How To: Properly Pour Absinthe

The elaborate technique of pouring absinthe isn’t some artifice of modern mixology. The 19th-century method helps release the spirit’s aromas, says Deidre Darling, an absintheur at The Savoy in Chicago. Still, she notes, there is plenty of theater: It has a backstory (see: Toulouse-Lautrec), requires ornate accoutrements, and has a visual special effect (as you pour, the green liquid suddenly turns white). Here’s how to stage your own delicious production.


Pour 1 ounce of absinthe into an absinthe glass.


Rest an absinthe spoon across the rim of the glass and place a sugar cube on the spoon.


Using a carafe, pour a small amount of ice water onto the cube, causing it to loosen. Slowly drizzle more water to achieve a water-absinthe ratio between 3:1 and 5:1, depending on taste. The absinthe will louche, taking on an opaque milky color.

Read why you need to try absinthe (again)

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