inside of your mouth will tingle with the herbs. Flavors of licorice, anise, citrus, and meadow-sweet unfold. Then a softly bitter wormwood finish will linger.
If you are an experienced absinthe drinker, you can probably get your preferred dilution right from the fountain. But if you’re new to the absinthe, you can use the fountain just until you complete the chemical reaction of the drink and then add more water from a carafe to taste or even add an ice cube or two.
So there you have it! May the green fairy bless you with genius in the coming year. and may your New Year’s resolutions include having adventures and creating art.
Read ~ Write ~ Wander