For many, the thought of absinthe might conjure ideas of hallucination and psychedelic experiences, which are unfortunate remnants of old slander campaigns against the once popular spirit. But since the almost century-long ban here in the US was lifted in 2007, there is now no reason to fear the “green fairy” or any of its storied effects, especially given the intense scrutiny and regulation now tied to absinthe’s production.
In Brooklyn, bartender Maxwell Britten of Maison Premiere has become somewhat of an absinthe evangelist, curating one of the largest menu selections in the country, served via either a drip or frappe, as well as an ever-evolving list of absinthe-based cocktails, which each employ upwards of a full ounce of absinthe in the drink. Many of us are accustomed to absinthe in cocktails through popular drinks such as the Sazerac or the Corpse Reviver #2, but those only have a small rinse of the glass, and at an average of 140 proof, using absinthe as the base for a drink has to be a well-thought-out process. Britten often pre-dilutes his recipe with an ounce of water to account for the spirit’s strength.
His Savannah cocktail is a tart and fruit-driven experience with subtle herbal flavors, and though one might never expect an absinthe cocktail to be refreshing, if properly executed, they can make surprisingly satiating coolers. Providing one enjoys the taste of absinthe and its botanicals, including anise seed, wormwood, sweet fennel, lemon balm and a slew of other possibilities, I’d highly suggest delving into the world of absinthe cocktails. No shots. No lighting the drink on fire. Just enjoyment of a this delicious herbal spirit that was thankfully not lost to time.
- 1 ounce Darjeeling-infused Pernod Absinthe*
- 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
- 1 ounce peach syrup**
- 1 ounce water
- Combine ingredients and shake vigorously for 10 seconds.
- Strain into a chilled Collins glass and garnish with a lemon wheel and straw.
*Absinthe infusion: Add Darjeeling Tea to Pernod and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on desired intensity.
**Peach syrup: combine equal parts peach purée and 1:1 simple syrup.