Absinthe No. 2

I’ll admit it – I’ve been behind on the absinthe resurgence. For those of you who are unfamiliar, absinthe is a high-proof distilled spirit with an anise (licorice) flavor. It has a storied past, dating back to the early 20th century, when it was banned in most parts of the developed world after having been accused of having psychogenic properties (beyond those of normal alcohol.) The psychogenic properties were thought to be related to inclusion of the herb commonly known as wormwood. However, over time, these accusations have been disproven, and contrary to popular belief, absinthe has been legally available in the United States since 2007.

Ingredients for an Absinthe No 2, including Lucid absintheBut again, I’ll admit to being behind on the resurgence. I’ve always kept Pernod around, a common absinthe substitute available during the ban,  and despite absinthe being widely available again, I hadn’t changed my habits. Recently, though, I was sent a bottle of Lucid absinthe to review, so I thought now would be as good a time as any to see how it compares to its colorful past!

I thought I’d start with a mixed cocktail called Absinthe No 2. Over the next week or two, I’ll also tell you about the most traditional way to experience absinthe – the Absinthe Drip.

For the Absinthe No. 2, here’s what you’re going to need:

2oz gin
1oz absinthe
2 dashes of orange bitters

Combine the ingredients along with ice in a mixing glass, stir until well chilled, and strain into a martini glass.

Absinthe No. 2There’s one “gotcha” I want to draw to your attention with this recipe. As you can see in the ingredients picture, I used Plymouth gin this time around, mainly out of habit and because I really like Plymouth. This drink is a perfect example though of why it’s important to try different brands and styles of the same spirit. Plymouth is a pretty “botanical-forward” kind of gin. It has a very distinct flavor that’s floral and fruity, which I happen to love. However, absinthe has a very strong flavor profile of its own (anise, as I mentioned earlier), and I found that they really competed in this cocktail. Over the next few days, I plan to experiment with a few other brands of gin (I have already have Hendricks, Tanqueray, and DH Krahn in my bar, so I’ll start there). I have a feeling that a more subtle, maybe spicier gin would be a better match here.

If you have a chance to experiment with this cocktail, I’d love to hear your thoughts, particularly about which gin you used and how you liked it. Drop me an e-mail or a tweet anytime.

Again, I’ll be continuing to experiment with the bottle of Lucid I have. If you have any suggestions or requests, please send those my way too!


Tags: absinthe, cocktail, gin, lucid, orange bitters

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