Absinthe Cocktails

The taboo surrounding absinthe is real.

That’s why we’re here to tell you: Don’t be afraid. Not only is absinthe’s herbaceous and floral palette refreshing--its versatility in cocktails is unmatched.

So, to that end, we’ve brought together five absinthe cocktails you should try so you can break the taboo without fear.


What is absinthe?

Before we get into dismantling the taboo around absinthe, let’s have a little information about it.

Absinthe is an anise-flavored liquor that hails from Switzerland. To make it, anise, fennel, and wormwood are soaked in base alcohol mixed with other herbs and flowers. The liquor is then distilled, yielding colorless alcohol that is either bottled or colored with the natural chlorophyll found in herbs–hence its green hue.

With a high ABV (generally between 45-74 percent) this aperitif is generally watered down or incorporated into cocktails for an earthy and effervescent flavor.


Why the taboo?

Let’s face it head on: Absinthe has some baggage.

Labeled as the “green fairy” in the late 19th-century Bohemian paradise that was Paris, France, absinthe carries unreliable stories of hallucinating artists and psychotic breaks.

Fueled by these stories, the United States banned absinthe in 1915.

Those who were for the ban in the United States argued that a compound released from the wormwood during fermentation, called thujone, causes mind-altering events. High doses of thujone are toxic (just like high amounts of alcohol). But very little thujone is left in absinthe at the end of the distillation process. After a resurgence of testing in the United States in the 1970s, researchers found that there is not enough thujone in absinthe for it to be dangerous.

That’s why the ban in the United States was lifted in 2007. Since then, absinthe has enjoyed a resurgence, with mixologists taking the time to incorporate absinthe recipes into their repertoires.

Five of the Best Absinthe Recipes

And so, drum roll, please.

Here are the five best absinthe cocktails you should try.


The Necromancer

This playfully named cocktail accentuates all the best aspects of absinthe. The citrus harmonizes with the floral accents in the Lillet Blanc and elderflower liqueur to unlock the refreshing potential of the anise, fennel, and wormwood in the absinthe.


  • ¾ oz. white or blanche absinthe
  • ¾ oz. Lillet Blanc
  • ¾ oz. elderflower liqueur
  • ¾ lemon juice
  • 1 dash gin


  1. Put the ingredients into a shaker. Fill the shaker with ice.
  2. Shake until shaker is cold.
  3. Strain contents of shaker into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lime wedge and serve.


Ginger-Absinthe Mimosa

Want to put a twist on a classic brunch drink? Look no further than this ginger-infused absinthe delight. The sweetness of the ginger syrup contrasts with the bright citrus and the herbs in the absinthe to deepen its flavors. Great for any Sunday brunch, this cocktail brings a unique element to a classic drink.


Ginger Simple Syrup – Yields 8 servings

  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 ½ inch piece of fresh ginger


  • 1 oz. absinthe
  • ½ ginger simple syrup
  • 1 oz. freshly squeezed orange juice
  • ½ oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • champagne, to top


  1. To make the ginger simple syrup, bring sugar, ginger, and water to a boil in a small saucepan.
  2. Reduce the heat, simmering the contents for 6 minutes or until the saucepan only contains about ¼ cup of liquid.
  3. In a stirring glass, combine absinthe, orange juice, lime juice, and simple syrup. Fill the glass with ice and stir until chilled.
  4. Pour the contents into a champagne flute, filling halfway, and top with champagne. Garnish with lime or orange twist before serving (optional).


The Sun Also Rises

Yes, Nobel Prize winning author Ernest Hemingway danced with the green fairy as well. Hemingway preferred drinks with little to no sugar, substituting fruit juices and Maraschino liqueur. The herbs in the absinthe complement the white rum, leaving you feeling able to contemplate life’s mysteries like Hemingway himself.


  • 2 oz. white rum
  • ¾ oz. freshly squeezed lime juice
  • ½ oz. freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • ½ Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
  • 1 tsp absinthe


  1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake until shaker is cold.
  3. Strain into a coupe glass filled with crushed ice.


Arsenic & Old Lace

This old favorite (whose name comes from the Broadway play of the same name) is a martini-style cocktail with absinthe and crème de violette liqueur. The subtle floral flavors and violet hue of this cocktail are reminiscent of an older time.


  • 2 oz. gin
  • 1 oz. dry vermouth
  • 1/8 oz. absinthe
  • ½ crème de violette liqueur
  • 2 dashes of orange bitters


  1. Add absinthe to a martini glass, coating the glass with the liquor. (We suggest the Bond Stemless Martini Glass.)
  2. In a mixing glass, add the gin, vermouth, and crème de violette with ice.
  3. Stir contents until fully incorporated.
  4. Strain the contents of the glass into the coupe glass. Top with bitters and garnish with a lemon twist.


The Classic French Drip

 Last, but certainly not least, is the classic way to drink absinthe. This French-style method is the preferred way to experience traditional absinthe, and though it requires some special equipment and patience, it is worth it.


  • 1 ½ oz. absinthe
  • 2 oz. chilled water
  • 1 sugar cube


  1. Add absinthe into a glass. Rest a slotted spoon over the glass and place the sugar cube over the slots.
  2. Using an absinthe fountain, drip chilled water onto the sugar cube until it dissolves and drips into the glass.
  3. Drip the water until the absinthe becomes milky white.
  4. Add ice to the glass, stir and serve.

The taboo surrounding absinthe may be real, but your fear doesn’t have to be. Pick up a bottle of absinthe and make a fantastic cocktail to break through the taboo.

The green fairy will reward you.

What is your favorite absinthe cocktail?